Taco Bell was my favorite thing growing up. And cheese. I used to throw a mound of
shredded cheese in a bowl and some pepperoni on top and call it pepperoni cereal. (Yeah weird I know, but remember who's blog you're reading ya silly goose.)
I didn't eat a lot of fruits and veggies or drink as much water as I should. Needless to say that did not bode well for my digestive system over the years. Talk about a ticking time bomb.
I've been doing this trainer and coach thing for nearly a decade now (weird to say that because that means I'm old enough to have been doing something professionally for that long. WOAH. *insert a moment of existential crisis here* ). I'm certified in nutrition coaching and I've taken several classes in college on nutrition (Dietetics major for, like, 2 seconds) AND I still eat Taco Bell. And cheese and pepperoni (though more often in pizza form than "cereal" form).
Why, after everything I've learned, why would I still choose to eat Taco Bell?! Because of the second thing I wouldn't do if I was just starting out on my wellness journey...
I would NOT cut out my favorite foods.
Food is more than just fuel. What we eat and how much is important, but there's also other important things that come into play like what you truly enjoy, cultural things, familial
traditions, connecting with others over a meal, food availability, etc. People tend to struggle with diets because they cut out foods and a lot of the time it's the BEST foods. Like cookies. Or potatoes. Or carbs overall. Don't get me started on carbs. ANYWHO. Or they cut out activities like lunch with friends or a Saturday night shindig leading to less socializing which is a whole other part of being healthy overall. If you're trying to become healthier then don't completely cut out your favorite foods. Forbidden carbs/foods are the sweetest. The most desired. The hardest to keep yourself away from. If you remove that forbidden element you'll make it much easier on yourself.
Two alternatives to cutting out your favorite food:
Eat a little less of that food:
3 slices of pizza instead of 4
2 oreos instead of 3
1 mocha latte instead of 2
Add in something with a lot of nutritional value-
have a side salad with your pizza
have an apple with your oreos
drink a bottle of water between your mocha lattes
Adding something in rather than taking away something you really love is going to be easier on your psyche. And your mental wellness plays a big part in your overall health.
PLUS, another really cool thing that I've personally experienced, you may find that over time the foods you absolutely love and can't bear to part with right now become not nearly as appetizing as they used to be. Like me and Taco Bell. I still eat it, but much, much less frequently than I used to. And it's because I simply don't want it. I'd rather have something with more nutritional value most of the time.
So, once again, time is a factor here. Work in more nutritional options while, at most, reducing the things that aren't as nutrient dense. Over time you'll notice a shift in your food choices that may surprise you.
And, since you're allowing yourself time and doing new things a little bit at once, you'll find that change will be easier to make AND easier to sustain in the long run.
Don't try to beat yourself into submission and become "healthy" at the expense of your mental wellness.
Don't think being healthy means never eating sugary things or pizza.
Don't think to become healthy everything has to change RIGHT NOW.
Instead make small changes over time, utilizing self-compassion, and noticing what works and what doesn't. <----- What I help my clients with 😉
Stick around for the third thing I wouldn't do if I were just starting out on my wellness journey (and what I'd do instead) coming soon!