I received a question from a reader a few days ago and I thought that it was such a great topic to share with you. “hey there food guru. i am looking for some motivation/inspiration/support/someone to yell at me. the past 2 weeks or so have been less than ideal moving quickly towards, and now arriving at, very very bad. having a hard time staying on track at the moment. any words you can share? maybe a song and dance number??? thanks so much.”
Here’s what I have learned:
1. Let it go. Becoming a healthy eater/achieving a healthy weight is not a perfect race to the finish line. In fact, there is no finish line. You may get to a healthy weight, but maintaining it takes more work than getting there did. Beating yourself up about not eating perfectly is perfectionism coming out and that is not going to work over the long haul. Slip ups happen, how you handle them is what counts.
2. Do not use a slip up, no matter how big or small it was, to convince yourself that you should just give up on this whole eating healthy thing. That mentality is quite common amongst food addicts, myself included. But I don’t think like that anymore and you don’t have to either. Again, the past is the past and you can’t change it. And oftentimes what we think was such a horrific food bender really wasn’t that bad. We make it worse by beating ourselves up about it. What are you going to do right now? That is what matters.
3. Speaking of the past being the past, you should not skip the next meal in order to try to make up for a past slip up. That is setting yourself up for more disaster. Make a commitment that the next meal will be a healthy one. If you try to skip a meal, chances are extremely high that when you finally do eat, you will be like a crazed lunatic and all of the calories that you skipped will be more than made up for when you do eat again.
4. What about the future? Make a commitment to have one good day. That’s it right now. Just one. I suggest having a solid plan for this one good day, i.e. write down exactly what you are going to eat for the whole day and make the commitment to not waiver from this plan. If other food magically shows up, just say to yourself, that is not on my plan so it’s out. No mental debate about it. Not on your plan. One good day can change your whole attitude and set you on a better course.
5. Speaking of plans, all of the great intentions in the world are meaningless without a plan, so make sure you have one that is comfortable for you. For me, this started out with Weight Watchers, progressed to a combination of Weight Watchers and Eat to Live, and short dabble with Raw Food and now a comfortable, mostly vegan, mostly no-added-fat diet. What is your plan?
6. Clean house. Get rid of all of your trigger foods. I’m not joking. Get a big black garbage bag and fill it up with anything that might give you a problem and throw it in the trash. Let go of any guilt about this. It’s either trash in your body or trash in a landfill, so where would you rather put the trash? It’s amazing how much easier and simpler it is to stay on your plan if you are not surrounded by your trigger foods. When these foods make their way back into your home, as they inevitably do, get rid of them as soon as you can. Never have them hanging around. You know what happens when they are there!
7. Breathe. It’s amazing what a few deep breaths can do for your well being. Breathe deeply, slowly, in and out through your nose for 30 seconds. If you can remember to do this under times of stress or aggravation, you will be far less likely to turn to food in these situations.
So there it us, my advice for slip-ups. I hope it helps! And if anyone out there has thoughts to add to this list, please leave a comment following this post.
Here’s a new recipe that I tried last night. I thought it was incredible. My husband wanted more heat, so that part optional depending on your taste buds.
Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Enchilada Casserole
Based on a recipe from Clean Food by Terry Walters
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp canola oil
3 large sweet potatoes (more is better than less), washed and poked with a fork
juice of 2 limes
1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of scallions-sliced thin and separated white bottom part from green top part
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup corn kernels, defrosted if frozen
2 tsp sea salt
14 soft corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups prepared salsa
optional: 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley