The stress of dieting and restricting certain foods can be exhausting, leading to even more severe health and weight problems. Here are some ways to work toward a healthy body weight and balanced eating habits without dieting.
Step 1: Acceptance
Accept where you are right now. Remember that genetics, society and learned behaviors differ for everyone. It's important to be happy at every size and shape. Do not let life pass you by or put your goals on hold until you reach a certain body weight. Stay positive about what your current body can do for you. Turn negative self-talk into positive affirmations every day.
Step 2: Give yourself permission to eat real foods that you enjoy
I encourage clients to buy real whole foods instead of processed items. If something is low-fat or sugar-free, it likely has artificial ingredients, which are not only unhealthy but also unsatisfying, and could lead you to overeat. If you love sweets, don't buy sugar-free pudding or candy. Instead, enjoy a single serving of trail mix with nuts and chocolate chips!
Step 3: Portion control
Eat what you want, but eat modest portions. Instead of counting calories or cutting out certain groups of nutrients, have the discipline to stick to single servings. Eating your favorite foods makes it easier to enjoy small portions—it's simply not such a big deal anymore. It's also important to eat throughout the day and not skip meals or snacks. This helps you control portions because you're never famished.
Step 4: Plan ahead
Stay on track throughout the day with food you enjoy on hand. Try new recipes and snacks and have things ready to go for what may be a busy week of work, school and practice.
Step 5: Focus on self-care
It is so important to find happiness and joy in your daily life. Find time for yourself, exercise, get adequate sleep and pursue the activities you love. If you are not taking care of yourself emotionally or physically, food can be a source of comfort. When this happens, eating is not as enjoyable, nor does it serve its purpose.
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