There is a fear surrounding living a healthy lifestyle - having to eat small salads all day, never getting to eat your favorite sweets, missing out on birthday cake and being downright miserable and hungry ALL day, right?
If I had to do the above I would NOT enjoy life and would be moody and STARVING!
A Healthy Diet is NOT all-or-nothing
The more you vow to eliminate chocolate, cookies, pizza, etc. from your diet completely, the harder it will be to stick to and the more likely you are to fail. This is what people mean when they say, "Diet's Don't Work."
The Old Diet Model is Extinct
You “start your diet” on this date and then go hardcore for 12 weeks, no cheats, no going off-plan and when you are done, if you survived, you return to your "normal" food. Sound familiar?
If you can not imagine yourself eating a specific "diet" for the rest of your life, it is NOT the diet for YOU!
Small Habits and Creating a Lifestyle.
Yes, you will have to start making better choices with your food overall if you want to lose weight, keep it off and benefit from more energy and a healthier body, but forming small habits is FAR more important than crash dieting to lose the weight FAST, followed by a binge eating session and gaining all the weight back, and then some.
Seriously, what's wrong with just getting breakfast down for a few months and not even worrying about "dieting". We are what we repeatedly do, so start forming a habit you feel you can follow through for a lifetime. Even if it's simply buying a better brand of yogurt.
Instead of extreme dieting and eliminating food choices completely, try something new: moderation, consistency and patience.
I recently received this question from a member:
"I have always been a bit confused on where to focus with regard to carbs, fat, calories, etc. I know that I have always been a sucker for sweets and carbs so I am trying to eliminate the bad sweets and limit the carbs a bit, especially those empty ones. It is so difficult in the stores to chose what to buy and what's best. There are so many choices."
Does this confusion sound like you? It IS difficult in stores to chose what is best to buy and it IS overwhelming with every brand striving for your attention.
Here's what to do - pick 1 or 2 of your most commonly purchased items-like yogurt and bread. Take the time to find a healthy alternative ON JUST THOSE 2 ITEMS. When it becomes automatic to purchase those brands, you can move on to the next item(s). Slowly but surely, the bad food starts to rotate out of your house, and good food starts coming in. This also helps you from going broke trying to replace everything at once.
Is this an overnight solution, i.e. crash diet lose the weight fast? No. It is, however, a great way to create a healthy lifestyle and permanently lose the weight without feeling starved and deprived.
The cravings for sweets will start to reduce as you start to add more protein and fats into your diet, and eat at regular intervals, reducing blood sugar spikes, but you don't have to give them up completely. Finding healthy alternatives to your favorite treats is ideal, but you CAN still have your favorite treats, factor them in to your daily "macros" and still have a lean, healthy body.
What are Macros and how to I keep my favorite foods in my diet and still rock a kick-ass body?
Macros (short for macronutrients) are carbohydrates, protein and fats; foods your body needs in large amounts (as opposed to micronutrients, vitamins/minerals, which our body needs in smaller amounts.)
Flexible Dieting (i.e. counting your macros) helps you meet your daily carb, protein and fat goals while still allowing for a few of your favorite treats. Since your body needs a certain amount of protein, carbs and fats daily, you can choose your sources, or what types of foods you prefer to eat to meet those goals. An example would be instead of choking down dry chicken and broccoli, you can opt for Roasted Turkey and Almond Date Coconut Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, or instead of egg whites and oatmeal, you can opt for a turkey bacon and egg sandwich. Add a few tablespoon of ice cream to your post workout protein shake as a quick carb source one day instead of white rice in your post workout meal...you get the idea. The options are more flexible.
For more infomation on flexible dieting and macros, checkout the Complete Guide to Macros and Carb Cycling.
Body transformation is not about the information; it’s about the implementation.
One piece of candy does not make you fat just like one salad does not make you skinny.
Here are 3 tricks to help you be consistent and mindful when it comes to your trigger foods and avoiding binge eating:
1) Be mindful and know your triggers.
Many people don’t even know when they are ACTUALLY hungry or having a TRUE craving. Being mindful helps us actually feelhunger, actually feel when we are having a craving, then gives a tiny bit of time to formulate a plan to deal with it. Mindfulness takes practice honing in on your physical sensations of hunger and cravings throughout the day.
Know your triggers. If you are the type of person to stress-eat an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting, don't keep peanut butter in the house. If you eat the entire box of girl scout cookies, don't buy girl scout cookies. Late night binges are often stress related so plan a time to do yoga, meditation, a long relaxing run or a planned treat that is accounted for in your calories. Finding a healthy, satisfying alternative will really help. It may be a homemade bar, cookie or healthy brownie. Ask youself, “What are my trigger times?” and then tomorrow, hone in on those times. Once you can tease out those sensations, you have a better chance of making a better choice.
2) Learn to be okay with moderation, and then use it to break the all-or-nothing dieting trap.
One reason we fail on diet after diet is because when we can’t be perfect, we give up - whether that’s in 2 hours, 2 days or 2 months.
So instead of trying to eat PERFECTLY because “it’s Monday,” deliberately include a few moderate foods into your daily diet -cream in your coffee, cheese and bacon on your salad, a protein bar; have a few planned preemptive cheats, aka. lesser treats to take the edge off and help prevent you from getting the point of a total binging later on.
3) Intermittent Sampling (Practiced “Willpower”)
The idea is to be able to control your cravings and use a moderate approach to feel satisfied with less. Not eating an entire sleeve of cookies or 5 protein bars in a row takes practice. Intermittent Sampling is a PRACTICE in moderation. You have topractice NOT eating the whole thing.
For example, get out a protein bar and eat 1/3 of it, get the taste and put the rest back into the cabinet or into your purse. Then, go do something for AT LEAST 10 minutes. If you are still thinking about the bar, go back and eat another third. Then put it back. This time, wait AT LEAST 20 minutes and if you still want more, go back and finish it. Over time, more often than not, you will be able to take a third or a half and forget about the rest until later.
This is an example of tasting everything and binging on nothing, and if you want to eventually break the dieting cycle of being “on” or “off” your diet, you have to find ways to feel satisfied more often on less, and build your resiliency. You can do this with any food that you tend to overeat.
So let's begin: 1. Practice 2. Create small habits 3. Go enjoy your life!