One important approach to lose weight is to think about what you say to yourself about food and eating. Most people think of losing weight as an uncomfortable and arduous task. If that is your perspective on the future you probably are not opening your arms to enjoy a new experiences, one that is healthy and good for you.
Focusing on denying yourself the food you really want to eat and anticipating hunger and discomfort is not the way to motivate yourself to change your eating habits. The trick is to starting thinking of healthy foods and eating in new ways.
For example, notice that I used the phrase “healthy foods and eating” instead of “dieting”.
I avoid the word “diet” and “dieting” for two reasons.
First, it’s not really accurate. We are always on a diet. Whatever we are eating is our diet. If you eat mostly vegetables you are on a vegetable diet. If you eat noting but ice cream you are on an ice cream diet. Your diet can be healthy, unhealthy or something in between, but you are always on some sort of diet.
Once you start thinking about a diet this way it opens the door to making changes to your diet. You can change what you eat, when you eat, and how often you eat. That is far more complex than thinking,
“I’m on a diet.”
That phrase brings up the second reason I don’t like using the word diet. For most people the word “diet” has negative connotations. Diets are restrictive. They require us to eat foods we don’t like and we have to stay hungry all the time.
Those are not the kinds of images about healthy eating that tend to motivate people.
Instead of inviting that kind of imagery, forget the word “diet” or “dieting” and avoid the words or thought “I am on a diet” or “I have to go on a diet”. Remind yourself that you are always on a diet – your diet is whatever you are eating. You can have a healthy diet or an unhealthy diet.
Instead of “diet” I prefer to think of what I eat as either “healthy eating” or “unhealthy eating”. Simply by changing the word I use to describe what I’m eating makes two big changes.
First, it puts me in control. I can eat whatever I want any time I want it. I am not at the mercy of a “diet” probably created by someone else that I have to follow without fail. It’s no longer a matter of obedience, conformity and compliance.
I make decisions about what I eat throughout the day, guided by my desire to keep my weight down and keep my body healthy.
Second, an episode of unhealthy eating is just that – one event that is something less than optimal. It’s not “failing at my diet” or “going off my diet”. Instead, it is just a small change to what I normally eat.
So, forget dieting and think about eating healthy. It’s such a small change, but has enormous power in changing your eating behaviors.