Too many health & wellness journeys begin as a temporary “diet.”
These temporary diets don’t last long because how could they?
You completely restrict yourself. You tell yourself you’ll never eat desert again, only to find yourself binging one ice cream 3 days later.
Every diet works… just not for long.Mark Schatzker, The End of Craving
Quick fixes don’t change the results yielded from daily lifestyle choices.
Instead, they often make the problem worse. The number of people who started off on a seemingly harmless diet to develop a proper eating disorder is far, far too astronomical.
If this is you, please seek professional help. This post covers simple, practical steps that helped me end my poor mindset in relation to food and is in no way an attempt to treat an eating disorder.
These are little things I noted while moving away from the diet mindset.
Stop Tracking Macros/Counting Calories
I first realized my relationship with food may not be healthy when I tried to go a day or two without tracking macros.
The stress I caused myself by not using MyFitnessPal for every single intake was alarming. This is when I first decided to change something.
I knew I couldn’t realistically track macros every single day of my life, forever, but I also knew I had completely forgotten how to eat intuitively.
I hadn’t actually felt a hunger que from my body in ages because for months I had been so obsessed with counting calories.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when tracking macros, counting calories, or trying to get leaner: your body is not a calculator.
Yes, these apps can/do work. But, they can’t replace your natural hunger signals. For most people who don’t track macros, calorie consumption fluctuates throughout the week.
One day, they may eat 2,400 calories, the next, their body may only need 1,800. The book I mentioned previously, The End of Craving, explains this perfectly.
related: The top 5 books for health & wellness newbies
The first several days of this way actually quite difficult. I hadn’t gone a day without tracking in over a year.
But I knew it was important for me to, at the very least, take a break from tracking.
At the very least, I needed to learn how to listen to my body again.
So I just deleted the app quite frankly. At first, I told myself it was just for a week, but after that week I had no interest in downloading it again.
If your diet is made up of primarily whole foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, eggs, seafood) and you are eating in response to your hunger ques, there is no need to track macros.
Just eat what the earth provides rather than the factory or lab. It’s quite simple.
Learn the True Impact of Processed Foods
Telling yourself to just stop eating that bag of chips is really ineffective. That approach isn’t even worth trying.
But something that drastically helped me was learning what exactly processed foods/ingredients do to your body.
Learn and understand what is happening as your body breaks down what you’re putting on your plate.
Yes, vegetable oils are bad, but why? Just exactly how is it being broken down by the body. What happens after that? Where does it go? What arteries is it clogging? What long-term brain damage could this be contributing too?
Now picture a kiwi or a free-range egg. How is that broken down and utilized? Where does that vitamin C go from the kiwi. What does it protect? What about the fiber?
What about the calcium, folate, and vitamin b12 from the egg? The protein?
Discovering what exactly happens to everything you eat is crucial to turning off your desire to consume them (at least in large, consistent quantities).
Learn to Cook & Do It Everyday
Everyone should know how to cook. This should be a lifestyle skill
that every man, woman, and child should be capable of to some extent.
I’m not saying you have to be Gordon Ramsey, but you should have the basic
skills down. And before you start to think, “I’m not a good cook,” or
“I don’t know how/where to start,” stop that train of thought.
If you can read you can cook. The number of simple, quick, healthy,
well-balanced, easy, delicious, FREE recipes available on the internet is
Take advantage of them.
Meal planning and cooking my own meals helped me greatly when moving away
from the diet mindset and into a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
There is just some added, unexplainable level of satisfaction that comes
from creating your own food.
A big problem within our modern diets is we are so disconnected from the
foods we eat, much like we are disconnected from what our own body’s’ need.
When we are disconnected from the process of growing and making food, we become more dissatisfied with what we consume.
We just go buy our packaged foods from the grocery store (or even shop through an app and pick them up curbside for which I am guilty off) and never appreciate how it got there in the first place.
We don’t know if what we are eating is what our body needs because we never checked.
We simply ran into the fridge, snatched what was front and center, probably ate it in front of the TV ignoring our hunger cues, and then we wonder why we are disappointed.
We wonder why we want more.
We eat mindlessly. There’s no engagement or true enjoyment. We don’t partake in the process, the luxury, of food and dining.
When you take time to thoughtfully plan your meals, thoughtfully pick the ingredients, thoughtfully prepare your dish, and thoughtfully eat it with friends and family, we are bound to receive quadruple the amount of joy.
If you want to take it a step further, start a garden. Even if it is just a few herbs, you are grounding yourself further into the process of creating your own food.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you to get in the kitchen, just know you’re saving money and engaging your creativity as well.
Again, if you are struggling with an eating disorder, seek professional help. These are simply small steps one can take to help with an unhealthy mindset/relationship with food.