Hands up if you can relate to this;
“On Monday (next week/next month/New Years Day – delete as applicable) my new diet is going to start and this time I’m going to stick with it. It’s going to be different this time.”
Mid-morning on the first day of diet; cravings kick in for foods you’ve suddenly eliminated and been told you’re not allowed to have.
End of the first week of the diet, you may or may not have lost weight but how do you feel? Really feel? Are you happy? Are you satiated when you eat? Do you still have a mid-afternoon slump? Are your cravings more intense than they were before?
Does this all sound familiar? It does to me, although I’ve never needed to lose a huge amount of weight I have tried various diets to shift a few pounds and here is what I found. I felt deprived. Everything that I had been told I couldn’t eat I wanted, I lacked energy and focus and the most I lasted was a month as it just wasn’t sustainable.
And this is where the problem lies for a lot of these diets, they are not sustainable. As soon as you tell yourself you can’t have something you want it, it’s a bit like when you’re up high and someone says ‘don’t look down’, you immediately look down! Counting calories, weighing foods, checking how many points something is worth is not sustainable long term in my eyes. Not to mention the shame and guilt people feel when the diets fail.
Now, I just want to mention here that there are some who have had wonderful successes with diet plans/clubs which I think is brilliant. However, my problem with these classes/plans is that as soon as a person stops attending the weight starts creeping on, they then have to pay money to re-join and attend the classes again. It’s actually like it’s set up for people to fail if they stop attending the classes so the company makes money as the person has to re-join! Strange huh?!
My other problem with these plans is that a majority of the ‘allowed’ foods are beige! I’m not a huge fan of beige food (except hummus) and scrolling through social media and looking at some of the meals for these plans I was struck by the lack of colour and variety of foods. And don’t get me started on meal replacement bars!
I truly believe in eating real whole foods. We all know the majority of processed food is bad for us and full of rubbish and chemicals that our body doesn’t recognise or know what the hell do to with (but that’s a topic for another blog post). Eating foods your grandparents recognised, foods which are vibrant in colour is how I believe we should be eating; not masses of beige crap made in a factory and/or lab.
So if you have told yourself that you’re starting a new diet on Monday (New Year etc) please don’t. Instead tell yourself your aim each week is to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into each meal. Make time to sit and eat mindfully, either alone or with your family. Make an intention to eat healthfully. And remember, if you have a chocolate biscuit or a bag of crisps it is ok. It is one biscuit or one bag of crisps. Each meal (or snack) is an opportunity to incorporate more healthful foods into your meals.
So maybe it’s time we stop counting calories, points and weighing our food but start counting how many different varieties of fresh real foods we can incorporate into our daily life.
If this is an area you struggle with or would like to know more, please feel free to contact me here to book a free consultation.