Now the difference this time around is that I'm taking a more realistic approach to the whole clean eating thing. I've realized that the way I did it back in July is hard to maintain over the long term. Since then I've been working on a way to sustainably eat clean over the long term and make it a lasting habit. I've figured out a few things that I've listed below that include being more realistic and compassionate with myself and enjoying my one life. Here's 5 things I've figured out so far about making clean eating into a lasting habit:
1. I can't cut out the foods I enjoy forever:
I really enjoy things like wine, cheese, cake and other delicious creations and com'n, who doesn't? So when I try to picture myself cutting these foods out of my life for the rest of my life I get really sad. I also know that trying to cut out the so-called "dirty" foods out of my diet forever will eventually drive me crazy (more on that in the next section). So instead I've decided to save these yummy, and supposedly bad for me, foods for special occasions like birthdays, weddings, parties, etc. But do realize this is a slippery slope of making non-special occasions into special ones for the sake of eating the special foods. To help yourself avoid this trap remember they're way more special and worthy of their deliciousness status when saved for special occasions.
2. I end up wanting the 'forbidden foods' way more than before:
So along similar lines as above; when I try to cut foods out it just leads me down the binge path because that's all I can think about. You know what I mean right...when you cut something out and tell yourself you can't have it or it's bad for you all of a sudden you can't stop thinking about that thing. It's a psychological concept called the white bear problem (aka: ironic process theory) in which you can't help but think of something you're trying not to think of and it drives us mad. So instead I try to trick myslef and get around this problem by telling myself I can have these foods just not right now and it does help. For me I find it's easier to cut these things out from my day-to-day diet knowing that they're not forbid foods but instead things that I choose to save for special times.
3. When I change my language it helps to change my life:
Another way to trick myself into making better life and eating decisions without driving myself crazy is to change the way I talk to myself and others about food. As a society we like to push all sorts of food "rules" onto each other that are usually pretty arbitrary and often times dangerous. These "rules" get passed around like gospel from person to person without critical analysis and once they're out there it's so hard to change people's minds. Why is that I wonder...that's a question for another time. Anyways it's important to say things to myself like "I choose to not eat these foods out of love for myself and my health" instead of something like "I can't eat those foods because they go straight to my thighs!" See the difference? The words we use have a huge impact on our attitude and behaviours as well as those around us.
4. I love food and it's an important part of my life:
It's time for me to get over the hate part of my love-hate relationship with food. I'm over fighting with my food and I'm ready to embrace the life-giving stuff that it is. Food: I'm just head-over-heels kind of thing in love with you and I'm ready to take this relationship to the next level...can we go steady? Food: I'm ready for the long term commitment, I want you there through the thick and thin, the good and bad and everything in between until death do us part. I'll stop hating you and fighting with you and you'll continue to fuel me and my life and make me feel good and happy. What do you say food...do you forgive me? I think Food and I will be very happy together. :)
5. Being adaptable is the cornerstone of clean living:
I've realized that having a strict "can eat" and "can't eat" list always going in my head leads to neurosis and ruins the magic of life and living in the moment. There will still be times where I need to remind myself to go for the better option when presented with several options but I also have to be adaptable and let myself off the hook occasionally. When I was being so hard on myself about not eating clean and/or not living the clean life I was causing myself undue stress and for what? I was causing myself heartache all so I could fit into someone else's idea of health and/or beauty. Forget that: this is my life and you know me I'm all about figuring out what works for you when it comes to designing the life you want and that also applies to your health and diet.
In conclusion, I'm going to give myself permission to be a human being and make mistakes and I'm going to stop being so hard on myself. I plan on continuing to enjoy myself and my life the way I want everyday and I won't let anyone else dictate what's right for me and my life. Something else that I remind myself of every time I forget: I'm beautiful and awesome no matter what size I wear or what the scale says.
So from here on in I have a lot of plans for more posts having to do with living your best life. These will include: figuring out your own defintion of health, happiness and success; ignoring society's arbitrary healthy, fitness and beauty standards; how to live an uncommonly wealthy life as a shift worker; and so much more. Stay tuned for big things coming from me in the future! For now here's to your uncommonly wealthy and delicious life! :)