When you’ve made drastic changes to your diet, the simple act of going into the kitchen can feel like torture. There seem to be food landmines all over the place. If you’re on low-carb diet, all you can think about is the bread in the pantry. If you’re low-sugar, all you can think about is the ice cream in the freezer. And cooking? Cooking seems almost impossible. You’re on a diet; aren’t you supposed to be frustrated and hungry all the time?
It may seem that way, but if you’re constantly on edge because of all the food you can’t eat, there’s a chance you’re on a diet that’s simply too restrictive to be effective in the long-term.
If you haven’t already, you should talk with your doctor about your diet plan. If a doctor recommended you cut out the salt, then you should stick with it. But you may have a bit more nutritional wiggle room than you realize.
The biggest problem with diets is that they’re very hard to maintain. Sure, you can lose twenty or thirty or even fifty pounds in the short-term, but once you switch from “diet” mode to “maintenance” mode, it’s easy for the weight to come creeping back in. There’s also some evidence that the body will fight to remain at a certain weight, and that losing a lot of weight fast can do a real number on your metabolism. That’s not to say you’re doomed to remain at the same weight forever, but that for all the issues American society has surrounding food and nutrition, diets don’t necessarily offer the best solutions.
Still, there are some things you can do if you’re trying to watch what you eat. You should be able to use your kitchen appliances without having a panic attack.
Clear out as many of the most tempting food items as possible, but if you live with other people, keep in mind that they shouldn’t be expected to deprive themselves just because you are. If you can’t be around cookies but your spouse has no problem with them, ask them to hide the cookies from you. If you’re afraid you’ll go looking for the hiding spot anyway, ask them to consider storing the sweets at work. You want to set yourself up for success without forcing everyone else in the house to eat the exact same things as you.
If cooking confounds you, then start searching for better recipes. Just because you’re on a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you have to spend all day cooking meat, for instance. The Internet is chock-full of healthy, creative ways to stick to your diet. There are also meal preparation kits available for just about every diet out there. And if you have the budget, you can upgrade some of your appliances as a way of making meal-prep more fun. Purchasing a new modern range or cooktop might be just the trick to kickstarting a cooking habit that’s both healthy and fun.
Finally, give yourself a cheat day every now and again. Or if that seems like too much, give yourself a cheat meal. Just like most exercise plans don’t require you to exercise for two hours a day every single day, most diet plans don’t require you to be on your game for every single meal. You’re more likely to stick with something if you can take a break from it every now and then. A diet without any cheat days is like a job without any paid vacation days. In both cases, you’re likely to burn out fast. Giving yourself permission to indulge every so often can be critical to keeping yourself sane.