Aren’t you tired of all these nutritional restrictions?

While it’s extremely important to be healthy and pay attention to what we eat and the type of foods we consume, restriction is not the answer.See also why diets fail.

Why is restriction bad?

The forbidden fruit story is not just a story. It’s human nature. If we know we are not allowed something, the more we will want/crave it. This is particularly true with things that we love.

Take chocolate for example, which happens to be one of my favorite treats. I can probably abstain from eating it, for maybe 2, 3 even 4 weeks. But if I constantly tell myself it is “off limits,” my brain keeps on thinking about it. And what will ultimately happen is that on a day full of stress, or when I am “tempted” by a friend who brought in some chocolates, what I will probably do is eat the whole box, not just one piece.

So 200% of the recommended daily value of saturated fat in less than 1 minute and that run that took my breath away…gone down the drain.

How do you create healthy habits?

Compare that to a balanced approach. Knowing that chocolate is not “off limits,” but that it is part of a balanced healthy lifestyle, where a piece here and there is fun to enjoy, will actually make it less desirable.

So, on the same day, if chocolate is present, I might take one piece or nothing at all. Depending on my mood. Since I will see it more as a commodity than a scarce resource (making my finance profs proud again), the likelihood to consume goes considerably down.

And it does not stop with chocolate. This point is valid for all the foods we love and we restrict ourselves from having.

The way to win this nutritional fight is to create new habits. There are always ways to improve. Replace your “bad” habits with new healthy ones, and practice, practice, practice.

1. Transform your 3PM cookie into a 3PM apple. In 2 weeks the sugar craving will become an apple craving. Trust me.

2. Munch on baby carrots or raw almonds instead of chips and M&M’s.

3. “RUN” your frustrations away instead of diving into a bowl of ice-cream (not even fat-free/sugar-free ones, I know what you are thinking – I’m a ninja this way).

4. Put a piece of fruit and a bowl right next to the coffee machine to remind you that breakfast is a must.

Restricting foods is not fun and it’s a short lived proposition. If you think nothing is really off limits you take control and life becomes sunny again.

Restrictions take away your power. Habits empower you!

How do you keep healthy habits? Share your comments or questions below.