Anyone who has traveled much knows there are many detours in life. Unexpected turns meet us every day. And if you’ve been in any major cities recently, you can’t miss the road construction.
Just as there are detours on real roads, there are detours in your nutritional journey which will pop up from time to time and delay your progress. Detours like:
- Holiday gatherings
- Hand-made pecan pie, that looks just like Mom’s
- Ethnic foods, like empanadas in Argentina or baklava in Turkey, hand-thrown pizza pie and fresh bruschetta in Italy
- Dozens of flavors of soft drinks from all over the world at the Coca-Cola Experience in Atlanta, Georgia
We all have different weaknesses and temptations. Some of us can eat pizza in Naples, and get right back on track the minute it’s gone. Some of us would never compromise our gluten-free diet in the first place. And, some of us fall headlong into days or weeks (or even months) of binge eating.
When that happens, how do we get back on track?
One thing that has helped me immeasurably, to get on track with my nutritional plan, and to stay on track, is to remove guilt and shame from the picture.
We make several food decisions every day. Some choices are better for our health than others. Should we feel guilty when we don’t do our best, or when we make a poor choice? No. We should simply try to make a better choice next time.
Do you feel guilty when you make a wrong turn on a literal road? No. So, why should you feel guilty when you make an unexpected turn on your nutritional path? Just get back on the main road as soon as you can, and continue your journey. You will feel better, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Being carried away by shame will not help you find your way back to the main road. Feeling guilty will not help you reach your goal.
Most people I know who restrict dietary carbohydrates, don’t consider their low-carb nutritional plan as a short-term tactic to lose weight, but have developed a low-carb lifestyle as a long-term strategy for optimal health and wellness. This lifestyle can be likened to the main road on our dietary journey.
If you have veered off your main road with holiday bingeing, it is time to find your way back to your nutritional super highway to greater health and wellness. Do it today.
Many psychologists and self-help gurus seem to agree that simple, brute-force willpower in the heat of temptation does not work over the long term. Once or twice you may resist eating a food that you really want. Perhaps you will resist a few more times to avoid embarrassment at your weigh-in. But eventually, you’ll eat the food you want.
What’s the secret then?
Change what you want.
As passionate as I am about my low-carb lifestyle, I don’t apologize for what I eat. I eat what I want to eat. No shame. No guilt.
If I find myself wanting to eat foods that are not acceptable on my low-carb eating plan, I certainly try to resist the temptation in the heat of the moment. But, I put my biggest effort into changing my desires, so the foods I want to eat are the very foods that support my nutritional plan.
How do I do that?
I study. I learn. I try to find or remember something that helps me change my mind about the offending food. Change my mind; change my behavior.
For example, when I saw photos and read articles about the pink slime that is found in fast food chicken nuggets, I completely lost my desire for them. Those chicken nuggets used to be a temptation for me. Now avoiding them is as easy as not drinking gasoline. They just sound yucky.
After my first visit to Italy, when I found myself wanting all sorts of pizza and pasta, I read Wheat Belly, by William Davis M.D., to help me remember the reasons I removed wheat from my diet in the first place.
Good nutritional information is like a roadmap to help me find my way back to the main road.
I recently started reading Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter, M.D. I am learning, for the first time, about some staggering neurological consequences of wheat consumption, such as a significant increase in the chance of developing neurological disorders like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
My emotional response to this information makes me want to eat wheat less and less. If I believe what Dr. Perlmutter says in Grain Brain, it will soon be very easy to say, “No, thank you!” to wheat, as each bite begins to feel like a fencing match with dementia. On guard!
On the positive side, I read low carb cook books. I look for good foods to eat that will be deeply satisfying. I talk to my friends who are excited about their Paleo diets. I read success stories and look at before and after pictures.
When I make better food choices, I feel better. Mental clarity, optimism and abundant energy are mine. Feeling great reinforces good food choices.
And, when I make poor food choices, I make note of how crummy I feel afterward. I suffer with indigestion, poor sleep and mental fog. Feeling guilty only makes it harder for to me to think clearly and make smart choices the next time I eat.
Whatever flavor of low carb you have chosen, guilty feelings over indulgences are not helpful.
What is helpful is to get back on track as soon as you can. It is helpful is to know what foods make you feel great and healthy, and what foods make you feel like a brain-dead slug. Educate and re-educate yourself about what foods are the best choices for your long-term, optimal health, and make your best effort to love those foods. Savor every bite. Enjoy feeling great.
Eating LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) is my long-term strategy for optimal health. The main issue is to be on the right road, and to move in the right direction. So, I don’t waste any energy feeling guilty over temporary setbacks. I rejoice that I have found a nutritional program that improves my health and makes me feel good when I follow it. And when I find I’ve taken a detour, I get back to my LCHF super highway as quickly as I can. It’s the road that will take me where I really want to go.
If you’ve taken a wild turn, let today be the day you get back on track. Educate yourself. Feel great about your food choices. Leave the detour behind you and get back on the path you’ve mapped out. You’ll feel better.
More Low Carb Recipes & Articles by Ramona Denton