Monday, January 26, 2009

The Power of Positive Eating

I think diet can be a really nasty word to a lot of people. It evokes negativity and a sense of deprivation. I know that I never stick to a diet, but when it comes to eating right because it makes me feel better or to be healthy rather than a certain weight, my good habits have more staying power.

Over the past several months as I have been exploring what good nutrition really is and learning about eating a whole foods diet. Several people have asked how I can spend my day eating mainly fruits and veggies and if I am struggling not to eat the 'bad' stuff. My answer to them is that I feel good eating a certain way and that by adding the good foods, I am just not craving the bad stuff as much. I call this positive eating. I am not thinking about all of the things I am not eating all day, I am just making sure I fit all of the good things in.

Now this doesn't mean that I don't fall off the wagon every once in a while because I definitely do. As a wife and mother of two 5-year-olds, I do my best to prepare healthy meals, but I certainly can't or maybe don't ask my family eat to raw every night. They are open to a lot of new and different dishes but let's face it, we are going to grab a pizza every now and then. So rather than beat myself up, I just enjoy the pizza.

I was listening to a CD by raw guru David Wolfe a couple weeks ago and he was preaching the same idea of positive eating to a group of people who were clearly interested in losing weight. I was intriged by his message that you can indulge in certain things like chocolate, which he and I are both fans of, if you eat the pure cacoa rather than the processed, sugared up chocolate that we are all used to. It is about making different choices not deprivation. He also told his audience that if you do eat something that maybe you think you should not, enjoy it. The point was that if you are going to have a hamburger, at least don't ruin the experience by beating yourself up. Just eat it and move on.

This all makes perfect sense to me. If you are eating healthy most of the time, don't freak out when you indulge a little. If you are eating great and feeling great as a result, you won't want to binge on unhealthy food long-term. This is different than a traditional diet where you have a list of what is considered good and what is considered bad. It is the guilt, frustration and sense of failure that usually throws a person off the traditional diet track faster than the actual diet. Paying attention to how you feel and how your own body likes to eat for maximum energy and well-being will drive your behavior much more than a list of prohibited foods.

So add the good foods into your day and I believe the unhealthy ones will sort of find their way out of your daily intake. That has been my experience anyway. The moral of the story, spend more time focusing on feeling good rather than feeling guilty.

- Shannan


Hanlie said...

I love this post! Thank you so much for describing so eloquently what I also believe. I am concentrating on eating the good, and that leaves very little room for the bad... Positive eating is a wonderfully descriptive phrase!

Kristen's Raw said...

Hi Shan,

Awesome post. Positive eating.... just feels so good to think of it that way!


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