Healthy Eating vs. Real Life: What’s Your Strategy?

One of the most difficult aspects of starting a healthy eating plan is figuring out how to balance healthy eating with real life. Ideally, we would like to only eat healthy foods all the time.. but the reality is that there are lots of unhealthy foods available to tempt you wherever you go.

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know that I strive to eat mostly whole foods: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains. All of the reading and studying that I have done has led me to eat this whole foods diet, but guess what…

I’m not perfect with my eating!

For this reason, I don’t like to label myself with a title describing how I eat. For example, I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I don’t like to label myself a vegetarian because I choose to eat meat sometimes… I had some on Saturday, and it was delicious (I also had some blueberry pie and ice cream with the meal, which is why I don’t like to tell people that I never eat sugar)! I don’t like to label myself as a raw foodie because even though I try to eat a high amount of raw foods I also eat cooked foods along with the raw foods.

Instead of trying to find the perfect definition for my eating habits, I choose to tell people that I focus my eating on healthy foods. The bulk of my food intake is whole foods, and I am always striving to provide my body with the nutrients that it needs.

The truth is that we all “cheat” sometimes and eat something that isn’t in line with what we should be eating. But, the most important aspect of deviating from your eating plan is this: be sure that you enjoy the moment, and then be ready to get back on track immediately after.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are on a “diet” is their attitude about “cheating.” For example, they go to bed with good intentions to eat only good foods the next day, but something throws off their eating plan and they find themselves straying from their original goal. The automatic reaction at this point is to feel guilty about the food choices they made, and then rationalize by thinking “Oh well, I’ll enjoy the cheat foods for the rest of the day and start fresh tomorrow morning.”

I hate that our society has built so much guilt around eating certain types of foods.

Yes, I completely agree that they are not good to eat. Junk food will not give your body the nutrition that it needs and those types of foods do not contribute to your health in any way, many of the junk foods can actually harm your body because they contain chemicals and highly processed ingredients that are hard on your digestive system. But, I don’t think that so much guilt should be associated with eating those foods… as long as you aren’t eating them on a regular basis.

Instead of focusing on the guilt, I prefer to look at the positive aspects of eating, and feel great about the good food choices that I am making. Most of the time I choose to eat whole foods, and I feel amazing when I do. Sometimes, I let my hair down a little bit and choose to eat foods that aren’t part of my eating plan. When this happens, I focus on savoring the moment and enjoying the food, because let’s be honest… the unhealthy foods can taste amazing! I have found that I can enjoy a few bites, or even an occassional meal and then get right back on track again.

I refuse to let the guilt drive my eating habits, and I refuse to let myself feel guilty over eating food that is unhealthy.

There are many tasty, unhealthy foods to enjoy, and choosing to eat them on an occasional basis does not mean that I am a “bad” person or that I should feel guilty over my choice. Instead, I recognize that I can make food choices all throughout the day, and 1 junk food choice is ok if you compare it to the 30 or 50 other great food choices that I recently made.

My eating goal is not to eat perfectly all of the time, instead I have set my goal to eat whole foods MOST of the time. As long as I am supplying my body with mostly nutrient dense, whole foods, then I don’t punish myself for choosing an unhealthy treat occasionally.

Be careful about letting yourself eat unhealthy everyday, because even 1 poor meal choice can create the bad habit of choosing unhealthy foods every single day. Try to make healthy eating choices 95% of the time, and don’t beat yourself up over the 5% choices. Work to create the habit of making your default food choices healthy, and only eat the junk food on a rare occasion.

Now, the point of this blog post is not to make you feel like it is ok to rationalize your way into eating junk food everyday. Instead, my goal is to help you to focus more on the positive aspects of eating healthy foods… congratulate yourself for the healthy choices that you make. And instead of feeling guilty next time you slip up, you should enjoy the food that you are eating and then recommit to eating better immediately. Work to lessen the amount of junk food you eat, and increase the amount of healthy foods that you eat, and you will be able to create a healthier lifestyle.

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Hopefully you enjoyed this blog post! If you found the information useful, please take a moment to share it with others through Twitter or Facebook. My goal is to inspire as many people as possible to eat healthy, and I need your help spreading the word. Thanks! 🙂

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2 Responses to “Healthy Eating vs. Real Life: What’s Your Strategy?”

  1. Nicole says:

    Hi! I am now viewing your site in Reader, I really enjoy your posts. I too do not like to lable myself. It is definitely been a learning experience for me with eating healthy, and making it a lifestyle. Thank you for your continued inspiration!

    Nicole

  2. Becki says:

    Nicole, thanks for subscribing to the site, I am so glad that you are enjoying the content!

    I agree, it is a learning experience to change eating habits… but with some study and practice it gets easier over time. I hope that my blog will help you in your transition!

    Becki 🙂