And I failed again…
I ate the donut.
How could I not though? It was right there, on the table. All my coworkers had one. Except Brad, he always made his healthy eating the priority.
Nuts to him and his crazy will power.
That was me about 5 years ago. I wanted so badly to stick to my no sugar diet. I knew my health would benefit, but really, in that moment, I just wanted the frick’n donut.
See, what I didn’t understand then, was that it isn’t about will power. I wasn’t wrong to eat the donut. And I definitely wasn’t weak. I was unskilled.
It takes skill to make your healthy eating work. And skill takes practice, lots of it. And it also takes forgiveness and compassion for ourselves.
We are so hard on ourselves! So hard!
We wake up in the morning and say today is the day. Today I am going to stick to my diet plan. And then we don’t. Maybe it was the donut in the staff room, maybe it was the treat after a job well done, or maybe it was emotional eating. Whatever it was, you deviated from the plan and now you feel super crappy about yourself.
I am here to tell you to give yourself a break. And to recognize, as I had to, that healthy eating is a skill that we develop over time.
How do you build that skill set you ask.
It’s pretty simple.
But don’t confuse simple for easy. Building a skill set is never easy.
Here’s are 3 skills that will help you in your health journey:
1. The skill of making a plan
The most common question I get asked is which diet should that person do. There are so, so many options – paleo, keto, mediterranean, the Easy Nutrition Challenge, weight watchers, etc.
Here’s the bottom line, it doesn’t matter which one you do, just pick one. If you really can’t decide, I usually recommend mine, the Easy Nutrition Challenge (of course) because it is the easiest, and people get great results. But, really, they all work, and none of them are bad.
The important thing is you make a plan. Write a list of what you can eat, what you want to avoid, and what “cheat” meals are allowed. Decide if you are going to count calories, or do portion control, or count points. Create an outline of your plan, then just do it!
The plan will give you the structure to make the best decisions. You know what foods are allowed, and which ones are not. You don’t have to guess if you can have that sugary treat, you will know the answer. Structure gives you permission to think less, do more, and feel confident in your decisions.
If you do not have a plan you will fail! There’s no sugarcoating that one.
2. The skill of cooking
Do you need to be able to cook to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve your health goals? No, but it sure helps.
The reality is, even “health” food from grocery stores, restaurants and smoothie bars have extras added in for flavour. Often this is sugar, but also butter and other fats. If you are not cooking the food yourself you do not have control over what is added to the food.
And, as good as intentions we may have, it is often harder to stick to our plan when we are purchasing from a food establishment. We may get the green smoothie, but add on a chicken sandwich with lots of extra mayo because it was a combo deal.
Cooking is a necessary skill for weight loss especially. Did you know that restaurants coat their meat with oil before grilling it? I am all for healthy oils, but that is added calories that we may not be calculating.
If you want full control over the food you are eating; to fully understand the food you are eating (and what the ingredients are) and if your plan includes counting calories, utilizing portion control or tracking your macros you need to be cooking your own food.
3. The skill of forgiveness
We have have a great plan, we did our research, we have clear instruction on what and when we can eat, and then we blow it by eating a cookie, or chocolate, or whatever.
And cue downward spiral, enter guilt and shame.
You ate the treat, now you feel like a failure, so, might as well keep going. The cake beside the cookie looks amazing, eat that too.
Offer yourself some grace, forgive yourself for taking a small detour, and get back on plan.
That one treat is highly unlikely to derail our goal, and yet we treat it as a major infraction and beat ourselves down.
Forgiveness is a skill that will allow you to pick yourself up and start again.
Remember, healthy eating is a skill
It takes time to learn, and you will make mistakes. But with patience and tenacity you can master the skills needed and achieve your health goals.
If you would like some help developing your healthy eating skill set you can sign up for my 7 day detox. It will give you the plan and structure you need to succeed.