I eat chocolate every day—I believe it’s good for the soul. Chocolate always makes me feel happy and relaxed, and I look forward to my every day sweet treat splurge. More importantly, it’s something that I never feel the infamous and looming “food guilt” about. Everything in moderation, right? So if I’m not binging on bad-for-you foods, then my daily chocolate indulgence isn’t hurting me.
It feels like we can’t log onto the internet lately without being bombarded by headlines about the perfect diet or what we should and shouldn’t eat. There’s a website, article, or list out there for all kinds of ways that one is supposed to eat—paleo foods, absolutely no sugar, low-carb, extra-protein, juiced veggies and liquids-only, you get the picture. Of course some foods are better for your body than others, and everyone should eat healthy and nutrient rich foods, but it seems far too easy to get wrapped up in ultra-rigid food plans—often ones that don’t allow room for any fun.
There’s a popular internet saying that I always see across Pinterest fitness boards that “nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels”. Well, I could name a lot of things that definitely taste better than having the ultimate perfect body (whatever that means). My least favorite thing about diet trends is that they don’t let you eat the foods that you love or give you space for balancing between healthy foods and indulgences. Seriously, how many times have you heard someone say something like “oh I can’t, I’m on a diet” when they’re totally staring at the piece of chocolate or the slice of cake that they think they’re not supposed to be eating? So, if you want the cookie you’ve been thinking about all afternoon, then eat the cookie.
Because the best diet is no diet at all.
Perhaps my idea is contrary to what almost everything else online or in the media is telling us, but I think the best results—both physical and mental—come from not binding yourself to a strict diet plan at all.
There’s a difference between “being on a diet” and eating in a healthy, balanced way that treats your body well. What you learn when you only follow a strictly laid out food plan is…how to follow a strictly laid out food plan. What happens when you don’t have a piece of paper dictating your meals anymore? Sometimes I don’t think that specific diets teach you how to live a healthy lifestyle, and instead only give you a list of recipes to cook on specific nights or calories amounts to spend your day totaling (and honestly who would want to sit and worry about that?). When those things are the focus, it definitely takes away from learning how to naturally eat in a nutritious way without ever having to think about a calorie number.
Diets are specifically for the purpose of weight loss, but what happens once you have reached your goal? You can’t “be on a diet” for your entire life, and diet standards are pretty unrealistic for the long term. They are temporary plans and it’s easy to put your weight back on real fast once you’re done, so it’s more important to know how to always incorporate nutritious choices into your eating habits than it is to drop weight quickly and make yourself miserable while doing it.
Diets aren’t any fun when the food doesn’t taste great or you barely have any options for meals. Dieting might even make you a little nuts, because all that you’re doing is thinking about food. Relax yourself a little and eat just to eat, because you’re craving something or because you like the way that it tastes. The more you focus on what you can or can’t eat, the more you’ll start to crave things on a list of what you should be avoiding. We always want what we can’t have right?
I’m much happier when I’m not focused on foods that I should avoid or how many calories are in something before I eat it. So I think that I’ll stick with my daily chocolate intake for now, and feel great about it too.