In psychology circles, there is a better approach to eating than dieting. This approach is both sustainable and enjoyable. In my last blog post I outlined why it can be so dangerous to diet not just for physical but mental health. A better approach is to eat in a low-sacrifice way. So what does this involve?
Firstly, recognise the foods that you absolutely can not live without. This might be chocolate or coffee. These are your high-sacrifice foods. My suggestion is not to remove these entirely from your diet. Make sure you include a small amount in your diet regularly. The best time to eat these has been shown to be for morning tea. That way you are less likely to overeat them and won’t crave them as much in the afternoon or evening as you have already had your ‘fix’ for the day. Also choose good quality options for your favourite foods. Savour each bite and don’t feel ashamed about eating these. Of course moderation is the key here.
Admittedly, initially you may overeat your favourite food as you are so used to feeling guilty about eating it that when you give yourself permission to eat it you over-indulge. Don’t worry about this little hiccup. Make sure you don’t then devote to not eating it ever again as this creates a cycle of deprivation/binge eating. Allow yourself to have a small amount again tomorrow or the next day, that way you break this cycle.
You can now focus on making the rest of your diet as healthy as possible with plenty of fresh, unprocessed foods. Other tips to healthy, balanced eating will be included in my next few blogs but the key to remember here is to not deprive yourself of the foods you absolute love to eat. That way you won’t ever feel like you are dieting and therefore risk feeling like a failure when you ‘fail the diet’ by not keeping within its strict limits.