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Changing Mindset from “I can’t” to “I choose not to”

Lifestyle Changes and Mindset: "I can't" vs. " I choose not to"

Choices. We make them every minute of every day. From what clothes we wear, to how we spend our time and money, to what we consume. Every choice we make affects the quality of our lives. When choosing what to eat, we get to choose to nourish our bodies one plate of food at a time.

Read on as RESTART® Instructor, Jennifer Dillman, shares her strategies for making conscious food choices from a place of “I am CHOOSING not to have this or that right now,” along with the some tips and strategies that support a healthy relationship with food and lifestyle changes. 

It’s late. You’ve been busy all day. Always on the run, you don’t feel like you have time to regularly prepare wholesome, nutrient-dense home cooked meals. But you’re hungry, and the family wants dinner.  I get it! I work full time, my husband works two jobs, and we have 8 children still at home. The struggle is real to eat healthy in the midst of our busy lives, and have money left over at the end of the month! 

You’re saying, “Help!” And a few years ago, I was too.  

These past few years have led me on an incredible health journey; reversing several chronic conditions and losing 50 pounds. Today, I am very careful about the foods I allow into my body. My recovery has come at too high a cost to let it slide for a greasy slice of pizza or some French fries.  Thankfully, that junk food is no longer appealing to me. Now, even when I eat out, I choose the most beautiful, nourishing food that I can find and that I can afford. I delight in the selections that I know will help my body be its healthiest, not the foods that will drag me down.

I used to tell myself that I deserved “treats” and junk food. When “treats” and junk food wreck your mental, emotional and physical performance, they’re not treats. I have learned to say to myself, “I deserve healthy, nutrient dense, yummy foods!” (Repeat after me, read it out loud, proclaim at the top of your lungs: “I DESERVE HEALTHY, NUTRIENT DENSE, YUMMY FOODS!”) 



So often, when I’m dining out with others, they end up wishing they’d ordered my meal! Why? Because they can see my food makes me feel clean, energized and in charge (plus, it’s usually full of bright, beautiful colors!). This takes forethought and a little bit of courage. Making specific requests in a restaurant can seem a little off-putting. For example, asking to replace the pasta with veggies. But if they want your business, they will provide what you are requesting.


Throwing together a healthy lunch in the morning (or the night before) takes way less time (and money) than going through some junky drive thru.

Will you spend more on healthy food?  Maybe. But you might not have to spend as much on pain medications, prescription drugs, doctors’ visits or time lost from work. Your food choices will make you measurably healthier. And happier!

The key to success is keeping the right things on hand. 

My mental, emotional and physical performance is worth the investment. So is yours! It starts at the grocery store. But it gets real in the pantry! I’m very careful about what I bring into the house. If I only have healthy ingredients in my kitchen, I’m forced to make healthy food (if I want to eat).


Traveling can be tricky.  I have to go on a business trip next month, so I started checking out the area, looking for places where I can find good food. (It helps to scout out the area in advance.)  Pictures posted of local food choices all appear to be varying shades of brown, fried food. Disappointing. In the past, I would have simply said, “Oh well. Not my fault. Guess I’ll just have to eat junk that week.”  Empowered now to think differently, I figured out a strategy that will work for me. I know I can find something healthy at nearly any grocery store, so I chose to stay at a place where I can cook for myself.


To begin to make some changes for yourself, think about the things that you’re currently eating and consider how you could make that meal a little bit healthier. Choose one incremental adjustment. A baby step. Then work on the next meal.  And the next. Change your attitude. Choose beautiful, real food. Slow down and savor it. Over time, the right choices will come easily and automatically.

A note from the RESTART® program:

When taking part in something like The RESTART® Program, it can feel overwhelming to make changes to what you eat. We completely understand that and your Instructor is here to support you every step of the way! What makes it worthwhile is how you begin to feel in a very short time; renewed energy, better sleep, clothes getting looser, mental clarity, clearer skin and more as you truly begin to understand how the food you eat affects you. That’s empowering and motivating to help you keep making those better choices.

Rather than thinking and saying things like, “I can’t have this or that” or “I’m not allowed to have this or that,” switch to, “I am CHOOSING not to have this or that right now.” The first is coming from a place of deprivation. To say that you are CHOOSING puts you in a position of control. It is empowering. Of course you can have that candy or bread, but you are CHOOSING NOT TO at this time…If you start feeling deprived, switch your focus to what you CAN have and thoroughly enjoy THOSE choices, knowing that your body is so thankful. 

Simply put, today’s thoughts become tomorrow’s actions…

It’s all about attitude, planning, and preparation. Remember why you are doing this.

Jennifer Dillman is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and a RESTART® instructor. You can find out more about her and her practice at

Lifestyle Changes and Mindset: "I can't" vs. " I choose not to"

Category: Information, Mindset

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