I have a family member of mine, I won’t say any names, who is always yo-yo dieting. She has major fluctuations in her weight because of her on-again, off-again relationship with dieting.
One reason why her “dieting” always fails, and she ends up gaining all of the weight back is because she doesn’t really change how she relates to food. She still has the flawed mindset of “I need to diet to be healthy” and that dieting consists of mostly baked fish and plain jane salads. Somewhere along the way, she adopted and is married to the notion that healthy eating is all about salads and baked fish/chicken. Boring!
I see this in a lot of women. Their diet is doomed from the start because they get into terrible food ruts. They eat the same thing day in and day out. They don’t really explore new foods and increase their personal knowledge of nutrition. They remain disconnected from their bodies and don’t really fully understand how to nourish themselves with the best quality foods available.
This leads to giving up on the “diet” and going back to consuming unhealthy foods.
I’m here to say that, you can eat healthy and eat more than salad and baked fish/chicken. In fact, the more variety of vegetables and fruits you eat, the more nutritious and delicious.
I too was in a terrible food rut. I moved out the house at the age of 18 to Georgia to attend college. I had no clue how to cook. I ate nothing but microwave meals and bagged salads for the first semester. I gained about 15 lbs and had trouble trying to lose it. I realized I needed to lay off the microwave meals. I resolved to cook. However, I had no clue how to cook. The only meals I could make forever were spaghetti, baked chicken and turkey burgers. Sad, right?
To this day, I remember my sophomore year meeting a colleague while working as an intern.
I was used to eating salads that looked like this. It’s like I had some unwritten rule or understanding in my mind that salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and crutons. I promise this is all I knew to be true….
But, when she showed up to work with a salad that looked like this. I asked her “Oh, my GOD. That looks beautiful. Where did you get that from? Can you take me there? I look back at how naïve and sheltered I may have appeared. But, I was so in awe of the salad, I couldn’t contain my immediate reaction to the beautiful sight.
I eventually made it around to that restaurant and I thoroughly enjoyed my vegetarian meal there. I learned that there are not “rules” to making salads and there are no “rules” to eating healthy. Soon after, I even learned that you could put grapes in a salad and no salad police would come and arrest you...
It has been my observation that most people that eat healthily, namely vegetarians, actually eat more of a variety that “mainstream eaters.” I think that people hyper-focus on what you’re “giving up” to become vegetarian or embrace a mostly plant based diet without really focusing on what you “adding” to your repertoire. Think about it. How many animals do humans really eat – cows, chickens, turkey, fish. If you’re fancy – duck, lamb or bison. Bust seriously, the number is small. If you compare that to the hundreds and hundreds of fruits and vegetables available for consumption, the amount of “animals” being given up is minimal.
I think back to why I would make such boring salads and why I had such a narrow idea of what is considered healthy eating. A lot had to do with ignorance. And, I think we can get into ruts. I’ve noticed while I’m grocery shopping that some people are afraid to try new things. They are even afraid to go into the fruits and vegetable section of the grocery store. I’ve had great success with being a tour guide to healthy shopping and exploring new healthy foods.
Food ruts are the number one culprit for reverting to unhealthy foods.
If you adopt a curious and adventurous attitude towards food, you will discover new recipes and a variety of foods that keep you motivated to stay healthy.
A basic strategy go embracing healthy cooking is to find the healthy version of whatever “bad” foods you like. For example, you can make macaroni and cheese, burgers, pizza and fries in a healthy way.
Pick your favorite fruit or vegeble. Just like the saying, there’s an app for that, goes… There’s a salad for that. Try it. Do a search for bell pepper salad, avocado salad, cucumber salad, beet salad, celery salad, papaya salad, black bean salad, lentil salad….?
Did you come up with some cool recipe ideas?
Over time, you will totally recuperate your palate and acquire an appreciation for a variety of high quality foods. You can learn step-by-step how to ditch the diet for good, and embrace a healthy lifestyle that will sustain your vitality.
What’s your favorite “non-conventional salad?”
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Sis. Freya is the creator of RootMama. She loves encouraging women to achieve greatness.
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