Ever wondered how some people just seem to make healthy eating look so seamless, easy, and enjoyable, while you feel like it’s a total uphill battle? Like how is it possible that she’s totally fine with ordering grilled fish and broccoli while you are crying on the inside because all you want are the flipping cheese enchiladas. But, noooooo, you can’t have them because you are still trying to lose those stupid 10 pounds you put on 2 Christmases ago.
It’s not she was born with magical broccoli loving taste buds and you were just doomed to live with cheese enchilada loving taste buds.
She has an abundance mindset, while you are operating in a lack mindset. (ps – did you know that you can have a lack mindset when it comes to food, but an abundance mindset in other areas of your life, like money & relationships)
For example, let’s say you’ve made the decision to clean up your eating habits. You chose to join your coworkers for lunch.
When it comes time to order, you ask for a salad with grilled chicken, no cheese, and dressing on the side (because there’s literally nothing else on the menu that even comes close to moderately healthy).
And then comes the inevitable question from nosy Margaret in Accounting as she shovels tortilla chips into your mouth, “Oh, you must be on a diet. You’re on a diet, right? Which diet? Keto? Must be Keto, right??”
Side-note: I get a little heated with this question. Why does a salad always mean someone’s on a diet? Maybe that’s just the way some people eat. Maybe some people don’t like to feel like garbage after they eat. Maybe some people don’t actually enjoy running to the bathroom every 2 minutes or falling asleep on their desk post-lunch time…ever thought about that, Margaret??
So here’s the deal. When someone asks if you are on a diet you can answer in one of two ways. You can either support the conversation that eating healthy food equates to lack: “Yes I’m on a diet, ugh I would kill for some of that queso right now” …while you roll your eyes and begrudgingly insert the lettuce laden fork into your mouth.
Or you can help people realize that eating healthy is a lifestyle choice and is a positive change (and that you’d appreciate their support, thanks). “Nope, not on a diet per-se, just cleaning up what I eat because I honestly just want to feel better”.
The thing is, we’ve been so conditioned to equate healthy eating with lack. And a lack mindset does not support positive, healthy, sustainable change. What does support positive, healthy, sustainable change is an abundance mindset.
If you want to make a healthy shift in your eating habits and mindset try these three tips:
Think Swaps instead of Strikes.
Rather than just making a list of all the things you have to strike out of your diet, think about healthy swaps instead. Swap handfuls of M&M’s for a handful of berries. Trade processed deli meat for leftover grilled chicken. Switch chips and pretzels for raw nuts and seeds.
Take a look in your pantry and refrigerator and take note of the foods you currently have that aren’t supporting your health & wellness goals. Ask yourself if there is a fruit, veggie, nut, seed, legume, whole grain or lean protein that you’d like to swap it out for.
Eat the Rainbow.
Plants contain compounds called phytonutrients which are known to be beneficial for human health. Phytonutrients give fruits and veggies their color. Different phytonutrients show up as different colors. Beta-carotene, which is needed for eye health, shows up as orange and is found in carrots. Resveratrol gives foods like grapes a dark purple hue and acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. You don’t need to eat a ton of these in one sitting to enjoy their benefits. Just a few bites here and there will add up. Try to make a list of fruits and veggies that fall under each of these colors:
- DARK PURPLE / BLUE / BLACK
*once you’ve made your list do some quick research. Find out which phytonutrient is present in each food and what it does. This will compel you even more to eat those foods, and it’s super interesting!
Try to make it a point to eat the whole rainbow each week (bonus points of you eat it each day). Each time you eat a handful of a particular color, check off the box. Think of having a few boxes under each color, rather than just a single box, and try to check off every box under every color each week.
By the way, this is a fantastic activity to bring your kids in on. They love thinking of different foods to include in the rainbow. It’s a great way for them to become more engaged in grocery shopping and meal planning. If our daughter has all the boxes checked off by friday she gets to invite a friend to spend the night. This is also a great way to teach kiddos about the difference between real, whole food and foods that have to be dyed in order to have color. As I always say, skittles don’t count for any of your color, but a fruit salad sure does!
Focus on Desired Feelings.
How do you want to feel??? Vibrant, energetic, strong, healthy, glowy, balanced?? Write down your buzz words that describe how you want to feel. Then create a mental image of what that looks like. Maybe it’s a picture of you bee-bopping around the grocery store in tennis shoes and a ponytail looking all radiant and happy. Whatever that image is, hold on to it. Let that image and your new buzzwords support your food choices. Ask yourself, Will this food help me to feel (insert buzzwords here) and will it help me to one day be be-bopping around in my tennis shoes? This is so much more fun than telling yourself you can’t eat something because you want to lose 20 pounds. And it’s not that it’s just more fun to think this way. Thinking in this way is what helps you to shift your mindset from diet to lifestyle.
So next time you find yourself in a conversation with nosy Margaret from Accounting regarding food listen to whether or not she has a lack or abundance mindset when it comes to healthy eating. You’ll start to be able to recognize it more and more. If you hear the lack come up -from Margaret or internally – shift the focus to abundance. Think about all the things you can have and all the ways you’ll feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. Change your mindset to change your lifestyle. Educate yourself. Take small steps. Hold yourself accountable. Stick to a vision. And go for it.
Meg is a Health & Wellbeing Coach & Metaphysician and creator of The Aligned Body Method. She practices and is trained in functional medicine, mindset, and mind-body practices. She works with clients to create positive, sustained change when it comes to mental, physical and emotional well-being. Meg is also a Spirit Junkie through and through. This means she applies spiritual principles and universal truths to help her clients overcome limiting beliefs and energetic blocks that are keeping them stuck in patterns that no longer work. To find out more about how you can work with Meg, check out her VIP 4 month private coaching program, or her newest one month program, The Mind Body Detox.