You want to be a heathier eater, so you empty half your pantry into the trash bin.
You swear off chocolate.
Desserts are off-limits.
You ban cheese from here on out.
All of these are well-meaning, and for some, this rip-the-band aid-off-quick approach may be the winning track.
But for most of us, an extreme approach is a recipe for failure. Your brain can’t keep pace with your new demands. Which creates a second level of issues when there’s any kind of setback and you start layering on judgment for a moment of weakness, shame for lacking willpower, and distrust for failing to uphold your promises to yourself.
Then you're back to the drawing board and feeling terrible.
The key is to 1/ find a less restrictive approach, and 2/ call out the inner critic every time you hear it (the one that's saying "What inner critic??" right now. That was it.)
Let's start with #1: rather than a strict, all-or-nothing approach… can you find a middle ground?
Perhaps you keep some things in your pantry and share the rest with others.
Rather than cutting chocolate out entirely, you enjoy it once or twice a week.
You reserve desserts for special occasions. Then enjoy a few forkfuls and decide that’s enough.
Reduce cheese by 50% and notice how your body responds to it.
In addition to removing foods from your eating plan, it’s important to consider what you will add in instead: (vegetables at every meal, a fruit and plant-based protein as a snack, more meals prepared at home, etc).
The important thing is that you find a way that works for you.
Trying to be a food celibate is difficult and unnecessary. You’ll likely spend a lot of time up in your head arguing with yourself over sticking to rules that feel too restrictive.
Which leads me to #2: remember, better health is a journey. So, what would make it easier to get started?
When the body craves a food, it’s probably not making a mistake. It’s trying to create a balance for something that’s out of sync.
So maybe the question to ask is – “How do I restore balance?”
What would that look like?
What do you need more of right now(food or non-food)?
What do you need less of? (Less judgment and a kinder inner dialog should be on everyone's list.)
Make a small shift in your eating.
Notice how you feel.
Be mindful of your thoughts. Find supportive new ones.
Repeat them often to yourself.
Keep checking in and making changes as needed.
This isn’t a quick fix.
It IS the way to a lifetime of healthier habits that you can live with.
It's the winning formula .