We all know the expression, “You want what you can’t have.” This can be applied to so many areas of our lives and it never ends well. This story is the oldest there is. Remember the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve are told they can’t have the apple and then they can’t stop lusting after it. Their desire grows so strong it becomes self-destructive until they finally can’t take it and eat the sweet fruit. We all know how that story ended.
It’s funny how this aspect of human nature seems nearly impossible to stray from. Think of your childhood and all the items you were told “no” to….you only craved them more!
Why do we do the same as adults in our own life? Why do we torture ourselves in this way? Especially when it comes to food!
Food deprivation is a slippery slope. So, how do you break the habit and live a life of moderation? You have to decide what moderation looks like and where you draw the line.
Many people struggle with restrictive dieting…”I can’t eat carbs”, “I can’t eat sugar”, “I can’t have dairy”. Unless you have a medical condition that states this is true, most adults CAN have these things, it just depends on what quantity you are talking about. However, if you can find the balance when you can satisfy the urge to consume a certain food/food group, it should satisfy you rather than making you obsess and crave that food more.
Have you ever worried that you won’t be able to control yourself and if you have one bite you won’t be able to stop? That sounds a lot like an excuse! Here’s the deal. You can have the bite, enjoy the bite and return to your balanced, healthy nutrition. OR…you can obsess about that bite, never eat it, feel deprived and then….you end up throwing in the towel and binge eating that food! What option is better? Clearly it’s preferential to satisfy your craving by eating a small amount and not obsessing, depriving yourself and then binge eating.
Another practice that can benefit everyone is mindful eating. Mindful eating is paying attention to what you are eating, when you are eating it and enjoying the moments. Registered dietitian Heather Deranja (Nutrition Vixen) suggests the following best practices regarding mindful eating :
- Eat in a distraction free zone
- Put your fork down in between each bite
- Engage your senses
- Be aware of physical hunger
- Make it an experience
- Be thankful
You only have one life to live and depriving yourself of certain nutrition indulgences is not living your best life or living a life of balance. When it comes to food choices, paying attention to yourself, your surroundings and what the overall impact will be is extremely important. It’s also important to have grace with yourself and acknowledge that it is impossible to eat 100% on point 100% of the time. If you can stick to the 80/20 rule and eat well 80% of the time, allow that 20% to be a bit more flexible, enjoy the indulgences and live in balance.