I love working with people who are frustrated with dieting, and ready to be healthy.
One of the questions I hear a LOT from these clients in the beginning is:
“So, if I want to eat healthy, does that mean that I can NEVER eat (favorite unhealthy food) ever again?”
“I would love to try a plant-based diet, but I could NEVER give up my burgers”.
There is a lot of energy around NEVER.
I think we have a real love-hate relationship with the whole concept of NEVER – and it’s not really doing us any favors.
On the one hand, some people enjoy the certainty and finality of NEVER. It’s clear, it’s concrete, and it makes your decisions really simple.
"I will NEVER eat donuts again". The end.
For other people, though (myself included), the idea of NEVER brings about a stifling, depressing, burdensome feeling that leads to a frantic need to rebel!
As soon as you tell me I can NEVER eat chocolate-chip cookies or a red velvet cupcake…….man, that’s all I want to eat!
Ya see……NEVER is really rigid and unyielding.
And NEVER is also a really long time.
Unless you’re dealing with religious convictions, philosophical convictions, or fatal food allergies, it’s not always realistic or feasible to swear off something forever – even if you have the most solid intentions.
NEVER is a long time.
You set yourself up for feelings of failure and regret if you set the bar at NEVER.
I prefer to keep 'never' in lower-case letters and in quotes.
FOR EXAMPLE: I feel extremely well-informed about the dangers of eating too much sugar. I do whatever I can to make sure that I limit my sugar intake and eat consciously – and I’m pretty vigilant about it.
But I don’t say that I will NEVER eat wedding cake or a sugary treat ever again – because that makes me feel cranky and punished.
Instead, I tell myself that I will 'never' eat lots of sugary crap again – but I leave room for treats and special occasions, or those times when I just really want a bite of peach pie.
And then I’ll go back to my preferred way of eating on the next day.
That’s life. That’s making a conscious choice. That’s leaving myself room to be flexible in response to whatever life puts before me.
NEVER is rigid, unyielding, and blind to special circumstances.
But ‘never’ is forgiving, flexible, and more conducive to the way our lives tend to flow.
It can be scary to let go of NEVER and switch to ‘never’, because ‘never’ makes you more responsible for your choices.
But ‘never’ is sustainable and realistic over the long-term, whereas NEVER is a recipe for rebellion, guilt, and feelings of failure.
Have you imposed any NEVERS on yourself? Does it work for you?
If you’d like to talk more in depth about how you could shift from NEVER to ‘never’ – I’m your gal! Please reach out to schedule a free 30-minute health coaching session with me and we’ll dive in!