Healthy Food Story  >  Does Your Health Need A Few Shades of Grey?

Does Your Health Need A Few Shades of Grey?

Shades of GreyMost “get healthy” plans start with a virtuous proclamation. It may sound something like:

“I’m never, ever, ever, ever going to eat sugar again.” “I’m going to hit spin class every day – without fail!” “I’ve completely sworn off my morning latte… forever.”

And, inevitably these thoughts backfire. Sometimes it takes months, weeks or even mere days to break your own promise.

The reason?

These statements are black and white. And healthy living is never black and white. It has many, many shades of grey.

Setting these extreme standards for your healthy lifestyle almost guarantees an epic failure, leaving you riddled with guilt and shame because you “cheated,” by not sticking with your well-meaning intentions.

Here’s what I know:

You can be healthy and at peace by softening your standards. (tweet this!)

This isn’t giving in or giving up.

It’s being realistic about what you can achieve, right away.

It’s silencing your inner critic, because you’re not adhering to a 100% perfect way of living.

It’s feeling better about your choices, most of the time.

And, it’s creating a benchmark to appreciate your accomplishments and pave the way for success. Every single step counts.

“I avoided the office candy jar for the third time in a row? Bravo!” “I woke up early to pound the pavement twice this week? Yes!” “I started the day with hot water and lemon? Feeling good.”

Relish in the “grey” and take a moment to recognize your victories. You’ll be inspired to move forward and make consistently better choices, almost effortlessly.

Added bonus? There’s no room for guilt in this scenario.

TAKE ACTION: Let’s celebrate together. Share one small step you were proud to accomplish this week in the comments below. I’ll be cheering you along the way!


  • lily says:

    Love this Elise! With the exception of navigating my food sensitivities, I fully embrace the greys of my eating habits. Eating with awareness, paying attention to how my body feels, and indulging in what I’m in the mood for and how much it wants has helped me maintain roughly the same weight for over 15 years.

    Side benefit: you enjoy your treats a whole lot more when they aren’t something to feel guilty about and by default, you end up eating less of them 🙂

    • Elise says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your “recipe” for success. It’s so true that when you give yourself the permission and ditch the guilt, the “forbidden” food loses that power…and you can actually enjoy even just a little bit. Love your approach:).

  • Emma says:

    I agree with this whole-heartedly. I think our society encourages the all or nothing mentaility. I know I struggle with it, but I am so much happier when I approach health day by day and step by step. Thanks for this awesome post.

    • Elise says:

      I am so glad that this message resonated with you. So many of us have that all or nothing mentality, but your day-by-day and step-by-step approach is definitely a more sane way to live.

  • Carol says:

    I’m proud of myself for noticing that I wanted a cappuccino to feel better emotionally, and didn’t stop at the cafe to buy one. I acknowledged my sadness and went to hot yoga class instead. I’m also happy that when I had the thought that I wanted a piece of raw chocolate, sitting right in my cupboard, I remembered how my stomach hurt two days ago when I ate some, and that I had difficulty falling asleep that night. I chose to have my body feel good rather than operate under the fantasy that I really wanted some because it tastes good for a few seconds in my mouth.

    • Elise says:

      Thank you for sharing here! It must feel so empowering to make decisions that you know will feel good in your body beyond the few seconds when the food is in your mouth. Your response is very inspiring:).

  • Stefanie says:

    Instead of running on the treadmill tonight, I allowed myself to simply walk. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have done it at all!

  • Great advice. I’m so guilty of trying to take the big leaps and failing. I have noticed when I take small steps and relish in my mini victories I’m much more likely to succeed. This goes way beyond health and can be applied to any goal in life.

    • Elise says:

      I agree with you that this is really a winning formula in many different contexts, not just health! Thank you for sharing your wisdom here.

  • claire says:

    I love the metaphors of being in the “grays”. I stay away from gluten most 99% of the time, but occasionally, I can’t say no to a slice of the most heavenly gourmet pizza in my neighborhood.

  • Sarah Koszyk says:

    I LOVE grey area! This post is a perfect reminder to celebrate our successes. I definitely fall into the category of being a hard critic on myself. Remembering what I did do that was positive is very important. Thanks for the reminder! I’m proud to have finished writing the first chapter of my book. Many more chapters to go but I’m heading in the right direction and it’s all good.

    • Elise says:

      Congratulations on writing the first chapter of your book! That’s huge…and a big reason to celebrate, even before the book is complete.

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