Stop restricting food. Start adding…diet pills. Kidding! That is NOT how we do things here. If you’re looking for a quick fix or magic pill solution, I’m not your girl. But if you want to learn about a real approach without the gimmicks, keep reading.
If you’re anything like me-many-years-ago-when-I-went-on-my-early-attempts-to-lose-weight, you may be following the general popular advice – to restrict, cut back, and/or eat less. After all, we live in a world where society tells us that the solution is ALL about what NOT to eat. Let’s discuss…
Please note: It’s impossible for me to write a health article that addresses every single person’s health journey. So if you need to restrict for medical purposes (like…you have Celiacs and need to restrict gluten) or if restricting is a positive approach for you and your highest good, etc. then please do you. This article is more aimed for those stuck in an unhelpful / harmful restrictive eating patterns who are unhappy and want to know about other options.
- Eat less calories
- Don’t eat carbs – they’re “bad” for you
- Wait, no, fats are “bad” for you
- Oh and also sugar is “bad” for you
- Okay, just eat less food
- And, and and…
- No, no, no…
Let me tell you, I tried restricting my food for YEARS. All it did was cause me to weight cycle, yo yo diet, and strengthen my love of fast food. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was dealing with “restrictive eating”. In my case, it wasn’t a full on eating disorder, but it was certainly disordered eating. And it was definitely NOT healthy.
Thankfully, my life and health changed dramatically for the better when I had one simple epiphany:
Instead of focusing on what NOT to eat, I’d focus on what TO eat!
- From: tightly controlling what I was eating with a constant focus on how I could reduce the amount of food I was consuming and restrict to a ridiculously limited list of acceptable foods (which I eventually got frustrated with and dropped out of temporarily only for me to cycle through again)
- To: eating whatever I wanted with a focus on adding healthy foods (and habits) into my diet and life overall
This new approach had me feeling light, free, and empowered.
It was so refreshing to take back control of my health in a way that actually felt good.
And guess what? My new approach worked! I not only lost weight, I improved my confidence, stress levels, and happiness. And this very same approach helped me maintain my weight loss for over 10 years (and counting)!
So, you may be wondering what I added.
Want to Lose Weight? Stop Restricting Food. Start Adding THIS.
Instead of restricting food, I added this:
- Health Promoting Behaviors
What are health promoting behaviors?
Health promoting behaviors are like healthy habits that have a positive impact on your health. Basically I focused on *adding* healthy foods to what I was eating and *adding* other healthy habits into my life.
I still ate pizza, but I also ate broccoli. I still lived my life, but I also added in joyful exercise.
I’ll be sharing more on this in a separate blog post because there’s a lot I want to share with you here.
But the main takeaway is to focus on *adding*.
It’s a simple mindset shift that is surprisingly powerful and makes reclaiming your health much easier. Plus, it’s more fun!
Keep It Easy
To help things, I took it suuuuuper easy.
Instead of making dramatic changes to my diet and life, I focused on making small, incremental steps in the right direction.
Like I said, I was DONE with the days of saying, “I’m NEVER eating french fries again!” only to restrict fries for approximately one week and then eat even more fries the next. And yes, I really did try this once upon a time. #doh
Instead, I focused on adding little things here and there.
It’s easy to get excited and go overboard, even with adding in the good stuff. But I’m telling you adding + small steps = magic.
Gone was the stress of overanalyzing everything I ate and how much was too much. Gone was the pain of dealing with my hunger and thinking that it was normal to feel it and ignore it.
Whilst I’m not a registered dietitian, I can say from a change management POV that this approach is SO much better for creating change that is do-able, achievable, and ACTUALLY lasts.
Focusing on *adding* and taking *small steps* is a great way to build my favorite thing – powerful positive momentum.
The key here is all about a *mindset shift*.
Say it with me: stop restricting, start adding.
Instead of focusing on restricting, focusing on *adding* health promoting behaviors can be powerfully transformational and help you with achieving your health goals, whether you’re interested in weight loss or improving your health at a holistic level. Remember to take small steps, and let magic happen.
Want Personalized Support?
If you like my approach of adding instead of restricting, you may enjoy my Health Coaching Services.
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Thank you for stopping by and reading my post!