In almost every credible article regarding weight loss and nutrition, the term “lifestyle change” is often used. Although making lifestyle changes is the necessary approach for weight loss, I’ve found that it’s not the best attitude when it comes to achieving your goals.
The problem with approaching what you eat with a mindset that it has to be a lifestyle change is that it can induce, well… panic. Suddenly you’re thrown into a situation with deliciously unhealthy foods and you begin thinking of how you’ll never get to eat them. Ever. Again. You think of your new lifestyle and the more you resist your old favorite foods, the blander your healthy new lifestyle seems. Doubt creeps into your mind as you imagine your future Self trying to resist every single future temptation yet all that comes to mind is how amazing that salty, sugary, fatty taste would be on your taste buds.
So you cave.
Somewhere in between your resisting and your imagining, a dessert ended up in your mouth and while you already betrayed your “new lifestyle” you figure you might as well stuff your face with every dessert on the tray and just begin a new life tomorrow. Then tomorrow becomes today, so today gets pushed until tomorrow and the cycle repeats itself.
All the magazines, books, articles you’ve read have insisted that your new diet needs to become your whole life, but you’re new life has only made you more stressed about food than you were in the first place. So what’s the wannabe healthy you supposed to do?
Chill out. Live life. Have fun. Every time you become hungry or simply want to eat is not supposed to be a moment to prepare for war with yourself. It’s simply a chance for you to make a decision. Whether you want to become healthy/lose weight or not, you are always free to decide. Chances are you most likely won’t be able to give up sweets or processed foods for the rest of your life. If you attempt to create a new lifestyle for yourself with a bunch of rules, you are setting yourself up to break those rules. Life is not meant to be lived with your mind constantly consumed by the calorie or fat content of your food. I don’t think anyone would want to follow a lifestyle that drags them down with worry of how they’re no longer going to eat what they want. So if you are ready to be healthy, if you are willing to sculpt your physical and internal Self into the individual you’d like to be, then stop panicking and start making your own decisions. The temptations will always be there. This isn’t a bad thing; constant temptation does not have to mean constant resistance. Instead, a constant temptation means that you will always have a chance to give in to it. If you can decide to choose the healthy over the unhealthy, just for today, you will always have tomorrow to give in to your cravings. Use the days you feel mentally focused and physically strong to your advantage, and continue choosing the healthy path that lead toward achieving your goals. All of your healthy choices will make a difference, and should grant us understanding when we choose to get off track every now and then.
Just remember no matter what kind of life you choose to live, it is always a choice to live that life.
The power is within you. Use it.