You’ve been “good” all week and then you go out with some friends and they order an appetizer to share. It’s loaded with cheese and it’s fried – and it’s definitely not on your “accepted food list”.
At first you try and resist, but after the cocktail you had (you promised yourself just this one), it’s harder to resist and you dive in.
The next morning you don’t feel well – dairy always rips apart your stomach – you’re bloated and sluggish. Your first thought is that you’ve blown all of the hard work from the prior week.
You beat yourself up . . .
“How could I have done that.”
“Cheese is so bad! Not to mention the two glasses of wine.”
“I’m such an idiot.”
And then your spouse looks at you and wonders aloud with you. “I have no idea why you do that to yourself.”
Just like that – it’s all ruined.
Or at least that’s what you think.
But, let me let you in on a little secret, you’re not alone.
All or nothing thinking when it comes to food or our health is incredibly common.
Whether it’s for our health or if we’re trying to lose weight, many of us obsess and have negative thoughts when it comes to food.
Something that is supposed to nourish you and fuel your body, has become a source of constant worry, stress and another tool in your toolbox to beat yourself up with.
It’s really not your fault. Society is constantly filling our brains with the latest food fads and diets that “inform” you that whatever was good for you last week is now bad . . . remember when carbohydrates were actually good for you and avocadoes were bad because they were high in fat??
It can drive you insane.
Constant food confusion and obsession is actually robbing all of us from enjoying our meals – and our time with friends. So, if the above scenario feels familiar, it’s time to give yourself a break.
Just because you fell off of your food plan doesn’t mean you’ve fallen off the highway. Instead of thinking you’ve veered off into some foreign land, imagine using your experience from the night before as a mere detour – one that is filled with lessons and cues that your body is lovingly sharing with you about what it wants.
Instead of being angry that you succumbed to dairy and it made you sick, recognize the lessons you want to take so that next time your brain cravings can’t win out!
Imagine if you woke up this morning and instead of beating yourself up, you started to look at the patterns that you fall into that take you down the detour. When looked at from that perspective, you can better arm yourself for the next time (because you know there will be a next time.
You can better prepare and come up with solutions ahead of time so that you won’t be so tempted.
In addition, by focusing on the lessons, you’re less likely to beat yourself up for your mis-steps and allow yourself to get back on the road to health – instead of staying on the detour and getting lost.
And even though you may have long forgotten about the concept of moderation, it’s time to learn that moderation is truly your friend when it comes to optimizing your health.
When you allow yourself occasional detours, you’ll be less likely to get stuck in all or nothing thinking. You’ll be better able to plan for “cheat meals” or “cheat days.”
The key, however is to always apply the 80/20 rule to moderation. Chances are at this point that you’re probably unsure what moderation really looks like anymore – so by applying a simple principle like 80/20, you’ll be better able to gauge when you are able to step off of your plan.
The 80/20 principle basically means that 80 percent of the time you stick to your healthy eating plan and 20 percent of the time you give yourself the freedom to eat foods you normally deem as unhealthy.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I condone eating foods that make you sick. In fact, I often tell my clients that if a food is making you feel back, then listen to your body!
Honor what your body is telling you.
But, aside from what makes your body sick, bloated or sluggish, I do believe that when you give yourself the occasion to build in moderation, you’re more likely to see better results overall.
Plus, when you plan ahead and recognize the days where you might fall off of your plan (hint: it’s usually the weekend for most of us), then you’ll feel more in control and ready to tackle your overall health concerns.
And, ultimately if you’re having trouble sticking to ANY plan, then it might be time to get some additional support.
Beyond the advice and nutrition knowledge we share, the biggest gift we can give our clients is the support to know they can actually stick to any plan!
So, this week it’s time to plan for some moderation. Whether you choose to use our help or want to try it out on your own, it’s time to build in some moderation and feel really good about it!!
If you have questions, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask any of my team members a question about how you might implement a plan – we love to answer questions and make you a priority.