A Balanced New Year!

Hey guys!! Happy January!  The holidays are sadly behind us and we’ve all moved onto our New Year’s Resolutions. If you are like most people, January 1st marks a new beginning… a fresh start… the opportunity to enthusiastically eat healthy and be happy!  But the problem with most New Year’s Resolutions (specifically health related ones) is that they are simply too strict.  Why do you think so many of us fail by February?  Think about it, we merrily gorge ourselves throughout the holiday season insisting that on January 1st we will automatically be transformed into brand new, completely self-disciplined, calorie-conscious, health-food fans with the willpower to say “NO” to our favorite treats 100% of the time.  Who are we kidding?  This mindset alone sets us up for failure!

I say this because I know from experience.  When people see pictures of the ‘old me’ they do NOT see a health-food fan at all.  They are surprised by the way I used to look, but honestly, they’d be even more surprised by my former eating habits.  The problem with dieting is that it creates a cycle- a VERY hard cycle to break.  It goes like this… you swear off your favorite, unhealthy treats, and you do okay… for a while.  You most likely begin your new DIET, which also means you severely limit your calories.  Sure, you’ll lose weight fast, but it will probably find its way back! 

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that a healthy diet is a balanced diet.  My healthy diet includes plenty of spinach, green veggies, sweet potatoes, fresh fruits, detox smoothies, lean turkey, flax seed crackers, 90% dark chocolate, nutrition bars, salmon, grilled chicken, carrots, hummus, Greek yogurt, avocados and fresh salsa!  But a healthy diet (for me, at least) also includes raspberry chocolate froyo, peanut butter chunk ice cream, salted caramel chocolate, peppermint bark and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  

You see, I’ve tried plenty of diets.  I’ve tried low carb, low calorie, low fat, high protein, vegan, vegetarian, no sugar, no dairy… no FUN!!  I find the best diet for me is one where I can eat anything in moderation.  Of course, getting to the point were you can stop after just a few bites of a decadent piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream… well, that’s a process… but once you get there, you can eat whatever you want and still actually lose weight

What??  How can someone who writes a nutrition blog claim that ice cream and chocolate are part of a healthy diet?  Here’s how.  I genuinely believe that the secret to a healthy diet is a healthy mindset about food.  Food is just food.  No more no less.  Food is an amazing blessing that should be enjoyed.  But in order to eat unhealthy foods, I need to be sure that they only make up a small percentage of my diet.  For example, if I tell myself I CAN’T eat something, I crave it.   Sure, I’ll be able to resist it for a while, but eventually I’ll cave and I’ll end up eating too much of it, beyond the point of enjoyment.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think that a break from refined sugar and processed foods would do everyone good… but you can’t be too strict about it.  

Here’s what I’m trying to say… This New Year’s, don’t let your resolution to lose weight, or even just be healthy, get too strict.  Everyone needs a little wiggle room.  My advice?  Aim to eat healthy nourishing foods 80-90% of the time, and give your body (and mind) a break 10-20% of the time.  Eat healthy all day?  What’s wrong with a scoop of all natural chocolate ice cream after dinner?  Don’t refuse to eat your favorite foods only to end up binging on them later… why not just enjoy them in moderation? 

What about you?  Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?  How do you feel about the principle ‘All Things in Moderation?’


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