The Importance of Changing Your Expectations about Food
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of diets guaranteed to help you finally lose that weight and love your body—keto, low-fat, Atkins, Paleo. Studies consistently show, though, that the single biggest factor that contributes to real, long-term management of your weight is how you think about food. In fact, most research shows that restrictive dieting more often than not leads to long term weight gain! How can that be?
Your Attitude Toward Food Reflects Your Attitude Toward Yourself
When you characterize certain foods as “good” foods and others as “bad” foods, the next logical step is that, if you eat what you consider to be a “bad” food, you must be a “bad” person. When your opinions and thoughts about food are steeped in guilt and shame, you’ll often make food choices for the wrong reasons. You won’t choose to eat something because it provides you with essential vitamins, mineral or other bodily needs. You’ll choose to eat something because it will make you feel less shameful or less guilt-ridden. Emotional eating tends to take the form of overeating.
Changing Your Mindset about Food
Here are some simple strategies to help you develop a healthier attitude toward food:
- Focus on how food makes you feel—Rather than simply labeling certain foods as good or bad, pay close attention to the effects different foods have on your body. Do they lead to greater energy or do you want to take a nap? Consider both the quantity, as well as the type of food. A small amount of what you previously considered a “bad” food—chocolate, for example—may actually make your body feel better.
- Don’t confuse “less” with “better.”—Whenever your approach is restrictive, you’re almost always setting yourself up for a future binge. Your body needs a certain amount of fuel. If you don’t give it enough, it will often respond with cravings.
- Focus on the positive, not the negative—You haven’t lost “only five pounds.” You’ve already lost five pounds. It’s mostly a matter of perspective. Remaining positive will keep you headed in the right direction.
- Work with a coach—The most effective weight loss regimens involve regular encouragement and check-ins, so that you have help keeping the right attitude
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