By Ana Grimh, CSCS, FMS-1
Come on, we’ve all been there. Two weeks into our “clean” eating regimen, and we are tempted by cake at a work function or any other social event. Dang it! How could we have been so weak? Well, since we ate the cake, might as well eat 16 cookies, 3 more pieces of cake, and drink a crap-ton of wine. That’ll just drive it right home that we should now feel guilty and sorry for our bad behavior and lack of self-control. #amiright
Recently, I started reading “Food Freedom Forever” by Melissa Hartwig. You may recognize that name, as she is the co-creator of Whole30. Whole30 is a program that focuses on eliminating more problematic foods and thoughts from your life for a specific duration of time before reintroducing those things. Through this elimination and reintroduction, you gain important information about how food and your own thoughts affect your wellness. (Interested in learning more? Check it out here: http://whole30.com/)
In Melissa’s book, she says that we need to remove the emotions we have surrounding food. You are not “cheating” or “failing” when you eat something not on your “plan.” You are making a choice. That choice is not “good” or “bad.” It is simply a choice, and with any choice, it comes with consequences that you will have to live with. Before making that choice, you consciously decide that any consequence(s) are worth it.
So, how does this apply to the aforementioned cake? Well, instead of thinking of it as a terrible choice that you should now continue down the “terrible choice rabbit hole,” reframe it as, “I am willing to accept any consequences involved with enjoying this piece of cake.” Honestly, you may not have any consequences of it! It’s only one piece of cake! Some people have very sensitive systems, and one piece of cake could really affect how they feel. Others might not feel anything. What will affect you, though? Eating one piece of cake followed by 16 cookies, 3 more pieces of cake, and drinking lots of wine. Or, possibly, any other not so healthy choices after the one piece of cake.
But again, choosing to eat more than one “unhealthy” option is neither a good or bad choice. It’s simply a choice that you must accept the consequences of making. Let’s start to reframe our attitudes towards food. Your food choices do not make you a good or bad person. Choices are simply choices. They do not define you as a person! When you make a choice that had not so lovely consequences, take note of how you felt after – make a mental note for future. This is how we learn! Each choice and consequence(s) are opportunities for us to learn more about how food and drink affects our bodies. Then, from that intel, we can make even more informed choices!
Health and fitness is a learning process. Do your best not to assign blame when a choice is made. Relax, take in how your body and mind feel, and make notes for next time. And, when you knowingly make a choice that will have not so great consequences, just enjoy and accept it! You are still an awesome person who simply enjoys a treat every now and then. And, we think that’s pretty cool.
Looking for more nutrition guidance? You’re in luck! FIT offers a program through Precision Nutrition that helps you explore your attitude, thoughts, and behaviors related to food. Ask a coach for more details!