When trying to make changes in any area of our life, whether it be diet related or not, we tend to only focus on the negative – what we can’t have, or can’t do, or need to get rid of or stay away from. I believe that if we change our focus to the good – what we can have, and can do, and need to keep around and gravitate toward – the change will come so much easier. When we spend our time focusing on and adding in all the good things, we begin to crowd out the bad things. I use this approach when coaching people on nutrition. We tend to fail when we only focus on the foods we “can’t” have. All of our focus is on this particular food or food group we “aren’t supposed” to have, so naturally, it’s all we think about. And eventually, we give in to these thoughts and cave in. This leads to negative self-talk like “why am I so weak?”, “why do I always fail?”, “why can’t I just stick to this diet?” “I will never reach my goals”. I despise negativity! It is NEVER helpful, plain and simple.
How much happier, easier and more fun does this positive approach sound? You have made a commitment to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself through good nutrition. Instead of focusing on everything you need to eliminate from your diet, focus on all the great foods that you CAN have! Don’t even think about a food with a “can’t” in front of it. Spend your time thinking about all the new foods you are going to add into your diet, and no time thinking about foods you want to eliminate. Nobody likes to be told they can’t have something, even if that “rule” is coming from themselves. If you want to eat something, eat it. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t reprimand yourself for it. Move on. Example: You just ate a big serving of broccoli – YAY YOU! – and you aren’t hungry anymore. But you see some chocolate, and eat it because you want to. Don’t say anything negative to yourself about eating the chocolate. Instead, praise yourself for eating the large serving of broccoli! The more you do this, the less you will have room for, or even crave, the things you want to eliminate. We love positive feedback and praise, and we will want more of that, even from ourselves. Positivity is where it’s at! Reaching goals or creating a more healthy lifestyle is so much easier when we are nice to ourselves. This approach can work in making changes to so many areas of our lives. Let’s spend so much time adding in the good stuff that there’s simply no more room for the bad stuff!