I like to think that I live a fairly healthy lifestyle when it comes to food – I don’t drink pop, I don’t eat potato chips, and I try to make as many “healthy snack” options as possible. I do believe though in the theory of “a little bit of everything”. I think that if you limit yourself and try to exclude entirely something you’ve always enjoyed, you will somehow find your way back to it sooner or later, and your entire “healthy lifestyle” will basically be shot. Now, that being said, a “a little bit of everything” means that you don’t have to say no to a piece of cake at a party, unless you are going to a party every single week – that’s when you need to think about another option; maybe have that piece of cake once every two weeks? Also, it’s okay to have “a little bit of everything” when you literally are having everything; veggies, fruits, grains, etc. This little piece of cake will balance out all of the other healthy options you are consuming.
Next, by allowing yourself to basically not eliminate these “treats” you are actually helping yourself get on the right track with eating healthier. You know that saying; “you want what you can’t have”. Well, I think that’s exactly how this healthy lifestyle goes; if you know you can’t have a cookie, you will crave it until you crack. But, if you know you can, you will have that cookie, and because you satisfy your craving of it, you will be more optimistic about eating that “healthy option”. I also found, with myself specifically, after a while of living this “healthy lifestyle” that craving for those “treats” started minimizing. I won’t say it’s disappeared, because I don’t think it’s humanly possible for me, but I no longer have sweet cravings for unhealthy options as often, that’s for sure.
Portion control is another major factor to the “little bit of everything theory”. My issue is, that if I make a favourite dish or am really enjoying the food I’m eating, I don’t know how to stop myself from eating it. I just can’t help myself with it being so delicious. This, my friends, is a torture and death sentence for your insides. If you regularly have large meals, then another large meal really doesn’t impact you because your body is used to receiving that amount to consume. Personally, I eat a light breakfast, regular dinner, and have “snacks” every two hours or so.
So, when that off day comes when I am in love with what’s on my plate and can’t stop eating, it really doesn’t do me any good. Breaking eating patterns is actually one of the worst things you can do for your body – it breaks routine basically. This actually works both ways; if you eat regularly and then all of a sudden have a huge meal, your body starts working double time to break down the food you’ve just devoured – which is not good. If you eat regularly and then decide you are on a hunger strike; same thing, your body begins looking for that routine food to break down, but instead of food it finds air – not good again. Both of these patterns can lead to serious stomach bacteria developments and gut problems. I can personally say I’m guilty of this sometimes, and am really trying to keep my eating habits together.
I have been on both ends of the spectrum, and will openly say that food and I have not had a good relationship in the past; but slowly things are looking up, mainly because I am educating myself more on these topics. So, that being the final point of this speech I’ve gone on here; educate yourself on the food you are consuming, or want to be be consuming. The more you know the more comfortable you will feel purchasing it, and then, the more eager you will be making it. Find groups or websites that share the same food interest as you, or who maybe have already overcome this stage and can provide insight. It’s always easier with someone else.
For a very long time, I felt like I was alone in my consuming patterns; especially my in-laws who put milk, cream, and butter into anything and everything possible. It took some time to get used to either not being able to taste everything at a dinner party, or having a separate dish made just for me. Honestly, this still happens all of the time, so don’t think that you will be fully in the clear, there will always be unhealthy options around you (or just options you are intolerable to); I still often skip out on many items offered at parties for that exact reason. But, that’s okay! Say no when you feel you should – don’t push yourself to consume something that you know will not sit right with you, just to “be polite”.
This is your one and only body so give it what it needs to take you through this amazing life!
Now, I might be getting a bit off topic here with the “healthy lifestyle choice” and the “medical dietary restrictions” matter, but, all in all, it comes down to one thing, and that’s your own determination and motivation to make a plan and stick to it. Whatever works best for your body and lifestyle.
Nevertheless, now more than ever, there are SO many options for food choices; many restaurants offer substitutes, vegan, vegetarian, and other options to choose from. There are an unlimited amount of resources to educate yourself on benefits, cooking techniques, recipes, etc. Like I mentioned, just start educating yourself, and the decision will come naturally.