Is your Mindset Making You Fat?
Check out this pizza my daughter and I ate this weekend! ?
I don’t usually “waste my calories” on fatty cheese (I prefer starchy carbs like bread, pasta, and flour tortillas!), but my little one LOVES pizza, and sometimes you just gotta take one for the team.
It was Mom-Daughter-Date-Night after all.
Good Foods vs Bad Foods
I’m a flexible dieter* and mindful eater, so I don’t believe in bad foods vs good foods. Neither does Ayurveda! And if you read my last article, you know how much I value the 500 year old teachings of this mind-body science.
Ayurveda helped me to finally relinquish that harmful good food vs bad food mindset once and for all.
According to Ayurveda, there is really no such thing as a good food or a bad food. Just foods that are more “agreeable” with us at any particular time…depending on factors such as our body type, the season, a specific ailment we might be experiencing, and so on.
In Ayurveda, everything – fruits, veggies, meat, sweets, exercise, sex, sleep – is all about balance. Even too much of a “good” thing can potentially pose problems.
And what’s good for one, is not good for all.
For example, fresh tomatoes may nourish you, but aggravate me. And in fact, most of the time they do!
As someone who’s bumped up against several extremes in diet, fitness, and lifestyle – as a consumer, a athlete, and a coach – I am eternally grateful to Ayurveda for bringing better balance to my life.
These days, when I decide to eat something like pizza or ice-cream, or any other commonly considered “bad” food, I consciously decide to savor every bite…to eat slowly and mindfully so I don’t over-eat, and to make it an enjoyable nourishing experience, NOT a guilt-filled experience, like I would have in the past.
Your body hears everything your mind tells it.
Mindset is a real thing. It’s not just some hocus-pocus catch phrase.
You are what you believe you are… even more than you are what you eat.
“You are what you think you are” applies to all manners of thinking; even your beliefs about food.
Bottom line: If you’re eating a food and believing that it’s bad for you and that it’s going to cause you problems or make you “fat”, or that YOU’RE bad for eating it, then that’s exactly the experience you and your body will have!
Yes, you got it…it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’ve seen this play out time and time again with clients and friends, and even myself.
You’re out to dinner and you’re craving a piece chocolate cake.
But you never have dessert… because dessert is fattening!
Well.. you rarely have dessert. And when you do have it you feel really bad about it…because you know it’s “bad” for you. It’s got sugar in it…it’s got dairy in it. And if you eat too much of it you just might die.
Or worse…you might get fat!!
You tell the waiter you’ll pass. “I don’t need it!” you say.
You’ll have black coffee instead.
Then everyone else’s dessert arrives.
Your kid got the chocolate cake. That little brat!
You begin salivating.
You’ve been soooo good for weeks… a month even. You haven’t had ANY sweets!
You hadn’t really wanted any. But today… you don’t know what’s gotten into you, you’re just dying for some cake. Any cake!
You look down at your coffee. This just ain’t cutting it.
So you call the waiter over. You begrudgingly order that slice of cake.
When he walks away to put the order in, it begins…
You tell everyone at the table how weak you are, how much you’re going to regret it…how bad you’re going to feel after you eat it.
And guess what.
You do feel bad about it!
You do regret it.
You wish you never had it, and your whole night is ruined.
Does this sound like you?
Do you find yourself feeling guilty after you eat a piece of cake, a cookie, or your favorite ice-cream. Do you punish yourself by doing an extra workout, by criticizing your body, or by restricting your calories the next day?
I used to. And it sucked!
You know it sucks too! Because it’s a vicious cycle that never ends.
Eat a food I like…
Feel bad about it…
Beat myself up about it…
Feel even worse about it….
Tell myself I have no willpower….
Punish myself some more…
Repeat the whole cycle the next week or next month when I do it again… (perfect example of the Tricky Triad I teach in my Get SET method)
Because you will do it again!
Because cravings are real. And because we are meant to satisfy our cravings…in ways that nourish and support our body’s needs, not in ways that are harmful, like binging or purging.
You CAN have your cake and eat it too!
Here’s the smackdown you’ve been waiting for!
Don’t believe the hype.
And get a fu*king grip!
A little sugar every now and then won’t kill you, or make you fat!
A few extra carbs or fatty cheese here and there won’t either.
But you know what. It might just make you feel GOOD!
And I don’t mean just good in the moment (although that matters too); I mean it might just make you feel better, less on edge, more relaxed.
Because you did it.
You satisfied that itch…and possibly killed off any future cravings that would have come up later that week.
You put out the fire.
Now listen, I’m not advocating complete caution to the wind when you eat. I’m not saying what you eat doesn’t matter at all, and has no bearing on your health or your figure.
Of course what you eat matters (to the degree we covered above). But so does what you think about what you eat.
And how you eat.
And why eat.
And how much you eat.
It all matters!
So stop getting hung up on good foods vs bad foods.
They don’t exist.
Have your cake! EAT YOUR CAKE.
Enjoy your cake.
Appreciate your cake.
And eat it mindfully
Food is energy. When you eat any food, visualize your body utilizing the energy from each delicious bite.
Imagine it digesting at the perfect pace, into the perfect place, allowing your body to absorb just as much of it as it needs, and expelling whatever it doesn’t need.
And listen to your body. It will tell you when it’s had enough.
And when you’re done with it, give thanks and move on…without giving it any more of your attention.
Now I’d like to hear from you.
What are your take-aways from this article? Does any of this resonate with you? Are there any food mindsets that you feel have been holding you back, or that you’d like to get rid of? Share them here, so we can all heal together.
*Being a flexible dieter simply means I monitor the amount of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) I eat on a daily basis, as opposed to simply counting calories or sticking to certain foods and strictly avoiding others. But the most important rule I follow is, mindful eating. That rule trumps all. This is also the approach I take with my health clients. And they love it! I’m writing an article about this and will be sharing it here soon. So if you want to know more, stay tuned.