The first thing people do when they decide they need to go on a diet is start to think of all the foods they can’t eat anymore. We usually form it in our minds like that, too. “This food has to go forever. I better get as much as I can right now.”
We believe that the food is the sole cause of all this weight. “If only I could stop eating xyz, I could lose weight.”
It is not long before a deprivation mindset begins. We start to think of all the things we can’t have, aren’t good for us, “oh, yeah. I ate a bag of those yesterday.” In reality, any expert in food or nutrition is going to tell you that you can eat what you want, you just have to use moderation.
We, as American’s, aren’t so good with this concept of moderation. We want it all, we want it now and we don’t think there is enough to go around. So we better get it while we can. This adds to our growing obesity concerns in this country.
Another, more moderate, approach is crowding out “unhealthy” foods. Crowding out foods is a technique that starts with putting healthy foods into your meals to make less room for the foods that don’t promote health.
Fill up on whole grains, fruits and vegetables before you reach for the something you might regret. There is no mandate that you don’t eat potato chips. Have potato chips if you life. Just have an apple, carrot sticks or oatmeal first. When planning your meal make sure to have lots of vegetable options to put on the plate along with the macaroni and cheese you love.
Each choice to eat a whole food before a processed food takes you one step closer to eating better. The deprivation is gone because you don’t need to stop yourself from eating what you love. You are only adding to your food and making less room for a day of eating poorly. As you crowd-out the unhealthy choices and eat them less, you might even find they aren’t as satisfying as they once were.
Change one meal at a time. Put a pile of salad on your plate next to your protein. You will get your greens along with the richness of the meat. You feel satisfied and get your needs met. Changing how you eat happens one choice at a time. What are you choosing to eat today?