5 easy ways to find a health balance in your life
Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. We had a nice, healthy breakfast, packed a nutritionally balanced lunch, and we head off in our car to start the work day. We’re feeling proud of ourselves so far for sticking to our “diet” the last few days, till Cindy at work shows up with a plethora of donuts and coffee. And we’re not talking a simple glazed donut, we’re talking the sugary, cream-filled, sprinkle-covered, delicious mounds of dough. We know we “shouldn’t,” but the temptation is strong.
What do we do?
If anyone is like me, and donuts are a weakness, we devour the tempting fried pastry immediately. Then we are consumed with immediate guilt and self-frustration for “cheating on our diet.” We sink into a lull, then ever so often, we proceed to fill the rest of the day with processed sugars and unhealthy food because “the day is already ruined.” We go to bed frustrated and say “I’ll start again tomorrow.”
But why? It doesn’t have to be that way.
Below are 5 ways to develop a healthy and happy relationship with food.
- Don’t Hate Your Guts
Learn how to kick the guilt! It’s not healthy to self-loathe! We have inadvertently trained ourselves over the years to point out things about ourselves that we don’t do as well as we would like, or that those around us do better. When we put ourselves down, we kill our own productivity without even realizing it! Instead, boost yourself up when you feel like it the least. It may feel silly at first, but point out things that you like about yourself and things that you are good at, rather than focusing on things you want to change. When you feel better about yourself, you will feel more confident in achieving your goals.
- Separate Your Eating Habits from the Diet Stigma
Deprivation makes us crave! Have you ever wanted something simply because you weren’t supposed to? If you ever have, good news – you’re human!
So how do we combat this in regards to our dietary habits? The key is to remind ourselves that indulging in a “bad” food every once in a while isn’t necessarily a bad thing and that eating healthy is not a punishment. Health and fitness aren’t about crash dieting. A healthy lifestyle is about balance and maintaining dietary habits that are beneficial long term.
- Set Attainable Goals
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
It’s easy to set large goals, but short goal setting is a foundational tactic that is often overlooked. Change takes time. When we set huge, broad goals for ourselves, whether that be to lose weight or gain weight or to look like Jennifer Anniston by the end of the month, we set ourselves up for failure. Instead, physically write down your long term goal, set a realistic date, and plan out several smaller milestones down the way. When you reach those small milestones, congratulate yourself, rather than focusing on how far you have to go.
- One Donut Isn’t One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Just because you ate one “bad” thing, doesn’t mean your day is ruined, or you can’t see progress. While the wording is relative and unrelated to health, the idea behind the old phrase “One salad won’t make you skinny and one dessert won’t make you fat” is true. That isn’t to say that small changes don’t matter, but rather it’s reminding us that if the majority of our dietary habits follow along our goal, we will still see progress. Don’t give up on yourself for the day because you’ve eaten something you aren’t “proud of.” Keep going, you’re getting there.
- Stop Calling It a Cheat Meal/Day
Cheating is associated with bad behavior. Nutrition is all about balance and living a flexible, healthy life-style. When we categorize a meal or day as “cheating,” we are inadvertently telling our minds that it isn’t okay, creating a divide between our everyday lives and our “cheat meal/day.”
When we can learn to develop a healthy relationship with food, we are much more likely to reach our goals and to happier with ourselves when we do. If you want one of those sugary snacks Cindy brought, enjoy it. But then continue with your goals. Don’t start tomorrow, you can do this today!