Move Away From Old Notions Of Healthy Eating
I think most of us want to eat healthy. We hear plenty about its importance to achieving and maintaining health and healthy weights.
But actually doing it escapes a lot of folks. Why? I believe it has to do with their definition of healthy eating.
If you’re like many of the women who come to Green Mountain, you think “boring”, “time-consuming”, “tasteless”, and “expensive” when you hear the words “healthy eating.”
But truly feeding yourself well doesn’t have to look like that at all. In fact, if it does, then it’s probably not true healthy eating.
In honor of National Nutrition Month (March), here are two steps to help you move away from old notions of healthy eating and make it something that really works for you.
Two Steps to Making Healthy Eating a Part of Your Life
Step #1: Move away from a focus on weight.
When our focus is weight loss, we tend to be impatient. We want to lose the weight as fast as we can, and then get back to eating what we like.
Or we think we have to follow highly restrictive food rules that usually conflict with what our bodies really need, and clash with living a full life, which is also so key to our health.
We rarely can adhere to those rules long-term, and the feelings of failure and desperation that arise can initiate a defeating cycle of restricting and overeating or bingeing.
Further, we mustn’t forget the misconception that weight loss is the key to achieving health. To the contrary, a focus on weight loss usually leads to the opposite — weight gain and often ill health –as a result of what I just described.
That doesn’t mean that our bodies might not change when they do settle into a state of health, which naturally occurs as we consistently engage in healthy behaviors like healthy eating. That’s the body finding its healthy place. But holding on to the goal of changing the body as the reason to adopt the healthy behavior may be doomed to failure.
So changing the reason we want to eat healthy is central to being able to do it consistently.
Our #1 vote for the reason to eat healthy: To feel good and have the energy and get-up-and-go to go after what you want in life.
Step #2: Change your definition of healthy eating.
Try this definition instead: When I eat healthy, I eat foods I love in a way that makes me feel well.
Effectively changing the definition often requires exploration and experimentation, which is another reason a weight focus interferes. If you’re worrying about how your choices will affect your weight, you’ll likely be less willing to experiment with those foods you’ve been warned are “fattening.” Yet learning how to eat “forbidden” foods without always overeating them is a critical step in healthy eating for those who have been traumatized about diet and weight.
Professional Help Can, Well, Help
Anyone who has struggled around these issues might benefit from the professional help of a nutritionist to find their way back to “normal,” healthy eating.
But not all nutritionists are skilled in this. Review the toolkit article from the Binge Eating Disorder Association “Weight Stigma In Nutrition Counseling Settings: Guidance for Individuals, Friends and Families” to learn more about what to look for in a nutrition counselor.
You might also refer him or her to the other article about nutrition counseling in the toolkit, “Weight Stigma In Nutrition Counseling Settings: Guidance for Professionals.”
Here’s to developing a happy, peaceful relationship with healthy eating!