Flexibility is the most important pillar to the chronic dieter. The entire dieting industry is about being on a diet or off a diet. Most people do not realize, there is a middle ground. So many times, I have heard clients say, “I ate a cookie and since I was off the diet, I ended up eating the whole sleeve of cookies” or box of cookies. The same goes with eating just about any food that is typically off limits with a traditional diet.
This is another reason diets do not work. Instead of swearing off your favorite foods, it is much more important to practice eating your favorite foods with mindfulness. Instead of feeling guilty when eating your favorite foods, we want you to practice savoring your culinary delights. Being flexible seems like such an easy concept, but it is difficult to practice eating foods with joy instead of guilt.
Since the examples above won’t happen every time you are eating, flexibility helps you put the fun back in food. Without flexibility in your diet, preparing and eating meals can become exhausting. Being flexible helps you to plan your next meal and keeps food in its place, not allowing it to take over your life.
Now, how wonderful is that? What we love is that food was never intended to be PERFECT. Normal eating gives you the freedom to be flexible, to make mistakes in eating, and to know that your body can make up for it. Trust is a huge part in this definition. Soon you will be able to trust yourself around foods you may have overeaten in the past, trust yourself at a buffet, trust yourself at Christmas dinner, and trust yourself at the grocery store. When you experience TRUST and tranquility around food that is a good sign that your relationship with food has been mended and strengthened.
Dieting is not Flexible
Dieting typically involves a lack of:
- flexibility because there are so many rules and restrictions
- fun because of all the forbidden foods that are supposed to be avoided
- a future, diets rarely last forever
How To Eat Food with More Flexibility:
1. Having trouble eating (fill in the blank) in moderation? Working with your Registered Dietitian to create a plan to give yourself permission to purposely plan to have a serving of (fill in the blank) every day for a week can help you practice moderation and reset how you eat that food in the future.
2. Keep in mind: it’s not going anywhere. Just knowing you’re allowed to have that Kit Kat bar, pizza, or order of French fries again next time the craving strikes can prevent you from overindulging. Most of the treats we love are easy to come by, and as for homemade goodies (think mom’s classic pecan pie), if you really want it that badly in the future, you’ll either make it, or convince someone to make it for you. It’s that simple!
3. Once you’ve given yourself the freedom to eat what you want when you want it, and you understand there’s no shortage of supply, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing when you’ve had just enough to satisfy you and stopping at that point.
Would you like more help being flexible in your daily life? Make an appointment with one of our dietitians by clicking here or calling 301-474-2499.
Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.