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Dieting? Always Remember This
A quick reminder of an important fact: life isn’t supposed to be miserable. Sometimes it is, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you have to make a hard sacrifice to reach a goal, and that’s worth it. But any action that sucks all the joy out of life is probably not a good thing and probably not something you are going to be able to do for long.
That’s especially true when it comes to your diet. A diet shouldn’t make your life completely miserable. It isn’t about starving yourself. It isn’t about cutting out all your favorite foods. It isn’t about never eating ice cream or having a piece of cake on your birthday. If that’s what you think, you’re never going to follow it long enough to make a lasting difference.
The trick it to find a place where you can be happy and satisfied. Whether you are intentionally dieting or not, food is a huge part of your life. What you eat goes a long way in determining not only what your body looks and feels like, but also your mood. You spend a ton of time thinking about food, shopping for good, preparing food, eating food. It’s one of the most enjoyable activities we do on any given day, and it’s also often one of the most social, a way to serve and connect with our friends and family.
In other words, it’s important. So it’s important to do it well. You need to enjoy food. You can’t afford to resent it.
Start with a diet that is a little healthier than what you are doing now but still fills you up. Cut out that extra snack. Substitute one dish for a healthier alternative. Add a salad or some veggies to your dinner. You may have to start small. It will be hard at first, but if its still hard after a month or two, try something else. Any task requires some discipline, but a diet shouldn’t be a battle. No one loves their job all the time, but if every day at the office is a struggle just to make to 5 o’clock, you might want to consider a new profession.
So go ahead, allow yourself to have things you enjoy. It’s a good idea to cut out sugary drinks, but if that Coke is what gets you through the day, have one when you need it (or try the zero-calorie version) and make your sacrifices elsewhere. If fast food is your love, try to limit it to once a week rather than swear it off completely.
A piece of a cake at a birthday party or pecan pie at thanksgiving isn’t going to to kill your figure. Neither will taking your kids to ice cream every once in a while, but it will be good for your family and your soul. Just don’t reach for the desert after every meal. It will be easier to hold back on Tuesday night when you know you can have a treat on the right occasion.
Keep in mind that your tastes can change. I quit sweet tea for unsweet, and now I enjoy it just as much. I used to hate yogurt, much less non-fat greek yogurt, but now I look forward to my daily bowl of it. I can’t claim a salad is a delicious as a plate of nachos, but I genuinely enjoy a good salad (dear God, who have I become), and I can still have nachos sometimes too.
Try new things. Find the ones you like. Eat enough so that you are neither too hungry nor stuffed. All yourself some favorites in moderation. Don’t allow food to ruin your time with family and friends. Celebrate the big things in life. The small things, too. That’s the only dieting advice you need. You may not be ripped like a cgi-enhanced movie stars or a professional athlete, but you’ll be healthier, both physically and emotionally, than you’ve ever been before.