100% Abstinence Often Backfires

Caught your attention there, didn’t I? What I’m trying to say is that if you vow to never eat “junk food”, you will likely break into bad habits again. Consider another option – don’t even refer to foods as “junk food” because once you put it on the “I’m not allowed to have this” list, you will likely want it even more. When you are out with your friends and you say you “can’t have something” they will question your decision and you may start questioning it as well. Instead, move away from the “I’m allowed to have” and “I’m not allowed to have” lists. Turn to the “when, where, why, and what” decision.  

Eat a diet composed of about 70 to 80 percent nutrient-dense minimally-processed foods. To address your habits, think about what you are eating, why you decided to eat it (or why you want it), where you got it from, who you were with, etc And instead of saying you are never allowed to have it, consider the decision one piece at a time, If you had a bad day at work and went out for drinks with friends, is that really a bad decision? Or another example, if it is someone’s birthday in your office or in your family, what is really the bad part about participating in the event? Break the decision into smaller thoughts. All of this to say, cutting off entirely from certain foods or people, will only lead to breaking into bad habits once more in the near future. Here are a few other options: 1) Allow yourself to have a snack each day, but make it a certain portion size or a certain number of days each week. 2) Organize a weekly or biweekly event with friends or family. By knowing that the opportunity is in the future and is not “forbidden” you will look forward to it instead of feeling “cut off” 3) If you’re going to choose to do something, enjoy it! Don’t feel guilty… like, for example, THE SUPERBOWL! Enjoy it so you don’t feel cut off! Cutting yourself off from events and family/friends, will eventually result in “breaking the rules” and deciding in the near future that maybe this diet wasn’t a good idea anyway. Consider meals and snacks one at a time. Instead of cutting yourself off from everything you want, think about what are eating , when you are eating, and why you tend to go for that food.  If it’s worth it, don’t cut yourself off. If it isn’t, you know what you need to do.