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Shift Your Focus to Make Dieting Easier

Things are more desirable when they are off limits—just ask any 2-year-old. How to tame your inner toddler and stick to your diet.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #188

The more exotic or unusual, the better. Having an apple every night after diner wouldn’t be that exciting. But ripe berries on Monday. fresh pineapple on Tuesday, a juicy peach on Wednesday, decadent figs on Thursday….that’s something I can authentically look forward to.

Likewise, I’ve found that serving up two or even three different kinds of vegetables at dinner—each prepared in favorite, yummy way—completely takes the sting out of eliminating the bread, rolls and other minimally nutritious starches.

And instead of going out for Italian food and exhausting my willpower on not eating all the pasta—or heading to a burger bar and drooling over my neighbor’s fries (and once I’ve drooled on it, it’s mine, right?)—I try to find enticing restaurants that are more in line with my dietary strategy, such as a tapas place or that bistro with the to-die-for salads.

Got the idea? My challenge for you this week is to accentuate the positives in your healthy diet. Rather than focus on things that you’re trying not to eat, find ways to get more excited about the stuff you know you should be eating more of.   Feel free to try this on any actual toddlers you may have in your life—or, for that matter, partners or teenagers who act like toddlers when you try to encourage them to eat better.

And then, report back here. What strategies did you come up with? How did it work for you? Is there anything to the idea that focusing on what you’re going to add to your menus is a more effective way to motivate positive change than focusing on what you’re giving up or cutting back on?

I look forward to your reports!

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Fruit image from Shutterstock

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About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.