Have you ever asked yourself how you think about food?
Or have you ever really sat down to take stock of your relationship…with food?
I know it seems kind of weird at first, but hear me out.
I know that I have SO many thoughts about food. I think about cookies and cake as “bad”. I think about green things like vegetables as “good”.
I get all freaked out when there is going to be a gathering with my favorite foods because I don’t trust myself to eat them and stop when I am satisfied.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you have any of these same thoughts or feelings about the foods you eat?
You see, how we think about food and our relationship with food can have a major impact on whether or not we lose weight biking.
When we start labeling food as good or bad, and avoiding things that we love like the plague because we don’t trust ourselves around them, we are making our relationship with food a LOT harder and more complicated than it needs to be.
If you have all of these “rules” around food, and if you find yourself labeling food as good or bad, it can actually be holding you back. You may not be making progress with losing weight biking because you have a muddled relationship with food.
Intrigued? Read on to learn some tips about how to change your relationship with food and lose weight biking for the last time.
Tip #1: Stop Labeling Certain Foods as “Good” and Others as “Bad”
Food is not good or bad until YOU put a label on it
Food is just there. It’s neutral.
It’s your thoughts about food that make it mean something to you.
One of the essential things to do to lose weight for the last time is to see food as food.
At the end of the day, all of the food we eat has calories, and calories are simply units of energy.
Now, I am not saying that all food is created equal and provides the same nutritional value. That’s not the case at all.
Labels give the FOOD all of the control
What I am saying, though, is that our thoughts about food as good or bad can lead us to spiral.
When we label certain things we love as bad, and we have a whole set of rules for them, we feel like absolute crap when we break those rules.
So, for example, if you think that chips are bad, you might not allow yourself to be around chips.
Now, this isn’t a huge problem if you hate chips, but what if you love chips?
All of a sudden these chips become some sort of forbidden fruit that you have no control over when you encounter them.
You see a bowl of chips at a party and you grab handful after handful because you “aren’t allowed” to have chips.
OR, you see the chips at the party and you are no longer focused on anything other than the chips. You can’t have fun and enjoy yourself because all you are doing is thinking about the chips that you can’t eat because you have no control around chips.
This is no way to be or live. Instead of having control and making decisions about what you are eating, you are letting the food control you.
Tip #2: Instead of Avoiding Food You Love, Make a Plan for It
A lot of times when we set out to lose weight we think we need to diet. Diets feel restrictive.
We find ourselves scheduling a “last meal” before we “go on our diet”.
You know that sort of meal where you eat all of the carbs and things you aren’t going to let yourself eat ever again?
Additionally, we think that we need to clean out the pantry and not allow certain foods in the house.
Avoiding food just doesn’t work
The problem is that avoiding food may work for a while, but invariably somewhere, somehow you are going to come across the foods you have labeled as bad. If you haven’t learned how to be around these foods you will feel out of control.
YOU might even find yourself shoving them in your face!
Don’t do anything NOW that you aren’t willing to do FOREVER
When I finally got it all together and lost my weight for the last time I made a deal with myself. I wasn’t going to do anything that I wasn’t willing to do for the rest of my life.
There is absolutely no way that I can avoid carbs forever. First and foremost, carbs are fuel for riding my bike! Why would I want to cut those out?
Secondly, I happen to like ice cream. And chips. And Doritos. Did I mention I like chips? Oh! Also, real sugar in my tea. The universe can take its stevia and shove it. Give me some real, old fashioned sugar.
You see, I might be able to cut those things out of my life temporarily, but not forever!
For example, those months when I was breastfeeding my son and he was sensitive to dairy? My GOSH. That was ROUGH. The only reason why I was even able to do it as long as I did was because I didn’t want to hurt my child!
Plan The Foods You Love
Here is what I want you to do. Instead of cutting out the things you love and labeling them as bad, I want you to make a plan for them. Each day decide what food you are going to eat, including the things you love.
Me? I eat some kind of chip every day. In my afternoon snack. I have a few chips and pair it with a high protein item because that combination makes me feel good. I have energy for the afternoon and I am not ready to eat all of the things by the time dinner rolls around.
Play around with different foods and see how they make you feel. See what kind of results you get.
When you approach food this way you are the one in control, not the food. The idea is to avoid making yourself powerless with the foods that you love. Empower yourself to incorporate them into your plan and eat what you plan.
Tip #3 Practice Being Around All Kinds of Food
The key word here is practice. You want to practice being around all sorts of foods. When you stop labeling food as good or bad, and practice being around them, you will be the one in control.
Practice Gives You Confidence
The more you are around food you love and plan for it, the more confidence you will have.
It starts to feel really great to be near foods you love and know that you can have them and stop eating them when you choose to.
The more that you practice, the easier it will be! When I decided to lose my weight for the last time I knew that I needed to eat things that I actually liked, and I needed to build up confidence.
I started planning my chips and my Doritos in advance. I would decide in the morning when I put my food plan together that I would have “x” number of chips/Doritos for snack.
I did this with my breakfast, too. I knew that I loved kielbasa for breakfast and wasn’t willing to give it up.
So I ate kielbasa every day. But I planned in advance how much I was going to eat, and I paired it with veggies and carbs in a wrap so that I would be satisfied.
Over time, I realized that the kielbasa wasn’t sitting great in my tummy every day, and I swapped it out for a healthier option. Today instead of kielbasa I have chicken sausage in my wrap, and I don’t even miss the kielbasa.
I gave myself permission to eat what I loved, and over time realized that I love feeling good in my body more than I love kielbasa. At first though? I loved the kielbasa more, and that’s OK!
A Final Note
When you are just starting out on your weight loss journey, and are trying to lose weight for the last time, it is so important to plan food you actually like.
Decide in advance, ideally in the morning, how much you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it.
Instead of telling yourself “I am never going to eat chips again,” say “I am going to have 10 chips for snack today.”
Over time you will gain confidence and will want to make healthier swaps.
It will be more important for you to feel good so you can ride your bike than to eat a whole bunch of food that doesn’t sit well in your body.
This is a process, my friend! Each day you are making small, doable changes that over time will lead to big results. You’ve got this. I believe in you. Now get out there and plan your meals full of foods that you actually like to eat.