Before I was diagnosed with cancer, and was forced to take brutal inventory of what I was putting in my body, my relationship with food went a little something like this:
- Think about what I want to eat (usually creamy pasta or hot chips).
- Tell myself that I will not give in to craving.
- Give in to craving only after promising myself I would work it off at the gym the next day.
- Pig out on creamy pasta or hot chips
- Feel overwhelmed with guilt and self-disappointment because I know I’m lying to myself about going to the gym.
- Curse myself for not looking like Gisele Bundchen in skinny jeans.
Does this inner dialogue sound familiar to anyone? I’m guessing yes. You only have to look at the amount of diet books there are on the shelves, and how many ads for meal replacements and weight loss programs there are on TV to know that we are all struggling to find a healthy balance between what we put in our mouths, and how we feel about ourselves. It’s totally screwed up, and it doesn’t have to be this way.
The secret to health, wellness and weight loss cannot be found in deprivation and guilt. Nor can it be achieved by counting calories, restricting carbs, or replacing food with powdered drinks.
The simplest way to cultivate true wellness, and find your ideal weight is by following these five steps.
1. Recognize what is food, and what are “food like substances”
Foods that are natural, made by Mother Nature, and that generally grown in the ground are what your body wants to eat. Chemicalized, man-made “food like substances” (as Michael Pollan calls them) is not what your body wants to eat.
2. Crowd out the bad by adding in more good
It’s much easier to make healthy changes to your eating habits when these changes are about introducing new foods rather than imposing restrictions on old ones. Start by adding in healthy foods like fresh veggies, whole grains, legumes, fresh juices and smoothies. When you do this, and gradually build up the good guys, the bad guys will slip away more naturally.
3. Make sure your internal highway isn’t backed up
It doesn’t matter how much healthy food you eat, if your digestive system is on the fritz, you won’t be absorbing any of it properly. It’s super important to keep things running smoothly in there to promote weight loss and healthy skin, have increased energy, and prevent disease.
4. Learning healthy alternatives to nasty old habits
Being healthy does not mean you have to say goodbye to tasty foods. We were given tastebuds for a reason, and that reason was not deprivation. The key is to choose healthier options to replace the nasty ones you may have formerly had a penchant for. For example, if you like sweet things, choose natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and stevia. If you like chocolate, choose organic raw cacao.
5. Realizing that there is more to health than what is on your plate
There are so many other factors that affect our health, well-being and appearance besides the foods we eat. These things include emotional balance, adequate sleep, adequate sunshine, spirituality, and healthy relationships.
If you’re interested about diving deeper into this topic, and learning the tools that will take you to lasting weight loss, and whole-body wellness, check out the new e-book I put together. It’s called Make Peace With Your Plate and it’s a simple guide to ending your tortured relationship with food and finding your ideal weight without dieting, calorie counting, or deprivation.