Change the Thinking to Change the Behavior

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Clif Bar

Yes, sometimes I want to eat it right thru the wrapper!

Wait, you can eat that?! I was eating  Clif Bar today with my snack – a yummy chocolate chip Clif Bar. A co-worker was surprised when she saw me eating it. Not in a negative way. She was just shocked that I could eat something like that when I typically stick to meat, fruit and veggies.

As I explained my rationale to her, it got me thinking that lots of people assume that healthy eating is a diet or something temporary that is done until you reach your goal. Once you get to your goal, you go back to your before way of life.

I thought so too when I started out. I figured I would drop my calories, lose the weight/fat, and then just go back to eating less of the food I was eating before. Sounded simple enough, but something changed along the way. I changed.

After eating this way for so long, I found that my tastes are different. Without the sugar in my diet, things don’t have to be as sweet to satisfy my treat cravings now. When before I wanted a handful of oreos half the bag of oreos, I’m now happy with a splurge of a Clif Bar every now and then. I can hear some of you chuckling at the thought of a Clif Bar being a treat, but for me it is.

Another myth that I think we get caught up in is that eating healthy means giving up yumminess from our lives. Eating healthy = Deprivation. Not so at all! I can eat anything I want. Like any choices that we are faced with, there is a trade off or weighing of options. (Also yummy doesn’t have to mean dessert. Just look at some of the meals I throw together, but more on that in the coming days.)

To change the behavior, change the way of thinking. In my mind I think about the calories something contains and I equate it to minutes spent working it off. For example, a small hot fudge sundae with whipped cream is approximately 500 calories. This equals a good hour of running. Is that sundae worth me giving up an hour that I could spend doing something else? Most times the answer is no.

Doing this careful consideration puts me in control of the outcome. I can absolutely have the sundae so the choice is mine. It’s not some punishment that I have to endure while everyone else rolls in hot fudge. Thinking of it this way also makes me choose a treat only when I really, really want it. If I want it badly enough, I’ll jump on that treadmill and run myself silly to earn it.

You can apply this thinking to all kinds of scenarios. If you don’t have the money for a dress you really want, you can give up something else to buy it or save for a while until you have enough. You might figure out along the way that there are other things you’d rather have instead or you may end up saving enough. I bet you end up with a sense of satisfaction after earning it too.

I’m no longer in the cycle of eating treats on a daily basis. I never want to get back to the point of a Clif Bar not being sweet enough for my taste buds. It would lose its special-ness if I did fall back into old habits. Interestingly enough – after my explanation my co-worker said when I put it the way I did, she would choose not to eat it too.

Small victory in the name of healthy eating. Would it be worth it to you?

PS – To earn my Clif Bar splurge, I traded my usual veggies for a massive bowl of fennel fronds that were like eating lettuce flavored feathers. I also gave up half my lunchtime carbs. I really wanted that Clif Bar and it was totally worth it! 😉

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