We all want to eat right, but no one can (or should) have a perfect diet. This perfectionist mentality limits our enjoyment of food and ultimately out of life. Perfectionism does not belong at the table. Follow these tips to have a healthier relationship with food.
- Make foods morally neutral– Labeling foods “good” or “bad” gives them way more power than they deserve. Foods are meant to provide energy, nutrients, and enjoyment. Each food has its unique set of nutrients that can find its place in a healthy diet. Following a diet that restricts certain foods takes away from this enjoyment and can ultimately lead to feelings of deprivation and ultimately overindulgence.
- Live in the present– Don’t put your life on hold while you attempt to meet your dietary goals. Start living today! The positive experiences you go through will help motivate you to make healthier choices.
- Take a mindful approach- Take the time to truly savor your food. Experience all the flavors, textures, and aromas of the food. Listen to your body’s hunger signals and honor them. Try not to eat on the run or while distracted by television or reading material. This can inhibit your ability to enjoy the meal and reach a point of satiation and consequently, lead to over or under eating. Eating in a mindful manner will allow you to consume the appropriate number of calories and obtain the proper nutrients you need.
- Don’t listen to critics– These days it seems like everyone wants to be the food police. Do not allow people in your life or the promotion of fad diets steer you away from a wholesome lifestyle. Just because Dr. Oz or your mother-in-law scrutinizes you for eating a bagel, do not allow them to upset you or perpetuate you into restriction or overeating. Everyone has his or her own nutrition needs. Talk to your RD about your individualized needs and stand up for yourself when critics arise.
- Make SMART goals- Trying to change all of your eating and exercise habits at once is unrealistic and unsustainable. Accomplishing small goals over a period of time leads to greater success and helps ensure the changes become permanent. To make your goals smart, make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and provide a time frame for yourself. An example of a SMART goal would be: I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily for at least 4 days per week by the start of next month. Work with your RD to help find the SMARTest goals for you.