It’s a really common question that so many of our personal training enquiries ask when they are looking to get started. There are soooooo many diets and weight loss programs out there, hey? You’ve got the old school favourites like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. Then you’ve got detox diets, raw food diets, juice diets, low fat diets, high protein diets, low carb diets – all sorts of stuff.
I’ve been in your shoes – trying to wade through all the information out there and trying to figure out the best approach. All with celebrities (who incidentally will typically have no qualifications in the area) preaching about how fabulous XYZ diet is and how they got back to their pre-baby weight in two weeks with these simple steps. It’s completely mind-boggling.
Most of these diets drastically reduce calories and particular food groups or even worse, eliminate them all together. And you know what almost always happens when you put yourself on one of these highly restrictive diets? I’m sure it’s happened to you a number of times, it sure has happened to me. You feel restricted, you try to be ‘good’, resist the temptation. I mean how else will you ever achieve your goals if you don’t cut out carbs? Within a week (often much sooner), we give in to what we are so desperately wanting. We think we’ve stuffed it all up and stop the diet. We feel like we’ve failed and we feel even worse about ourselves than we did before we started. Then we think we should start some other diet.
Those who stick to the diet and manage to lose weight will almost always slip back to where they were over a period of time, often regaining all the weight they lost plus a bit more. If you think about it, if any of these diets really were the answer to all our problems, no one would have weight related issues. We’d all lose the excess weight and the weight loss industry would collapse.
What I always suggest is to find a way of eating that works for you. Don’t try to copy your best friend or your favourite celebrity. Maybe whatever they are preaching to you does work for them and that’s great for them but it might not work for you. Everyone is different.
I would strongly urge you to consult with a dietitian before you even consider restricting any food groups from your diet. In almost all cases, with the exception of food allergies and intolerances, it’s really unnecessary and can be quite unhealthy. Most of all, these types of restrictions are just not sustainable. You may be able to stick to them in the short term but you can’t stick with them long term.
It’s all about eating in a way that makes you feel strong and healthy and you can stick to long term. Quick fixes just don’t work.
My top tips:
- Avoid thinking about particular foods as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – they are all just foods. I prefer to think about things in terms of ‘sometimes’ foods and ‘occasional’ foods.
- Unless it’s necessary for medical reasons, avoid eliminating any foods from the mix. All things in moderation.
- Think about what would really satisfy you when you are ready for a meal or snack.
- Slow down and really enjoy whatever you’ve decided to eat. There’s no rush.
- Eat when you’re hungry. Sometimes we eat for other reasons, and that is okay but for the most part, think about whether you are really hungry before you eat. Sometimes we eat based solely on the time on the clock or because we’re bored. This works both ways, if you’re hungry, legit physically hungry, you should have something to eat!
Focus on yourself and how YOU feel eating in different ways. Find a way that works for you, fills you with energy and most importantly, you can continue long term as part of your overall lifestyle. It’s YOUR journey and no two people are the same.
I highly recommend a book by Dr Rick Kausman, “If not dieting, then what?“, if you’re looking to learn more about mindful and intuitive eating. It will really change the way you think about eating.