Hello best life seekers!
Have you ever tried to lose weight or change your eating habits to a healthier diet only to crash and burn after catching sight of that double chocolate crumble top muffin? Or maybe it was the stuffed crust pizza commercial you saw on TV…
We’ve all been there. Here are 5 big reasons why we wound up abandoning salads for Big Macs.
Reason #1: We Diet
By definition diets are losing propositions. Our bodies require a set amount of energy each day to function. Diets typically restrict your energy consumption on a short term basis to lose weight. It can’t be maintained indefinitely. That’s why once you switch back to eating normally you regain the lost weight. Instead of dieting, we should be focusing on transforming our eating habits.
Reason #2: We Go Big
Whether you do the Master Cleanse diet and live on nothing but lemon juice spiked with cayenne or go from McDonald’s all star to super vegan overnight, the shock to your system as well as your routine and way of enjoying food is too great. A very small minority of people can succeed at this but the rest of us need to ease in, learning how to enjoy and adjust to the new lifestyle in stages and fits if need be.
Reason #3: We Ignore the Culture of Food
We don’t just eat for energy. Food is culture. A new diet often crashes and burns at the first office birthday celebration or thanks to the holiday feasts and treats that arrive almost monthly. Not only do we crave the food, we also enjoy taking part in the tradition. That makes it hard to withstand the entreaties from your aunt Becky to enjoy her signature pecan pie on Thanksgiving, let alone the past-time of indulging around the dinner table until we pass out in a happy turkey and cranberry stupor. Sticking to healthy eating choices requires an acknowledgement of the socio-emotional aspect of food and the formation of coping mechanisms and strategies.
Reason #4: Your Food is Crack
If you’re a heroine addict, you can live without heroine. If you’re addicted to food, the very act of survival could cause a relapse. Studies show that the worst foods we love are often also the most addictive. Take sugar. A famous study of cocaine addicted rats showed that when offered a choice between cocaine and sugar, THEY WENT FOR THE SUGAR. Milk, meanwhile, contains casomorphines that bind to the same human brain receptors as heroine, producing that feel good chemical dopamine. Cheese has about 7 times as many casomorphines as the same serving of milk. Pizza anyone?
So basically sugar is crack and cheese is smack. Try giving up your favorite foods and you may literally go into withdrawal. When changing our diet, we often have to acknowledge and confront our addictions before we can move past or work around them.
Reason #5: Healing Crisis
If you try to transition from a standard American diet to eating a balanced and healthy diet, your body will rebel – emotionally and physically. Give up breads and sugary snacks and the intense withdrawal will make you think the new diet is making you sick, possibly killing you. Or you start eating more beans or fruit and get twisting stomach pains, gas, etc. You blame the food, not realizing your body is recalibrating chemically and will take more than a day or two to adjust. Typically we don’t stick with our new diet long enough to make it through the sometimes painful but necessary transition. Starting small might help with this rather than diving straight into the new diet deep end.
As with any plan to succeed, it’s often helpful to study the habits of those who have already succeeded at what you want to achieve. Implement their strategies and methods one by one. Modify them to suit your needs and make them your own.
In order to succeed at our weight loss and healthy living goals we also need to be reasonable in our expectations and methods. Perhaps we should also realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Breaking from our diet doesn’t mean we aren’t capable, it just means we’re human. Keep trying. This is important since most of us are quite literally addicted to our favorite foods. Approaching your current eating habits as you would an addiction is pretty wise. Learn about addiction patterns and how to break them without beating yourself up for slipping. Find people who share your new healthy eating goals and encourage and inspire each other. The support will definitely help!
Will power and good intentions only go so far, best life seekers. You need compelling reasons to drive you toward your success, reasons strong enough to motivate you in the face of full press temptation and to make you do the hard work of implementing the changes you need.
Good luck and don’t give up!
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