Look, we get it. Starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be really hard. One day, you’re happily eating your balanced meals and the next you’re face first in pizza and cake. Sound familiar? This is what we call yo-yo dieting. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can find balance and a way of eating that truly is a lifestyle rather than a short-lived goal. Today, our Lead RD Sam is outlining a few ways you can do just that and leave yo-yo dieting in your rearview.
Stop defining foods as good or bad and focus on how they make you feel instead.
Ever said something like “I was so bad, I ate cake this weekend”? If you have, you wouldn’t be alone. Many people equate their morality and worth as people with the food on their plates, and it can be really damaging. Rather than focusing on a list of good & bad foods, instead pay attention to the foods that make you feel your best. That way, instead of following an arbitrary list, you can eat what truly works for you. Do you notice that every time you eat gluten it leaves you with a bloated stomach or a headache? That’s a pretty good sign you shouldn’t eat it regularly.
Remember that one less-than-stellar meal doesn’t mean you ‘screwed up’
Have you ever eaten a few pieces of pizza and thought whoops, guess I might as well eat the pie, plus dessert, and maybe just throw in the towel and start again on Monday? If you often find yourself calling your healthy lifestyle off until the following Monday, it’s probably time to adjust your mindset. It’s possible to change thought patterns, but it takes deliberate effort & repetition. In other words, the next time you eat dinner out or you eat a little too much, instead of believing the voice in your head that tells you you’ve screwed it all up, instead remind yourself it’s only one meal. We eat around 21 meals per week. One or two not-so-healthy meals won’t make or break your week.
Work on eating without distraction.
This one isn’t easy in an increasingly distracted world, but mindful eating can be super helpful when it comes to determining what foods are worth indulging in. When you’re paying attention, you realize that not every food tastes good enough to finish, and some don’t even taste good enough to have more than one bite. Distractions include television, phone use (we’re looking at you Facebook and Instagram!), and even music & books. During meal times, take a pause and focus on the experience of eating. You’ll be better able to notice when you’re getting full & stop when you’re satisfied.
Try something like Whole30 to figure out what foods work for you.
Sometimes it can be really hard to know which foods make you feel well, especially when you haven’t been paying attention for a while. On top of that, when you eat a food on a regular basis, your body’s reaction to it will be blunted over time. That’s why you may not have outward symptoms until you cut the food out and reintroduce it. We love Whole30 for rebalancing hormones and figuring out which foods work for you (and which ones don’t). Once you’ve cut out commonly inflammatory foods for 30 days, you’ll reintroduce foods one at a time to see how you feel when you eat them. From there, you can figure out which foods are worth eating more often & which are better off as occasional indulgences.
Here’s the bottom line. Finding your own balance and getting off the yo-yo dieting cycle will take repeated effort & hard work. In many ways, it’s easier to chase the next shiny diet rather than dig in & find what works for you. But true food freedom is worth the effort, and we’ve got your back. Our meals are balanced in macro and micronutrients to give you what you need to feel satisfied. From there, it’s up to you to tune into your body to find what feels good for you. There’s no one-size-fits all!
Want help along the way? Try one of our meal plans for dietitian-curated, chef-prepared meals delivered to your door.