In February, I shared one of my “hacks” to creating a healthy relationship with food on my fitness journey: If you have a thing for cookies, crackers, chips, snack foods, etc don’t eliminate them.
Correct! Eliminating the foods you love can cause binging, a negative relationship to “clean eating,” or “sneaking” in foods that don’t serve your goal.
Instead you should:
- Find cookies, crackers, snacks, and chips that fit into your meal plan
- Plan a small portion of the cookies, chips, cake you like into your intake
- Find healthy alternatives
- Learn recipes to make power cookies, cakes, chips or pancakes
What really matters is the relationship you have to the food you eat and the journey you’re on. When you are in alignment with your goals, you will crave the foods that get you to your goal. Also, you will not beat yourself up when you have a slice or two of cake.
Surround yourself with others on the same journey as you. Their energy will keep you inspired, their motivation will keep you accountable, and you will know that you are not alone.
Incorporate the foods you like
Learn how to incorporate the foods you like. What are the proper portions of cookies to include each week that you can look forward to? Maybe its three cookies every Saturday afternoon, instead of binge eating the whole batch over a movie. Definitely do not have a little each day. It’s easy to tell ourselves that a little each day doesn’t matter, but this is how “lying” to self begins. The little things matter, because they have the greatest compound effect in our lives.
Think of a wet towel. If you have a wet towel that you want to dry out, yet you keep pouring just a tad bit of water on it every so often, it is never going to dry. It is the same with having a little bit of whatever your vice is every day. You are not going to achieve what you want.
I will say that you have to start where you are. So if you’re used to having ten vices a day, then going down to eight is a major victory!
Learn how to make your favorite sweets and treats with clean recipes. This will help shift your palate away from toxic corn syrups, processed sugars and flours, and salts. Some great alternatives to sugar include: COCONUT SUGAR, STEVIA, RAW CANE SUGAR, pure MAPLE SYRUP, AGAVE NECTAR, FRUIT, and even PROTEIN POWDER.
Try eliminating salt altogether. It isn’t as bad as it seems. Mrs. Dash has some wonderful salt – less seasonings.
Try doing your own baking instead of buying “healthy “ processed sweets. Google clean eating cookie recipes. There really are so many now, and you can clean them up more by using some of the sugar alternatives listed above.
Crave new foods
Learn to crave new foods. Yes, you can retrain your palate. Begin enjoying the salad instead of thinking of it as torture. Look forward to eating fruit, or creating a portioned plate – with starches, protein, veggies and fats on the plate. The more fun and creativity you have, the more you will begin to enjoy what you are eating.
Plan a Treat Meal
This is a great way to reward yourself for staying on track during the rest of the week. It is not a cheat day; just a meal where you do not need to think about portions, or anything else related to your intake and weight loss or muscle building goals.
Yes, I purposefully titled it “A Treat Meal,” and not “A Cheat,” because the term “cheat” implies you are cheating on your goals, dreams, journey, and plan. Cheating carries negative connotations and the more we welcome negativity in, the more it can spread to other areas of our lives.
Allow for Alcohol
If you enjoy having a glass of wine, or a beer, then definitely incorporate this. I’ve often encouraged my clients who ask about this, to substitute a starch with a glass of wine or beer. Do not make a habit of this, however, but if you feel like you want a glass, then go for it, but remove the starch, or, include the wine or beer as a part of your treat meal.
Elimination and Extreme Dieting should be Eliminated
Eliminating food you love can create all kinds of negative energy around your fitness journey, and the food you eat. That is the last thing you want to do. You want to fall in love with your journey, and the body that you are creating. Trust me, over time the foods you once loved will change. I used to love drinking beer; lots of it, but now, I really don’t have any interest in drinking it any more. I’m the girl who has a large hop tattooed on the side of my body, and who won a few home brew contests! Craft beer was very much a part of my identity. Yes, it is possible to allow for an identity shift as you become someone new on this journey.
Extreme dieting such as Keto, intermittent fasting, fasted cardio, removing carbs, the Atkins Diet, and so on, all serve a purpose. That purpose is never for long periods of time. I cringe when I hear someone is on the next extreme diet, because to me it signals doing something in the short term without creating a new relationship to food in the long term. Granted there are many people who have used these diets as a great introduction to becoming healthy, or used a technique such as fasted cardio appropriately, but for the vast majority this is not the case. Information is readily available these days with Google just a few finger touches away, however many of us are not spending the time doing the research on the proper uses of these diets before delving right into trying them.
Eliminating foods you love and extreme dieting doesn’t think about the long term and can cause one to binge, lapse after short terming the diet, or ballooning up and down in weight, size, and energy.
Benefits of Creating a Healthy Relationship with Food
When you are embarking on your fitness journey, think about all the reasons you want this change. Know that you are already one step closer, just by making the decision to change, and begin to align with what you see in your heart. The more you do this, the easier it will be to crave healthy foods. Let go of addictions to sugar and processed foods. Enjoy healthy alternatives to cookies, cakes, and snacks, and know that a donut is not going to make you fat, or ruin your supposed “gains.”
The girl who used to eat six donuts in a single sitting, to now being fully content with one, and not beating myself up if I choose to eat six.