Diet-think versus Health-think
One of the reasons clients have difficulty eating nutritious food is that it feels as if they’re dieting. Instead of thinking, “Hey, this is a yummy, healthful food for me to nourish my body,” they grumble inside about being stuck eating something low-cal or low-fat—again. You can see how this mindset would prevent you from making wise choices. Of course, you can’t change the eating until you change the beliefs behind it.
Take a minute to consider whether nutritious food equals diet food for you. What foods fit into this category: salad, anything low-fat or low-cal, vegetables, fruits? Ask yourself what would make an item a diet food or, well, a regular food? Is there really a distinction or is it something artificial that keeps you in a diet mentality? What are your beliefs about diet foods versus healthy ones? Here are some possibilities:
- Salad is diet food and I’m sick of it from my dieting days.
- I only eat vegetables because they’re low-calorie.
- If I weren’t on a diet, I could eat high-fat, high-calorie food whenever I wanted to.
- The only reason to eat low-fat, low-carb, low-cal foods is to lose weight.
- Ordering healthy means depriving myself of foods I love.
- Eating nutritiously is boring and too restrictive.
- It’s not fair that I have to eat healthy foods and pass on the good stuff.
If you have any of these beliefs, take time now to examine their roots, that is, your experiences that make the belief seem like truth. Now ask yourself if the belief is rational and back it up with evidence. Can you find evidence to the contrary that makes the belief untrue? If so, reframe the belief and keep reframing all of your irrational beliefs until you have a healthy belief system about nutritious food.
Now’s the time to scrap your diet-food thinking. Remember, sometimes a “normal” eater wants a salad or uses lowfat cheddar and other times he or she chooses lasagna or the triple crème cheese. It’s the years or decades of dieting that have messed with your mind, not the food itself. Unless and until you get your head on straight and stop equating healthy food with diet food, you won’t be able to eat “normally.” The best thing to do is challenge your thinking and create a belief system that says nutritious food can be delicious and enjoyable and that choosing it will contribute to a better quality of life for you now and in the future. Merely by revamping your attitude, you may find yourself eating in a more nutritious fashion without feeling as if you’re on a diet.