What do you love to eat? It’s the most important nutritional question you can ask yourself. Think about it for a minute…
The reason most diets fail over time is that people fail to stick to them. That sounds obvious but it is what derails most people. Diets are about restricting foods and those foods are typically the very foods you enjoy the most. So after a while your “diet” feels like deprivation. The only way to be consistent in the face of deprivation is sheer willpower. No matter how good you are at denying yourself your favorite foods, willpower will eventually falter and you will revert back to your old ways (It’s not a lack of moral fiber, it’s what happens to anyone without a long term plan). To put it another way:
Diet = Deprivation = Inconsistency = Eventual Failure
Consider this instead:
Nutritional Strategy = Satisfaction = Consistency = Long Term Success
Back to the initial question, what do you love to eat? What did you answer? It is likely that some of the foods on your list aren’t necessarily the healthiest foods available. That’s OK. Any food can be enjoyed occasionally and still be part of a healthy overall diet. But how about the foods that are healthy? What is healthy you ask? Good question. Generally, foods can be considered healthy if they are minimally processed, high in nutrients, preferably organic, and low in refined carbohydrates. Some examples: whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein such beef chicken and pork, full fat dairy such a cheese, milk and eggs, healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado.
You can minimize (or eliminate) the unhealthy foods and maximize the good stuff without feeling deprived! The key to success is discovering what healthy foods you love and then incorporating them into your diet.
The big hurdle is that you, like most people, have become accustomed to high levels of chemicals in your food supply such as artificial flavors, preservatives, food dyes, refined sugars and other “additives” that affect your ability to taste your food and your metabolism’s ability to regulate hunger.
Don’t take my word for it; try a little experiment. All you have to do is remove, as much as possible, foods that are highly processed (a lot of unrecognizable ingredients) or high in added carbohydrates (sugar and white flour). By removing these foods, you will start to reset your taste buds and your metabolism. Once you have started this reset, you will truly be able to discover what you love. You will experience depth and complexity in everyday foods that you can’t remember having ever tasted before.
Get creative, try a new recipe, pick up a new kind of veggie, and sample as many new healthy things as you can think of. You will be amazed at how delicious healthy foods can taste! A dried apricot will taste like candy, a fresh tomato will taste like a burst of sunlight, a lean cut of beef will satisfy on a whole new level… Don’t take my word for it… try it! Go on an adventure. Discover what you (and your body) love to eat!