Paleo, Vegan, Atkins, South Beach, Tubberware containers, Bodybuilders diet, No Carb, Low fat, Weight Watchers, High protein, High fat and the list goes on. Gahhhh, makes me exhausted just thinking about it!
I can attest that I’ve attempted at least 4 of these and without fail I would get super excited before starting one and come 2 weeks later I feel defeated because I glued my life to it. This is what I call the anchor effect. This is where we become incredibly dependent on a specific meal plan, way of eating and that black/white type thought process.
Example: Say we go to dinner, the food we want isn’t on the menu so we go into a full blown panic, unsure what to eat and therefore creating this unrelenting anxiety. We choose not to eat anything because we’re so worried if we deviate from our plan all hell is going to break loose. This way of thinking keeps us stuck and anchored to that certain way of eating without any lead way, causing us to feel like we have no way out. They make us believe they are required or else we don’t know what to do.
About 3 years ago, one of my former training clients reached out to me when she was at dinner because she didn’t know what to eat. She was calling me asking for permission to eat a specific food and I really couldn’t blame her at the time. She was dependent on me to make the food decisions for her in fear she would inevitably fail and not make the right choice herself. That fear can feel so scary can’t it? But guess what? We talked through it and she was able to come up with what was best for HER. She struggled, had to think for herself and tap into what felt best for her at the time. And-she did it! Those small victories added up over time and she slowly began to develop her own internal trust system. This made it so much easier for her long term because she no longer needed someone to tell her what to eat or how to eat. She had to challenge her own mental state and not shift the blame onto another when the food decision was made by someone else. She had to take responsibility for her choices and actions which propelled her self-esteem tenfold.
You get this? Isn’t it so easy to get pumped about a new plan we might be trying as a means to lose weight or as a way to hone in on our food control? We think we need this and feel this is the ticket to our weight loss journey. This one is going to be it! Why? Because we feel like we’re lacking will power, focus or dedication so we need someone else to do it for us. I get that and at times it’s needed but what about when we use it as our bible to weight loss, afraid of deviating away from our plan in utter fear of losing control? That’s where we get in trouble.
Anchored diets give us a false sense of control. Think about it, how excited do we get prior to a new food plan, hit the grocery store and come Monday, we’re ready to roll. This feels right!
But slowly over time, what happens? We can’t always be in control, situations come up where we have to modify our food choices or pick something that we normally wouldn’t put in our mouths. We might even get to the point and say, “Screw it, now I messed up so I might as well eat whatever!”
This is where nutritional blueprints come into play. A nutritional blueprint isn’t a diet, specific food plans, macro counting or food obsession. The blueprint is taking the black and white out of the equation and injecting some gray in our mindset. We take the ebb and flow of food and create a blueprint that works best for us. We accept there’s not always going to be the “best” option or accepting there’s going to be times when we have no control over our food choices and being okay with that. No judgement attached and accepting what is. That whole mindfulness piece.
Nutritional blueprints are about learning to maintain an abundance mindset and not feeling all this fear about missing out on all this food around us. It’s about having that self-compassion and moving on from the guilt and self-sabotage type mentality after a “slip-up.”
Blueprints force us to tune into our body’s craving, level of hunger, fullness, etc. while tapping into our physical needs and sensations, because on a meal plan, we’re forced to eat what’s on there, every 2-3 hours without any practice of biofeedback within ourselves! This is what creates that sense of self-trust and confidence! Does this way sound glamorous, sexy and fun? Not really because we want that next best diet plan where the work is done for us! But is the work really done for us? No or else we wouldn’t be continuing to try something new to work this go around. What works is what’s best for us.
We don’t have to be “perfect” around our food choices because let’s be honest, how much mental stress does that create? How much mental energy is expended when we’re constantly obsessing about the next meal, what we’re going to eat, how we’re going to pair the foods together and how much measuring needs to be done in between?
So, how do we get out of the anchoring and more into the blueprint mentality? It takes time and practice! There will be moments of accomplishment and moments of frustration which is all normal and part of the process! It takes just a littleeeee bit of change, a little bit of putting ourselves out there and taking a small challenge or risk to see how we bounce back. Over time, those little victories will get easier and easier because our blueprint is more developed and fine-tuned.
What can you start with today to begin to develop your nutritional blue print?
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