7 Steps to Success (Nutrition): Step 2—Your Non-negotiablesNon-negotiables are either foods or behaviors related to food that you are unwilling to give up for the long term. These are things that are “deal breakers” for you. Things that if you were asked to give up, you are not sure that you could comply without an end in sight.
The Seven Steps to Success with your Nutrition Goals: Step 2—Identify Your Non-Negotiables
What comes after the Visual Food Diary?
Those of you that participated in last week’s challenge have a clear and accurate view of what you are consuming and most likely learned something about your eating habits. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, take a look here:
What comes after the deeply honest look that you took at what, why, when, where, and how you eat? Spoiler alert. This is the most fun step of all.
Step 2 – Identify Your Non-negotiables
What are your non-negotiables?
Non-negotiables are either foods or behaviors related to food that you are unwilling to give up for the long term. These are things that are “deal breakers” for you. Things that if you were asked to give up, you are not sure that you could comply without an end in sight. They are things that bring you joy and happiness. Non-negotiables often change with time and circumstance.
Here are some examples of “non-negotiables” related to food:
- Eat dinner with my family every night and eat the family meal, not my own “special foods”
- Have a beer or two on Sundays while watching football
- Have something sweet after dinner
- Order a meal at a restaurant on occasion and not worry about tracking it
- Eat pizza on occasion
Take some time to think about three of your own non-negotiables. Let’s now imagine fine-tuning, balancing, and budgeting the rest of your diet around accommodating your non-negotiables (within reason, of course).
You will find that once you identify your non-negotiables, you are more willing to make changes with other eating habits in order to preserve what brings you the most joy.
For instance, perhaps your goal is to lose weight, and your non-negotiables are—
- Enjoy a nice restaurant meal for date night one time per week
- Have a glass of wine 3-4x per week
- Eat chocolate every day
What small changes can you make to accommodate your non-negotiables and still make progress toward your weight loss goal?
- Can you eat balanced, healthy, portion-controlled meals at home the other six nights per week?
- Is there another place in your diet that you can cut back slightly to accommodate for the wine calories? Maybe opt for more veggies and less calorie-laden side items at dinner.
- Can you limit the chocolate consumption to one time per day in a quantity of 200 calories or less and not eat any other sweets?
The whole concept of non-negotiables may sound a little bit crazy to you. Diets are supposed to be hard, restrictive, and joyless, right? Sure, if you are following something that is temporary (the results are temporary too). If you want to succeed in the long term and achieve sustainable results, non-negotiables make it a little less difficult, a little less restrictive, and offer a whole lot more joy.