If you’ve ever been on a diet, then you have for sure said: “I do not eat__ (fill the blank space with whatever food you like – nuts, chocolate, dairy and etc.), because I can go with none, but I cannot go with one.”
This means that you think you do not have will to eat just one. Every time when you promise yourself that you will eat just one chocolate or a couple raw nuts, 10 minutes later you have eaten half of the box with chocolates and half of the package with nuts.
Usually, this is a premise to feel like failure and to feel disappointed with yourself. Actually, this is the enchanted circle, that we spin in – we set rules and boundaries, then we go beyond them and we feel like a failure and we self- punish – with more of the same behavior.
And as it is said “nothing human is foreign to me”. For a couple years, I used to be in this enchanted circle. On the different stages of my life, I had a different idea of what is “the right diet”. I had the perfect day, pictured in my mind and every time, when I ate just a couple more bites than planned, I felt as if I didn’t have will and as if I was a failure. It was just another reason to get too focused with myself and feel guilt.
For a couple years, I didn’t buy raw nuts. I couldn’t keep them at home, because just 3-4 nuts were the reason to eat all the nuts.
My journey had a couple stages. First, I didn’t eat any dairy and just a bite of cheese, was a reason to eat all the cheese.
Then, I didn’t eat any grains and just a spoonful of grains was a reason to feel like eating the whole pan.
Now, substitute with any food and you get the picture.
There came a moment when I got tired of this. I was tired of striving to trap myself in rules and limitations and every time when I went beyond the boundaries, I felt as failure. Parallel with this, I realized that healthy eating doesn’t come up to being perfect and that it doesn’t fit in a set of riles. I realized that it really is a matter of balance.
And let me give you a different perspective. In life, everything comes up to balance.
Think about a period, when you are “perfect”(at least in your own terms) with your diet, Then, there comes a moment when you eat way too much from everything. You go from one extreme to another. But both extremes neutralize each other and looking at the big picture, you are in balance. But swinging from one extreme to another, wastes way too much energy – from psychological and emotional point of view and usually this leaves you with the sour taste of dissatisfaction and lack of accomplishment.
Let’s look at the other option. During most of the time, we make the optimal, best choice for ourselves. This means, that we give priority to quality and healthy food and there are moments when we feel like eating something else – and that doesn’t mean it must be unhealthy. Maybe some kind of a healthy dessert, but maybe a bigger piece or a couple raw nut balls. We feel like eating them and we eat a couple. We do not feel guilt. We keep going the same way. Thus, on the next day, we won’t even remember that we ate a little bit more or that we have eaten more carbs or fat. When you do not give too much significance to something, you do not burden it with excess emotions and you do not give it so much space in your life.
Thus, it doesn’t take you out of balance and you keep making better choices. By having this mindset, we are constantly in balance – but this time, the pair of scales swing with a small amplitude – they swing a little bit up and then down, and they do not crash first on one side and then on the other side. Thus, we live with the feeling of balance and accomplishment.
This is my favorite part – life is like a cardiogram. If the line is straight, then you are dead. If the line goes up and down, then your heart is beating and you have a pulse – you are alive.
This is true for everything – even for the diet.
What did I do?
I got tired of chasing perfection and of trying to fit my diet and my day in the perfect image and model I had in my mind. Thus, I started including more foods. And do not thing that everything was smooth. Initially, I definitely ate bigger quantities. Imagine the body as a flower.
If we do not water the flower, the soil dries out. When we water it, it seems like the soil swallows the water really fast, yet the surface looks still dry and we need to pour more water, in order for the soil to get wet.
Now, take this analogy to your body. If we deprive it and if we follow diets that limit a lot of foods or macronutrients, then, when we give our body a little of something, it doesn’t bring satiety and it urges us to eat more – so it can make up for the period of “dryness”. But if we constantly give the body a little, then, it will need small quantity in order to sustain the content state.
This period was a little bit hard for my mind, even though my body felt great from the variety. Throughout the whole time, I repeated myself that I have to endure the desire to eat more, so I can come to the moment, when I will be able to eat 3 pieces of cashew and then leave the whole package. Now this is a fact. I have a couple packages of nuts and I do not think about them. I can put a couple cashew nuts in my breakfast and then I won’t even think about the rest.
If you are on a stage of your life, where you cannot go with one, this means that you live with too many rules. This means that you must make the step to destroy the boundaries and overcome your ego and the fact that for some time you will feel like you lack will and that you might eat more and gain 4-5 pounds. What are a couple pounds, compared to curing your relationship with food?
It is difficult, but the most important thing in order to be in shape is to look on diet and nutrition in a long term perspective and not in a short term perspective. We can weigh a little bit more for 2-3 months, but when we cure our relationship with food, these 4-5 pounds will melt with ease, because now we won’t swing from one extreme to another.
Investing 2-3 months to tame our ego, so we can enjoy the journey after that and feel great in our own body.
I won’t lie to you – it is hard, but it is so worth it. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to overcome your own self.