The #1 Mindset Shift I Used to Finally Embrace Healthy Eating as a Lifestyle
Healthy eating has always been on the my top priorities in life (like since I was a little girl and I tried to limit the amount of wheat thins I ate in one sitting — because I once ate an entire box in one sitting without even realizing it!) But that doesn’t mean that it’s always been easy OR that it still isn’t a conscious decision I make everyday to eat foods that fuel my body rather than harm it — like the aforementioned box of wheat thins.
I’ve had my fair share of ups & downs with healthy eating, but last year I FINALLY discovered something that made a HUGE difference in how I viewed health eating AND allowed me to finally embrace healthy eating a lifestyle, not just a temporary goal that felt tough and restrictive. I discovered this Mindset Shift after years of struggling with restrictive diets & chronic health issues, but once I started applying to my life it instantly became a total game-changer! And no, it isn’t some fancy meditation or complicated 3 step process I go through before I take a single bite of food… no, its actually quite simple.
I changed one simple word. Yep, that’s it! One word.
I was allergic to dairy as kid, I went gluten free in high school, and then overhauled my entire lifestyle and stared eating grain-free & dairy-free (aka Paleo) when I got really sick in college, so I know a thing or two about restrictive diets and how it can be extremely hard to stick with a whole new way of healthy eating! Even when you feel like total garbage after eating something you knew you shouldn’t have, it can still be tricky convincing yourself not to eat that food when you feel like your entire body is craving it.
Okay, let’s be honest. Sometimes feeling like crap after eating something you know you shouldn’t have just isn’t motivation enough not to eat it! I totally get it. I’ve been there, done that more times than I would like to count. But then one day I learned this total mindset shift & it changed everything for me. Healthy eating has always been a lifestyle for me, but I had trouble letting go of certain foods because I felt deprived and like I somehow needed them to be happy & to be me.
Whenever someone would ask if I wanted this or that type of food at a dinner party or family get-together, I would just kindly reply, “No, thank you. I can’t have [fill in the blank].” I never thought much of it, until I realized the word “can’t” was making me feel like I was the victim. Like all these food allergies and intolerances were something that was happening to me. But that wasn’t the case, because the day I found out that it was grains, and dairy, and soy, and all these other packaged overly-processed foods that were making me sick was the day I finally felt freedom. I finally had the knowledge, and therefore, I finally had the choice to decide for myself whether or not I was going to continue to eat thee foods and stay sick or to stop eating them and get better. I didn’t have to go Paleo and transform my entire lifestyle, I choose to go Paleo and transform my entire lifestyle.
So every time I kept saying “No, thank you. I can’t have [fill in the blank].” I was reinforcing the idea that this decision was somehow made for me, that little word can’t was a subtle way of hiding behind my illness & taking away my power to decide for myself. It reinforced the idea that all of this was happening to me but the truth is I decided this! I chose health over convenience. I chose home cooked recipes and a steep learning curve to cook food that actually tasted edible over pre packaged so-called gluten free goodies from the store. So it’s not that I can’t eat [fill in the blank]. I simply don’t eat [fill in the blank].
Can’t —> Don’t
Can’t says it was decided for me and I’m the victim. Feel sorry for me and pity the life I have to live now with all of these food restrictions place upon me.
Don’t says I decided this and I’m confident in my decision. I choose health over convenience or momentary pleasure. Don’t feel sorry for me, be inspired by me! Because I have the power to choose, and I choose to live my BEST life — food allergies and all!
It’s a simple mindset shift, literally one word different. But the ripple effect has been nothing short of amazing. I don’t feel guilty for not being able to eat the same foods as the rest of my family at Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t sulk in the corner of the room while everyone else enjoys dessert. I do bring my own meal, I do make my own dessert and I do proudly own the decision I’ve made to embrace healthy living as lifestyle — and I don’t hesitate to say “No, thank you. I don’t eat that. But thanks for asking.”
PS I would love to hear what you think of this can’t —> don’t mindset shift and if it positively impacts your life & health eating journey, too! Come on over to Instagram + send me a DM @adrianna.bohrer and let me know — I can’t wait to hear from you!