Dieting can be a bit of a touchy subject for some people when it comes to making healthy decisions or losing weight. But why is it such a “trigger word” for some? The answer has nothing to do with the foods or opportunity costs of making health choices, but is simply mindset-based.
The truth is, mental health can play a role in dieting, and if you constantly feel like you are failing or “cheating” on your diet, it can be hard to succeed. Let’s take a closer look into choice vs. cheating and how you can achieve a healthy balance in your nutrition and lifestyle.
The fact is, there are no “bad” foods. Instead of adapting the mindset of “good” and “bad” foods, it is better to establish that there are some foods that are healthier than others, but you have the freedom to choose which you will put into your body and how you will ensure that you get a healthy balance of foods. The same concept goes for other lifestyle decisions such as how you spend your time. For example, you can’t say that it is “bad” to sit down and watch your favorite TV show after a long day and “good” to go on a 5 mile run instead. Yes, exercise is important and a healthier choice than being sedentary, but there is a time for both types of activities within moderation. Too much exercise can lead to injury and too much relaxation time can lead to a variety of health concerns. However, with moderation they can both be incorporated into your schedule to achieve a happy, healthy balance.
As mentioned before, the mindset that eating foods that are less healthy is “cheating” on your diet can be faulty as it can make you feel as though you have failed yourself by “giving into your cravings.” This is a silly concept if there are no “bad” foods. By viewing all of your food decisions as choices rather than a list of dos and don’ts, you grant yourself the freedom, capability, and maturity to make decisions that are best for you rather than a “one size fits all” approach to being healthy. Someone who has a more strenuous exercise regimen will require more and different types of food than someone who isn’t as regimented with their workout routine, just like someone with low blood sugar has more flexibility with their sugar intake than someone with diabetes. The trick to finding success with your choices is being honest with yourself concerning your state of health, needs, and ability to make healthy choices. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to consult with a health coach or nutrition counselor to evaluate your habits and advise you how to make choices that will empower and nourish you optimally.