Last week I put together a personal Wellness Philosophy, and this week I’m working on trying to put the pieces of it in play. I’ve decided that I’m concentrating on the pieces that I can reasonably handle right this minute. For right now, during the hecticness that is the coming end of a school year, I’ve decided that is my diet. I can focus on my diet – in addition to meditation and writing and photography and taking my medications.
It’s so very difficult to figure out how to stick to a healthy eating plan. There are lots of different things to choose from, and everyone has an opinion about what is going to work. I think that I’ve just about everything at one point or another in my life. This is what I’ve figured out through all of those trials: success can’t be about deprivation or limitation. It needs to be about moderation.
As usual, I was poking around the internet and stumbled across this article, which I think has some great points.
The first point is to Set Yourself Up for Success, and while there are a few bullets under that point, I really like the second one:
Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
This is so true! Most normal folks among us cannot make a radical, wholesale change and expect it to stick. If you’re a person who loves bread and sweets, going on a no or low-carb diet is setting yourself up for failure. You can make healthier choices with your carbs but eliminating them all together is a recipe for self-sabotage. I’ve done it to myself more times than I can count, and I watch people I know and love do it to themselves all the time. They get enthusiastic about a change and because the change is too big, too radical within a few weeks, it’s over. Start small, y’all. Me? I’m starting with breakfast and a snack in the afternoon so I’m not a ravenous beast when I get home from work.
The second point is all about moderation. I’m a big believer in moderation and that if I did a better job of controlling my portion sizes (& exercising!) I wouldn’t be overweight. The piece from this section that stands out?
- Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. Later you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
No food is inherently bad, and I have a really hard time getting behind a diet plan that asks me to eliminate an entire group of foods from my diet. Can I eat a better version of those foods, such as whole grains rather than refined? Certainly. But that doesn’t mean that I have to eliminate them from my diet. Can I cut back on them? Of course. But just like wholesale change is a recipe for disaster so, I believe, is eliminating entire groups of food from your diet.
While all the other tips in the article are pretty astute, I’d like to skip down to the bottom and take a look at limiting salt and sugar, which I think dovetails nicely with how I feel about moderation. It might be slightly ironic that while we were at the grocery this evening to pick up dog food for the puppies, a bag of mini Cadbury eggs made their way into our basket. I’ve recently discovered that I have a weakness for them. I’ve also noticed that the older I get, the more like my Sner I’ve become. She used to always have some candy or something sweet up in the cabinets, and I notice that I do that as well. I don’t know if Sner still does that or how long it takes her to go through her stash, but I do know that it can take me an inordinately long time to make it through mine. Chocolate has been known to turn white in my house. I want a taste of sweets now and again. I like to know they are there. But I’m not going to gorge on them every night.
I’m sure that I get plenty of sugar (and salt) from other sources in my diet, but I’ve worked hard to minimize the big sources in my life.
If you are looking to make changes to your diet – wanting to become more healthful, I’d encourage you to take a look at the resource I’ve linked here. It’s pretty straight-forward and to me at least, comes across as fairly sensible. It feels like something I can make work for me.
In the meantime, what’s working for you in terms of your wellness? How are you getting along this week?