Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Win the Weight Loss Game by Focusing on What You CAN Eat vs What You Can't

A debate with a friend turned heated recently.  He is trying to lose weight and get in "fighting shape".  He is incorporating a low calorie weight loss plan that is, frankly, bland and boring.  He also laments the fact that he can't have beer, breads, ice cream, the chips he loves, blah blah blah blah. 

Ice cream chocolate chip sandwich/Courtesy: Bon Appetite
I countered with two points: First, you CAN have those things once in a while as a part of a well-balanced diet.  He thought he had to eliminate them completely.  Wrong.  Think once a week, not twice a day.

Then I presented him with this: "look at the great food you CAN have.  Think fish, chicken, lean steak, sweet potatoes, greens of all sorts, peppers, fresh berries, red wine (HELLO), dark chocolate, blah blah blah blah." 

He couldn't get over the fact that he CAN'T have certain food items.  I maintain that if you focus on what you CAN have while you're trying to drop weight or stay within a healthy range, it will make the sometimes taxing mental process of trying to win the weight loss game more bearable.

Does this sound familiar: "Crap, no 4pm cookie, no afterwork beers, no pretzels during the Rangers game!  This sucks!!!!"

Yeah, it does suck.  The thought of what you can't consume can consume you so much so that you end stuffing your face with all the stuff you swore off eating.

The best, healthiest smoothie ever.
Instead, approach your day this way:
That's not some pollyanna way of thinking.  It works.  Succeeding at eating a healthy diet is as much about mental execution as it is the physical.  We know the right foods to eat.  It's just hard to do it.  Get your mind focused on what you CAN eat instead of what you CAN'T and you WILL succeed.

Promise. 

Looking for a great way to eat a bounty of fresh produce, wine, chocolate, nuts and more, try the Mediterranean "diet".  I hate using the word "diet" because it's much more of an approach to eating that is wonderfully balanced and so inclusive you won't feel like you're depriving yourself of anything.
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