So I’m pretty sure most of us have heard the saying “moderation is key” when it comes to healthy eating, however this phrase has never really jived with me. Why? Well because I am a PERFECTIONIST!!! Now 5 years ago I used this term with pride, but looking back this self proclaimed title robbed me of joy and happiness when it came to what I ate, how I ate, and when I ate…
During that time I was going through a lot of health issues, I began researching different diets and really got into health and wellness. I decided at that time that I would try a plant based diet, and within 2 weeks I noticed a signifigant difference. I had more energy, and I started feeling so much better. I also stopped eating anything that I deemed to be “unhealthy”, but after a few months I went very extreme without letting myself enjoy a treat or eat a french fry.
This is how I got into the perfect eating trap…after a few months it was really hard to stick to eating everything that was “perfect” in my mind. I even started turning down dinners with friends if I knew there was nothing on the menu that was healthy. Over time I would allow myself a treat now and then, but when I did I would wallow and feel major guilt…
One hot summer day I had enjoyed an ice cream cone, now I usually avoid dairy but I can tolerate dairy to a certain point so I can eat an ice cream cone once and awhile. However on this day right after I consumed it guilt started creeping into my mind, I started getting anxiety and I kept thinking of the amount of sugar I consumed and the ingredients in the waffle cone, and what that did was essentially ruin my lovely day I was having with my friend. After that I didn’t notice how beautiful the day was, how the sun was shining, I wasn’t present and was in my own little world of self hate for consuming an ice cream cone!!! How crazy is that??
It was after that day that I knew that I had to change my views on food, and if you can relate to this, here is what I did and what has worked for me!
I first started off with the 80/20 rule, which is essentially eat healthy 80% of the time and allow for any treats 20% of the time. When I started using this approach I immediately felt a weight lifted off my shoulders and it allowed me to feel okay if I had a treat knowing “hey, 80% of them time I eat extremely well.”
This has by far been what has worked best for me! After following the 80/20 mindset for awhile there were times I still felt out of touch with what was right for me. That is when I started practicing intuitive eating, which is all about being in tune to your mind and what your body needs. This has worked wonders for me because there are days, weeks even when I’m good eating nourishing foods that fuel my body and I don’t even want or crave a treat. Some days my body craves a ton of healthy fats, some days I just want green juice and salads. Then there are days where if I go to a cafe on a rainy day I crave a warming latte and a croissant, and that’s okay!
If you find yourself struggling with this too, know that it can get better, it won’t happen over night and takes time, but you will be able to enjoy food and social gatherings again. By including these tips into your daily routine you will also begin to feel the weight lifted off your shoulders as I did.
So go drink your green smoothie, and if one day you eat a croissant…don’t sweat it, be kind to your body, and enjoy!