Making changes in our food life can be like an internal wrestling match where our equilibrium — grounded in the comfort of foods — gets pushed off center. Making that choice to eat healthier foods becomes a negotiation between one part that wants the comfort back, and the other that’s trying to remove it. This interaction looks a little different for all of us, but in the end we walk through the same process of change.
When moving into a whole foods lifestyle where sugar, processed foods, and even grains are eliminated we often have an emotional reaction to this change. There is no shame in this! Eating gives us pleasure and it is ingrained in our cultures and everyday lives. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have some type of relationship to food and it impacts us when we have to give some foods up — even it is to give us a healthier lifestyle.
One of the biggest mental challenges of this conversation is finding the right compromise where the motivated side feels like they’re accomplishing health goals, while the other side feels like they don’t have to give up too much comfort and pleasure in food. This internal dialogue is natural and it helps to recognize, and even verbalize, it when happening. When we accept the process that’s happening inside, we then have the power to mediate it and help these two opposing sides find a happy medium.
Here are a few tools that can be used in mediating this wrestling match:
- Find ways to work healthy eating with whole foods into fit into your lifestyle. Some adjustments might need to be made, but overall the key to success and balance in your internal world is finding a way to make the food change work in the world you live in.
- Be gentle on yourself in the process. Giving up food is hard to do! You might even choose to eat something that’s not apart of the new plan. That’s ok! Enjoy it with judging yourself and move forward in your journey. A whole foods lifestyle it’s not a diet, it’s a way of life.
- Give yourself permission to enjoy foods that are not on the list from time to time. Think of it as the 80 – 20 rule. If you’re working to maintain the lifestyle at least 80% of the time you’re doing great!
- Find alternative recipes that can satisfy your comfort food cravings. Sometimes
having a recipe that reminds us of what we’ve had to give up, can satisfy that mental urge to splurge. One tool in the mediation process is to not force your lifestyle around the healthy eating ideal.
With these tools we can help these competing drives live happily together and get the healthy food life while also finding comfort in food.
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