You may think eliminating certain foods from your diet is the way to shed extra pounds, but is it the best option for long-term weight loss? The truth is, for most people, restrictive diets are not sustainable, and weight lost on these diets tends to rebound within a few months. One of the culprits for rebound weight gain is that a healthy relationship with food was not established.
“All foods fit” is a motto to embrace because it’s the best approach to achieve and maintain a healthy weight for good. Instead of categorizing food as “good,” “bad” or “off-limits,” reframe eating in a way that allows you to enjoy all foods in moderation. The key is giving yourself permission to eat anything that you desire or crave. And no, this is not giving into the temptation to overindulge!
One bite of chocolate cake will not make a person overweight or unhealthy, but overindulgence of said food could over time. Sure, if you have a poor relationship with food, setting strong boundaries with trigger foods may help until you’re ready to enjoy them in moderation. But there are strong reasons for you to consider changing your behavior for the long haul versus going on another restrictive diet. Here are five reasons why you should allow yourself to eat all foods:
1. Guilt-free eating. Putting foods on a “do not eat list” isn’t wise for long-term weight loss and happiness. Swearing off a particular food or food group often creates powerful cravings that, not surprisingly, lead to indulgence followed by guilt. Instead, choose the “all foods fit” motto, and allow yourself to eat any food, guilt free.
2. Curb cravings. Rules are made to be broken, right? When rules get too strict we naturally want to bend and twist them in our favor. “I’m going to eat my crave food just this one time, and I’ll get back on my diet tomorrow,” is a common thought for the chronic dieter. Giving yourself permission to eat any food means you’ll have fewer cravings because you know you can eat all foods anytime you want. Food loses its power. Say goodbye to overindulgence and “all-or-nothing” eating.
3. Weight loss. Yes, weight loss is a common side effect of eating foods in moderation. Shifting your focus from losing weight to eating foods that are enjoyable and satisfying might actually cause you to consume fewer calories! People who savor their food eat less of it, and they are satisfied with less. This satisfaction is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight in the long run.
4. Sustainability. When it comes to eating well, it’s all about creating healthy lifestyle choices. Diets are not meant to be followed forever, so allowing yourself to eat all foods in moderation forms a realistic and sustainable approach to eating and keeping a healthy weight.
5. Balance of nutrients. Each macronutrient performs a different function in the body. Proteins are necessary for growth, maintenance and repair. Fats are necessary for vitamin and mineral absorption, hormone regulation and formation of cell structures. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel. By restricting or eliminating any one of these food groups, you’re preventing your body’s ability to perform these vital functions. Eating foods in moderation provides balanced nutrition.
Rather than eliminating a food completely, try listening to what your body needs and enjoying all food in moderation. This isn’t an easy fix. It will take hard work and lots of practice, but the results of eating this way are well worth the effort. Becoming attuned to your body’s hunger and satiety cues allows you to push those feelings of guilt aside for good, which often leads to that sustained weight loss you aim to achieve.