When it comes to making healthier choices in our nutrition and health, many of us have experienced that internal battle between saying "no" to certain foods. Imagine standing at a restaurant with your friends, torn between ordering the mouthwatering burger you've been craving or opting for the healthier salad. Half the time the friends are coaxing you to get it, and the other half of the time, you're explaining that you can't have it because of your newest diet. In the past, you might have even felt you had to say "no" to the burger, leaving you feeling like you're missing out on something delicious. This cycle is something you've probably gone through for a while on your diet routine, whether it's once again time to lose weight for the summer, a wedding, or any other event you want to look your best for. It's akin to a famous quote from Mark Twain: "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." - This quote emphasizes the idea of making sacrifices and living a disciplined life to maintain good health and preserve the body's well-being. It's a witty reflection on the importance of making conscious choices for our health, even if they may not always align with our immediate desires or preferences. But that doesn't mean we have to torture ourselves in the process by saying no to everything in life that we think we want.
What if we flipped our mindset and reframed our approach to say "YES" to the salad instead? Saying yes to working out, saying yes to reading that book; saying yes to studying for that certification. This isn't to say you won't still be saying no to something or someone else at some points. You can't go around saying yes to everything like Jim Carrey from Yes Man, and I don't think you'd want to, but framing more of your decisions for a better you as yes might have a bigger impact than you think.
Psychologically, the way we frame our decisions can have a significant impact on our long-term success. When we say "no," it often feels like deprivation – giving up something we desire and triggering feelings of restriction and missing out. Research consistently shows that overly restrictive diets lead to poor outcomes. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition examined weight loss maintenance at various intervals after the successful completion of a weight-loss program. It found that individuals who followed highly restrictive diets had the highest rates of weight regain over time. So forcing yourself to say no 100% of the time and to 100% of the foods you'd like to eat has a way of depriving us to the point of binging it all the second we get past that vacation or that event. However, by saying "yes" to healthier choices, we can create a positive and empowering relationship with our nutrition and health, ultimately leading to better adherence and overall well-being.
Research in the field of psychology supports the idea of embracing a positive mindset in our health journey. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, individuals who focused on what they could gain from making healthier choices were more likely to stick to their health goals compared to those who concentrated on what they had to give up. By shifting our focus to the benefits and positive outcomes of saying "yes" to nutritious foods, we can reinforce our commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Moreover, research has shown that cultivating a positive mindset when it comes to our health can have a profound impact on our overall well-being and happiness. A study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that individuals who maintained a positive outlook on their health and fitness journey reported higher levels of life satisfaction and improved mental and emotional well-being. It's like the great Mary Poppins knew this when she said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and - SNAP - the job's a game”. Just because our health and fitness require effort doesn’t mean we have to go through it begrudgingly and with an attitude of we have to say "no" to life to be able to live it.
When we say "yes" to nutritious foods and prioritize our health, we open ourselves up to a world of delicious alternatives. Research published in the journal Appetite suggests that individuals who explore new and healthier food options experience greater culinary satisfaction and are more likely to maintain a varied and balanced diet over time. And what self-described foodie isn't looking for a life filled with some culinary satisfaction? It's again about the journey through life, and if you get stuck looking at these "no"s, you'll be missing all the opportunities you have for "yes".
Embracing a positive mindset also builds resilience in the face of temptations and setbacks. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that individuals who maintained a positive attitude toward their health and fitness goals were better equipped to overcome obstacles and stay on track, even when faced with challenges, and let's be honest, every work meeting, every conference, every fundraiser we go to always presents a challenge because the junkie snacks abound.
Saying "YES" to your health journey is not about deprivation or giving up things you love; it's about empowering yourself to make the best choices for your overall well-being. You want your clothing to fit better? You're saying yes to that. You want more energy with your kids? You're saying yes to that with better food choices. You want to feel more confident? You're saying yes to that with your workout. Embrace a positive mindset, focus on what you can gain, and savor the journey of becoming your healthiest, happiest self. With each "yes," you reinforce your commitment to living your best life and achieving long-term success in your nutrition and health goals. Use the frame of “yes” to take your journey of 10 lbs to the journey of an absolutely well-lived life.
As George Bernard Shaw put it, "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." Shaw's perspective on living life to the fullest is about leaving no potential unexplored and giving everything one's best effort. It speaks to the idea of embracing life with passion and purpose, making the most of every moment, and leaving a lasting impact for the benefit of future generations. That view is all about saying yes, yes to the salad, yes to the workout, yes to investing time on a big project, yes to that hike you've wanted to go on, yes to the trip that scares you, and you must be prepared for those yes with physical actions and choices in the now. That doesn’t mean you aren’t saying no now to certain choices. But by framing it towards the yes you really want, you’ll find it much easier on the journey, and you’ll be more likely to reach such a fulfilling end without regrets.