One day you gaze into the mirror and make the decision. It is time to do something about the fluff, the extras, the reflection. Or, you receive some unwanted information from your doctor about your health.
And so, it begins….
You begin the hunt, there is a wealth of information to be found on the good ol’ world wide web, and everyone who has a name has input into what is the best way to approach YOUR goals. All the quick fixes, promises and easy tricks. All the varying ways to drop the inches or increase your health. You may think, “golly, there is so much information out there how does one know what is best?” But finally, you find something which resonates with your personality and preconceived notions, and you jump.
Amazing success at the beginning and feeling good about yourself. As time ticks by you figure out, you would rather have your hair plucked out strand by strand than continue down this road of self-deprivation, while watching all your friends and family enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
“Who does this and why? I am just not meant to drop weight or be fit.” Fit Franny can have all the rice cakes and tuna she wants, I’m out”. Well, I am here to tell you the problem started from the very beginning.
I knew you were going to falter.
I saw it coming, way before you even showed a glimmer of non-compliance on your new found one-size-fits-all diet. How? Because they are all the same and lack some very important truths in nutrition. In my head, I always imagine someone putting a bandana over their eyes, spinning around a room filled with diet names pinned on the wall. They keep spinning until they are so dizzy, they finally just stop, open their eyes, and what they see they do! “Oh, this looks good! Bobbie lost 45 pounds on 123 diet, so, I can do it too”. I know folks do not actually participate in such an activity, but you might as well do so. Because they are all the same, and they all set you up for the same fail.
What I always tell people are the first three letters of diet are DIE! And I mean it. I am a dietitian, a foodie, a health conscious nut, whatever you want to label me, and even I could NOT follow some of the plans out there! Heck no, not me. I may desire health and have goals, but just not worth it to me and my quality of life! The diets make promises a mile high, so you do not see the faulty information laced through every one of them. I do not want to use this as a way to bash every single diet one by one, rather I want to share the main reason they are failing you over and over. Every “diet” evokes an unhealthy relationship with food. Period. The end. Each one labels foods as good or bad. Foods you cannot touch, foods which are good and pure and clean.
And this my friends, is wrong.
Rather than labeling foods as toxic and the untouchables, it is better to view them as less and more. You need more of this, less of the non-nutritious. This food is for health and fuel, this food is for fun. Diets label foods completely out of your reach, leading to feelings of self- deprivation. This is an UNHEALTHY relationship with food. You have started down a slippery slope, leading to your inevitable demise on your weight loss or health journey. Yes, you may find health-nut Heather, who does not mind restricting all food additives and sticking to foods from nature only, not touched by man’s hands. But seriously, you were just eating pop-tarts and diet coke for breakfast, do you really think you should attempt what Heather has perfected over the last ____ years???
But what is truly the biggest fail in the dieting approach is food shaming and relationships with food. Another example of this includes diets excluding healthy food groups such as fruit because they have “simple sugars” or grains (preferably whole) because they have “too much carb”. They are labeling delish, power packed foods as something out of reach and you cannot maintain this for a lifetime. You may be able to do it for a short period of time, but no one has the will power to change everything about themselves overnight to follow a strict food-shaming regimen.
Instead, I have a proposal for you.
What if you take away the strong labeling and begin to view some foods as fuel and others as fun? What if you do not change everything overnight, instead you take one step at a time toward the health driven choice rather than the fun, just because choice? With every day, week, and month, a step closer to your desires and goals? What if you follow a lifestyle rather than a diet????? How about instead of shoving everything you can find in your pantry into your mouth the day before you start your “diet”, you do not view those foods as toxic and untouchable, just continually minimize the amount eaten until you realize, another truth. When you eat those foods, it makes you feel poorly, because you have been selecting the nutritious choice more often than not now, and can actually tell a difference in how your body performs. It is kind of like going to a gas station who has the good fuel, and your car runs top notch. Then you are low on time and funds, so you pour in some of the gas from the station you know makes your car sputter and complain. You are going to change your route and agenda, just so you can always put the quality stuff in your car, because you want it to run well… it is the same with your body.
Do not shame, do not label. Learn.
Learn what a healthy lifestyle and nutrition pattern looks like, increase your knowledge of which foods are just for fun! When you have healthy relationship with food, you are far less likely to have feelings of deprivation and then experience rebound weight gain when you slip for a day or a week. Progress may be slower than the promise of a twenty pound weight loss in a month, but with your new found way of thinking, progress will be continual. And eventually you will look in the mirror and the person starring back at you is comfortable in their own skin, happy and healthy.
“Ditch the diet. Learn the lifestyle.”
Your Local Dietitian
PS. If you need a place to start but have little in the budget, please consider the Foodie Club section of this site! I have designed it with you in mind! I want to help you find your healthy! I cannot wait to help you on your journey to a new lifestyle!