Week 3 Challenge – Mindset Change

Changing your mindset about eating is going to take this from a weight loss challenge to a life change. What you thought you knew about food and nutrition, put it aside. All the fancy fads that are out there now, put those aside. All the diets that you’ve been on before or the ones that friends or family have told you about, put those aside. Let’s start fresh!

This isn’t an easy topic. In fact it’s probably the hardest topic dietitians talk to people about. It’s easy to tell you that green tea is good for you and measure your portions and eat your fruits and veggies. It’s hard to talk about changing ideas or mindsets that have been held for a very long time. But…I like challenges and I care about you and your health so as hard as it may be, lets dig in!

You know that eating an entire bag of potato chips is by no means healthy, right? But even if you know that sometimes you still do it. Why? Let’s figure it out…

So many things factor into why you eat what you eat. From stress, depression, grief, and sadness to happiness, celebration, temptation, or boredom all of these emotions or seasons in life affect your diet. Why? Because your diet is one of the only things in life that you have full control over. You decide what you eat: how much (or how little) and how often. Many times we eat and we don’t even recognize it. How many candies have you had out of the candy jar at work today? You probably don’t know because you haven’t counted…aren’t you food logging!?! 🙂 We are mindless when it comes to eating and we allow our emotions to take over. Let’s talk about the 3 biggest hurdles to mindset that I’ve witnessed.

  1. STRESS

On any normal day your eating habits are probably fairly normal but when you get stressed, emotions take over and the candy jar gets emptied, vending machines get raided, fast food burgers get eaten before dinner, and chips/cake/cookies get devoured while watching TV at night. All because you were stressed.

THE SOLUTION

Eating is not going to change the situation. Eating makes you feel better for those few minutes that you are devouring the cake/chips/[insert your favorite stress food] but afterwards you will fill guilty, your stressed will still be there, and you may even feel physically ill. Find a good stress management technique or tool and use it. Food is not your friend, you cannot figure out your problems by eating half of a pizza. PS alcohol is not your friend either. Instead of using food as an outlet try something that benefits your body. Check out the American Psychological Association’s tips for managing stress. Personally I like a walk outside, a drive, a bath, and/or some hilariously mindless TV (Impractical Jokers is probably my favorite).

2. NEED vs WANT

“I need my chocolate”, “I need my soda”, “I need my salty crunchy snack”. Have you ever heard yourself saying those things? Guess what, you don’t need any of that. What you need is air, water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat, and protein to survive. You WANT those other things, you don’t need them.” WOAH…let that sink in. You don’t NEED any of the “extra’s” in your diet. You simply WANT them. You’ve become accustomed to having them, possibly addicted to them. They became part of your life but you don’t need any of it.

THE SOLUTION

What do you eat that you think you need, but really you want? Remember, food is just an inanimate object that has no barring on you. If you could never eat potato chips again, you would still be you! I’m not saying you should give up all of the high calorie, high fat, high sugar foods that you enjoy. I’m saying you don’t need them. You want them and that’s OK, but not all the time, not every day. Changing your mindset also means changing how you talk about food.

3. YOU

How you talk about yourself impacts you and those around you. Just because you ate ice cream or a dough nut or wings doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. I cannot over state this enough NO ONE EATS THE PERFECT DIET. Don’t believe it if they say they do. Don’t let them make you feel inferior because you don’t eat 100% “healthy” all the time. You are human and humans like fat, we like salt, we love sugar, and we eat it…and that’s OK! It’s ok to have those things once in a while and not to feel guilty about it. It’s NORMAL and in fact part of an overall healthy diet to eat things that wouldn’t fall into a perfect diet plan.

Also, you are beautiful just the way God made you. He made you in His image, for His glory. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The media is flawed and wrong. Those thoughts in your head that your legs are too tank like and your arms are too much like a flag and your nose looks like a duck bill…those are lies. Your legs have carried you through this life, carried children up and down stairs, helped you run that marathon. Those arms have hugged loved ones, cradled babies, and help you lift those weights above your head. That nose of yours allows you to smell the sweet aroma of flowers, enjoy the taste of food, and lets you know which one of your kids needs their diaper changed.

THE SOLUTION

Changing how we think of food and ourselves doesn’t happen overnight. It won’t happen unless you decide to throw out the negative connotation about food and yourself and start filling up with positivity.

Here are some words of wisdom that may help:

  • For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. – Psalm 139:13-15
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not evil, plans to give you a future and hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
  • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • Be kind to one another [and yourself], tenderhearted, forgiving one another [and yourself], as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 40:10-11

God loves us so much. He loves us more than anything. He proved that by sending Jesus to save us. Let’s treat our bodies like we are special, because we are. Let’s eat well, not to avoid guilt but because our bodies are valuable. Let’s eat ice cream and wings once in a while without guilt because our overall wellbeing is valuable. Let’s be human, let’s love ourselves, and let’s love others.