With the internet and social media booming, I feel like my Facebook and Instagram accounts are inundated with messages about diet and exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE advocate for the importance of both of these things for general health. But as I stopped and started really looking at the messages, I started to pause and tilt my head.
There are a TON of positive messages about exercise. Women and men who are pushing towards goals whether that be body composition wise or performance wise. This is amazing.
When I started looking at the pictures and messages I saw about diets, and talked to more people about it, I saw more of a disconnect. There is definitely a NEGATIVE spin to the word diet.
In our culture, there seems to be this negative connotation to the word diet. Diet means sacrifice. It means salads. It means hunger.
Most of the changes we need to make have to come from the food realm when it comes to long-standing and sustainable weight loss.
But this idea that by eating well we are somehow depriving ourselves, seems so off-base! I started to look at my own self-talk. What were the words and phrases that I was saying to myself? Did I feel like I was being some sort of martyr for my fitness and health goals?
I was the person who was losing weight for a goal but was talking to myself as if I was a saint for doing it. I was making the sacrifices I needed to make to get to my goals.
The thing is… eating for health shouldn’t be seen as a SACRIFICE. I’m not DEPRIVING myself in any way.
I realized that I needed a major change in MINDSET!
Right now, Nick and I are training for a powerlifting meet in September. Training at this intensity means you need to fuel your body to make sure you stay well fuelled and injury free. I realized that when I ate properly, hydrated and moderated alcohol, I felt better. I feel stronger. My training feels easier. When I’m not eating well, everything seems a bit harder. Recovery feels longer.
It becomes an A+B= C. The formula that is going to set me up for success.
It is also the formula that is going to set me up for better health in the long-term. More and more research is coming out supporting how the food we put into our bodies determines our health later in life. The same is true for exercise.
My mindset is now that I’m not depriving myself of anything. If I want the cake, then I eat the cake! But I also recognize that the amazing healthy recipes that Nick and I make each week are making our bodies feel good. I feel strong and healthy. Body composition wise I’m in a place where I can perform the way I want to.
These shifts take work. Especially when you have a buffet table of sweets in front of us! I think it’s an important shift though. If we think that when we are on a “diet” that we are depriving ourselves of what we want, we set ourselves up for failure. Deprivation is not a long-term health strategy. Making the choice to eat high-quality foods to support your physical and performance-related goals as well as long-term health is a better line of thought.
There are some amazing mindfulness courses and podcasts that address this very shift in mentality if you need a bit of a boost.
How do you address your daily nutrition? Do you feel like you’re constantly flexing your willpower to avoid the foods you’re “depriving” yourself of? OR are you making conscious choices to eat well because you know it makes you feel better?