We live in a world of food temptation. There's no denying that. However, you can purposefully 'make your world smaller' to help yourself manage things.
In the same way we 'unfollow' people on Facebook or Twitter, you can 'unfollow' certain foods that don't serve your health goals at this time.
One of the most freeing things I ever did was eliminate snacking. I decided to do this to simply my eating plan. In doing this, I had to make sure each meal I took in was complete and fulfilling so that it would last me until the next meal. However, I was rewarded by a simpler life.
Part of the reasons why doing things like adopting a gluten free diet or becoming vegan work is because they eliminate many food choices. Think back to the caveman days. Were there 1000 food items available at any given time like we have now? No. All that was available was what was around in the immediate environment. Having too many choices can be overwhelming and stressful.
Furthermore--because sweet foods like fruit were only available rarely--the body was biologically wired to overeat them due to their scarcity. Newsflash: the body is still wired that way! But, food is no longer scarce for most of us.
I don't recommend extremely rigid dieting and food lists, but have a framework for yourself. You'll find things so much simpler.
*For breakfast I have a protein shake with either vanilla or chocolate protein, either pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and either craisins or banana. I make the shake with coconut milk. If I will be very active that day I add oatmeal.
*For lunch I have either beef or tuna, with some kind of vegetable. I also have either pistachios or almonds and an apple. If I will be very active that day I add basmati rice. I try to make lunch my largest meal. In reality, quite often my dinner is larger, but that's another story.
*For dinner I do vary it a bit more, but I go for a protein source such as eggs or turkey, either red or sweet potato, and more veggies. I have some dark chocolate as well most nights. Sometimes I add bread on the side if I was very active.
*If I go many hours between meals due to scheduling reasons, I will snack. Usually on fruit or a protein bar.
*I sip on green tea, ginger tea, and homemade bone broth throughout the day, and treat myself to a stevia soda or two most days. I also start my day with black coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg.
*if I am eating out, I do my best to replicate my plan. I think that this is key. Don’t treat eating out as different from eating at home. Obviously, it's ok to splurge once in awhile, But most people tend to stretch the definition of 'once in awhile.'
*If I have something off plan, I just move on at the next meal. No compensating. No feeling guilty. Special foods can be included--if they are a rare occasion, they won't affect your results much, if at all. Sometimes they even boost your metabolism since it shakes things up.
The key is to find foods you enjoy and look forward to, but limit the variety so that it doesn't trigger that part deep in your brain that leads you to overindulge beyond healthy limits. Think that you like the food on an '8' out of '10.' 10 foods are tough if you are trying to control your eating, because they can be so tempting it is difficult to stop when your body is full. Make it something that you comfortably look forward to but you don't obsess over. As you build up your discipline muscle, you can begin eating foods that are a '9' or a '10.' But again, eat them often, if possible (I know, it can be difficult to be able eat lobster every day. That's definitely one of my '10' foods).
Have you ever made a decision about something in your life and you just committed and never looked back? I bet you have. "I'm moving!" or "I am breaking up with you" or "I'm quitting (whatever it is)." Treat your food like that when you come up with your own personal 'menu.' Most people do well with 'either this, or that.' A choice between 2 or 3 things is more than enough in our busy lives. You can certainly vary spices and seasonings, etc but try to keep focused on the same 'staples' with your calorie-supplying foods. And if you get tremendously bored after awhile, you can certainly change your 'menu.' Just not every day :)
Now, some people will find this article a bit harsh, or depressing in some way. That's not what it's meant to be. It's meant for people for whom their current way of eating is causing some distress or unhappiness. It's meant to liberate people who feel like they might be addicted to certain foods or who find that their eating habits are detracting from their life. It's meant for people who want to try something different to get a different result. I used to have a lot of trouble with using food for what it's meant for. By following these guidelines I have freed myself from that. Sometimes rules can actually be freeing.
We can only focus on and entertain so many ideas at a time. Try simplifying your food for a little while and see how much extra time and energy is freed up in your life. And more time and energy means you will be better equipped to tackle everything you need to tackle in your life and succeed!
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