4 Deprivation-Free Strategies for Spring Cleaning Your Eating Routine

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 5 Foods You Should Eat to Lose Weight This Spring

How to Clean Up Your Diet and Slim Down for Summer.

Your Spring Detox Guide.

These are the messages that caught my attention as I stood in the check-out line at the grocery store recently. As I gazed at the magazines that lined the shelf, with their newest set of quick fix fads, I quietly sighed as I realized that diet season (which, by the way, comes around more than once each year) is here again.

But, it did get me thinking – spring can be a great time to harness that motivation for making positive lifestyle changes, which may have been hibernating all winter. The longer days and warmer temperatures leave us feeling inspired to take charge of our health and prioritize our wellness goals.

The problem is, most of what we see and read in the popular media about how to actually do this is full of false promises. These strategies simply don’t work. If they did – we’d be reading the same ones every spring.

Truth be told:
  • There are no 5 foods that will be solely responsible producing weight loss because individual foods have no bearing on body weight.
  • If you nourish your body appropriately (eat a balanced diet), it’s going to do a pretty excellent job of detoxing all on its own.
  • And, if “cleaning up your diet” means depriving yourself of foods you love and enjoy, it’s not likely going to produce the outcomes you are hoping for.

So, the question becomes how can you act on that motivation to change without falling prey to false promises of quick fixes? Well, you can start by considering these deprivation-free strategies for “spring cleaning” your eating routine.

1. DITCH THE DIET FOODS.

Take stock of all the foods in your kitchen and pantry that you bought because they are the “better” version of the food you really wanted – I am talking about the fat-free frozen yogurt, the sugar-free candy, the low-fat potato chips, the low-calorie cheese…you get the picture – and get rid of them! (Or, at least commit to not buying them again.)

When buying foods that we perceive to be “bad,” we often try to justify the purchase by buying the “healthier” version. The problem, though, is that the “better” version usually doesn’t taste better at all. In fact, it usually leaves us feeling pretty unsatisfied.

As a result, we eat more and more of it searching for that satisfaction that inevitably never comes. 

Alternatively, if we buy the food that we really want, and we enjoy it mindfully, we will usually feel far more satisfied with far less food.

So, ditch the unsatisfying diet foods and give yourself permission to enjoy the real deal!

2. FRESHEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON HEALTHFUL EATING.

The healthiest diet is in fact one that emphasizes both pleasure and nutrition.

That’s right – pleasure is a very critical part to an optimal eating plan, because pleasure makes it sustainable. It’s the part of the equation for which diet rules typically don’t account, needless to say, it’s also one of the primary reasons diets don’t work!

This means that it’s okay to sometimes eat a food just because you enjoy it – even if that food is chocolate cake.  

The key to healthful eating is really eating in a way that makes the body feel good. And, when we listen to our bodies, what we learn is that they crave balance.

A diet of entirely highly palatable, nutrient deficient foods leaves us feeling tired, bloated, and generally unwell. A diet of bland, flavorless, highly nutritious foods leaves us feeling deprived and unsatisfied and ultimately lead to overeating. The middle ground is where we feel our best and where our bodies thrive.

So if your goal is to adopt more health-supportive eating practices, the first step might be tossing out those diet rules, forgetting about what you “should” be eating, and focusing on what will taste, and allow you to feel, the best.

3. BRIGHTEN UP YOUR PLATE.

A hallmark of spring is the return of color – brown grass turns to bright green, grey skies turn blue. So, as we emerge from the dark days of winter, celebrate the colors of spring by incorporating some of the season’s best produce on your plate – bright green peas, asparagus, and lettuce, vibrant red strawberries, rhubarb, and radishes, and sunny orange apricots and carrots, to name a few.

An attractive meal contributes to an overall satisfying eating experience. After all, we eat with our eyes first, right?

Moreover, you’ll also supercharge your meal with nutrients. All of the different color profiles of produce indicate different nutrient profiles. In other words, more color equals more nutrition, and probably more flavor, too!

4. NURTURE THE FOODIE WITHIN.

Spring is all about new growth – trees blossoming, flowers blooming. And, the more we nurture these plants the stronger and more vibrant the grow.

Spring is the perfect opportunity to think about nurturing the foodie within.

One of the most common eating related obstacles I hear women report is boredom with their food choices. This often translates into reliance on convenience foods and take-out. So, take this time to explore new foods and new recipes, without restriction.

Embrace experimentation, find the foods that you love, and experience the powerful and positive effect that food can have on the body and mind.

If you are thinking about how you can spring clean your eating routine – start with these tips. Beware of any plan that promises a quick fix or deprives you of pleasure. And, focus on what works best for you.


One response to “4 Deprivation-Free Strategies for Spring Cleaning Your Eating Routine”

  1. carol malone says:

    This is so true. Last time I shopped, I bought exactly what I wanted (I usually do, but with restrictions). Knowing the food is there, I’ve eaten a lot fewer crackers and cookies, but still as much as I want and actually want more of the fruits and veggies.

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About the Author

Dana Notte, MS, RD, CD

Dana has dedicated her career to helping individuals establish a balanced and healthy relationship with food. She has extensive training and experience in coaching for behavior change, mindful eating, and motivational interviewing. Dana has spent years leading group-based behavior change classes, developing and leading interactive workshops for worksite wellness programs, and providing nutrition counseling to individuals struggling with eating, weight, and chronic health conditions. Her practice style is client-centered, compassionate and empowering, with the goal of helping individuals develop the confidence to achieve their health and wellness goals. Dana is the Nutrition Lead at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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