The Anti-Diet

saladDiet ideas are everywhere, and many of them are loaded with rules of what to eat, what to avoid, when to eat and how to eat.  It’s all about control and willpower, and it’s damaging to your intuitive inner wisdom.  Here is yet another diet idea: the anti-diet.

Add Instead of Restrict.  Instead of focusing on what to restrict (carbs, grains, sugar), ask yourself, “what can I add?”  How can you add vegetables to breakfast (spinach in your scrambled eggs?)  Throw a spoonful of flax seed into your smoothie.  Make something green a part of your lunch.  After dinner, have a bowl full of fresh berries.  Put your attention on adding in healthy foods, rather than omitting unhealthy ones.  You may soon find that the less nutritious choices get crowded off of your daily plate simply because you’re adding in the good stuff.

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Don’t Limit How Much You Eat. Eat when you are hungry, instead.  Learn to recognize what hunger feels like in your body.  And then see if you can listen to what you’re hungry for.  Are you needing complex carbs like a hearty pasta dish?  Are you craving hydration in the form of a big green salad?  Does your heart need comfort food like a warm baked potato stuffed with your favorite fixings?  Really honor the hunger signals from your body and do your best to fulfill them.

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Eat the cake, and then move on! When you obsess too much with “clean” eating, it can become  all too easy to develop orthorexia. Orthorexia is a term used when someone develops symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet.  It’s about control more than anything, and it really messes with your head and your happiness. I know this from my own experience.  Life is meant to be lived and celebrated.  Have the cake and thoroughly enjoy it.  Then, balance the rest of your day.  Don’t let a delicious treat fill you with guilt, and try to find that place of moderation for yourself.

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