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In a weight loss process, I think the phrases « I’m getting back on track » or « I have to start watching what I eat again » are among the most used. Does this scenario sound familiar? You decide to lose weight, you’re motivated, you start, you change your whole eating habits at once, you follow a very strict diet with no carbs, no fat, you eat practically nothing, you feel deprived, but you hold on to « finally lose the weight ». But some day, you’re on vacation, or you’re invited to a party, or it’s your birthday, and you eat, a lot, junk food, you eat like crazy because you’ve been feeling deprived for so long and oups, you stay in that unhealthy eating mode for a few weeks, a few months, to only gain back all the weight you had lost.And it’s at that point that I hear people say « I have to get back on track », I have to start watching what I eat ». Doing it like that is THE biggest mistake you can make. You will be yo-yoing all your life and feeling deprived and discouraged. It’s not healthy to live like that. An excess in deprivation is no better than an excess in unhealthy foods.
So what do we do? Here are 3 key factors to avoid the trap of a « good way » versus a « bad way ».
1. Change your beliefs
It’s false to believe there are only two extremes in eating such as a « good way » meaning eating super healthy, very strict diet and a « bad way » meaning eating junk food all the time. It’s possible to have balance. The belief of good versus bad only promotes the feelings of deprivation and guilt. Stop believing that eating healthy is punishment, modify that belief to one of eating healthy is in fact a reward for your body while integrating occasionally foods that are “prohibited” by popular belief.
2. Find your balance
Yes, in order to lose weight, it’s crucial to eat healthy and cut down on the junk food. But that doesn’t mean to ban everything we love from our diet. Eating healthy 80% of the time and leaving a 20% room for foods that are good for the soul is the way to go. By eating these foods occasionally, without feeling guilty about it because they are part of your plan, you’re not “cheating”, you’re “living”, you wont feel deprived all the time to then fall into the other extreme of junk food in massive amounts.
If the way you’re eating to lose weight is no viable for the rest of your life, for example, NEVER eat bread or pasta again, then the way you’re eating is not right for you and will not last and you’ll be battling yourself your whole life feeling defeated. Yes, while you are in your weight loss phase, your portions of what you eat and your calories will be and need to be different than when you’ll be maintaining your weight, however, the food choices can be the same. What will change are the quantities and the frequency at which you eat certain foods.
3. Change your attitude
Imagine the following scenario: all week you’ve been super good with your very restrictive food plan, you worked out every day and then Saturday arrives. Your friends get to your place with beer, wine, tons of food, not really healthy food. You eat, a lot, because you felt deprived all week with your chicken and spinach and you tell yourself that you “deserve it” because you’ve been so good all week. Don’t reward yourself with food, you are not a dog. Sunday morning arrives, you feel bad, physically and mentally, the guilt starts and because of that one day, you get discouraged telling yourself you’ll never lose the weight, that you can’t do it, that its not worth it, that are not good at this etc…
Instead of entering that negative mode and telling yourself that you ruined all your chances of losing weight for the rest of your life, take responsibility for your previous day, it’s over and done and today is a brand new day and tell yourself that from now on, you’ll apply point 1 and 2 to not fall into that trap ever again! And really, one day will not ruin EVERYTHING!!
If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to communicate with me!