It’s a hot Sunday and Susan receives a message from Ellen asking to join her and a group of friends at the nearby lake for a dive in the refreshing water. She turns the invitation down with the excuse that she’s not feeling well.

Susan would love to go, she loves the sun and the idea of getting in the water. She also likes spending time with her friends. Instead she goes and stands in front of her bedroom mirror looking at her body, feeling fat and ugly even with her clothes on. The thought of her friends seeing her in her bathing suit makes her want to hide under a blanket. Susan hates her body and her lack of self-confidence has taken a toll on her social life which is making things worse. “If I can’t lose the weight, what’s the point even trying”, she thinks and comforts herself with a chocolate chip cookie and before she knows it she’s finished the entire box.

Susan has been on various different diets and she’s been able to lose some weight. However, she’s never been able to stick to any of the regimens she imposed on herself and when she gave up, the kilos she lost reappeared very quickly.

In one way or another all diets that Susan has been on were restrictive: calorie counting, portion control, don’t eat this, don’t drink that … Where is the fun, the enjoyment, the feel good factor in this approach? I say, eating and enjoyment are allowed! Instead of putting the focus on what you can’t have, say YES more often to new things, new tastes, new spices, vegetables you’ve never had, surprising combinations, new ways of preparing your food. Be adventurous, curious, imaginative.

If you feel like you are lacking creativity, here is an idea for you: go to your supermarket and find three vegetables you’ve not had before. Take photographs of them including their names. Then google recipes that have these vegetables in them. Bookmark the recipes you like. Pick one of them and write down all ingredients you need on your shopping list and plan it for one of next weeks meals, don’t forget to add some protein. Pick a new vegetable or vegetable recipe once every week and you’ll see that trying new things can be a lot of fun.

Take pictures of your meals and share your successes with your friends. Challenge them to pick a vegetable they’ve never had before and swap recipes. For the dishes you know you like and can prepare without too much thinking, increase the amount of vegetables or add a side salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Enjoying the experience of eating more of the right things, helps you discover new skills, master challenges in a positive way, boost your motivation and develop new habits that are fun to keep up.

Start a new shopping list right now and at the top of the list you put: take pictures of 3 vegetables (plus name) I have not had before.

As vegetables are generally the first section in any supermarket, this is the first thing you’ll do before working your way down your list. Have fun discovering!
In the same way, enjoy being with your friends! Having fun and laughing is very healthy too!

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