Carrots are good for you. Donuts are not.
Kale is healthy. Doritos are not.
Tomatoes are chock full of vitamins. Double stuffed Oreos are not.
And then when we are old enough to know what’s “good for us” and what isn’t, it gets even more confusing.
Because there are studies that say you need to drink diet soda instead of regular because it’s “better” for you, brown rice instead of white because it’s healthier, almond milk instead of cow’s milk because it has fewer chemicals, and sweet potatoes instead of white because they have a lower glucose level.
And then you’ll have research that says the opposite is true but because of a different reason (drink regular instead of diet because there’s no added sweetener, eat white rice over brown because it’s digested easier, drink cow’s milk over almond because it has a lot more calcium, etc)
Is it any wonder that we are all just overly confused and baffled as to what we should really be eating?
Here’s what I want you to know.
It’s not what you eat that matters so much. Especially in the beginning when you are just starting out on this journey.
It’s HOW you eat it that counts.
Because HOW you eat your food affects your body in SO many different ways.
Let’s say you are trying to be “good” and have the following for your week day meals (during work):
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with some almonds
Lunch: salad with grilled chicken and an apple
Snack: a rice cake with peanut butter
Dinner: baked fish with asparagus
You are trying to eat healthy, to eat as perfectly as you can, and to hopefully see that scale number go down if you eat like this all week.
But if you absolutely hate what you’re eating, if you’re fantasizing about bagels and cream cheese while eating yogurt, and wishing you were eating pizza instead of fish for dinner, it doesn’t matter how healthy your meals are. Because it won’t be sustainable and you’ll end up overeating.
When you’re white-knuckling your food, pressuring yourself to eat perfectly, feeling soul-crushing guilt when you eat dessert, and thinking about what you REALLY want to be eating all day (instead of the apple and salad you packed for lunch), then it won’t matter how many carrots and kale smoothies you eat. You are going to be miserable.
Healthy foods don’t matter if you despise what you’re eating.
It’s not WHAT you’re eating, it’s HOW you’re eating it.
Let’s say you’re experimenting with intuitive eating. And your day looks like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with almond milk, sliced bananas, chocolate chips + coconut flakes on top
Lunch: Turkey, cheese and avocado sandwich with a few chips and hummus
Snack: 2 cookies from the break room, trail mix and a piece of toast with peanut butter
Dinner: Homemade pizza with peppers, broccoli and tomatoes + a glass of wine
So, which menu would you say is healthier, this one or the one above?
(Psst…it’s a trick question).
It doesn’t matter which one is healthier. What matters is the “how” behind what you’re eating.
If you’re eating this meal and you feel satisfied, happy with your food choices, smiling because yes, you get to have a cookie, and filled with pleasure when you eat, guess what?
Happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure are a recipe for SUCCESS in your food.
The first menu seems to involve restriction, a rigid mindset, and an “I have to eat perfectly” way of eating. And what happens when you combine these three things for an extended period of time?
You got it. You’ll end up binging.
(**Please note, if you DO feel happy and satisfied when you eat meals on the first menu, please, by all means eat it!)
The “how” behind what you’re eating is SO important.
There’s no guilt. There’s no feeling of failure. There’s no hopelessness and “I blew it”.
When you ARE feeling guilt, failure and despair, it doesn’t matter what you’re eating. You can eat kale smoothies until you’re blue in the face, but…
- You won’t ever achieve lasting weight loss
- You’ll remain in the diet/binge cycle
- You’ll be miserable
And do you really want to live a life in misery?!
So, I invite you to explore HOW you’re eating. Are you eating super healthy but hating what you’re eating? Are you eating what you want, but feeling guilty about every bite?
It’s important to begin to see the HOW behind what you’re doing. Because until you see the “how”, you won’t be able to create lasting change.
Please note, that I’m not saying you can’t eat healthy AND enjoy it. In fact, as you work through all of the eating issues, you WILL eventually get to a place of balance where eating healthy is the norm. It’s just that getting there requires some letting go of rigid food rules and 100% healthy eating.
So, tell me…how are YOU eating? What’s your “norm” around food? I’d love to hear 🙂 Share in the comments below.