I know this is a controversial topic as many people LOVE diets. It's a great excuse to pig-out today, because you're starting a diet tomorrow. If that's you, I get it, you want a quick solution to lose a few pounds, and want to indulge in everything else when you’re not dieting. But let me tell you why I firmly believe that is the wrong approach, and what you can do instead.
I myself tried what seemed like every single diet in my 20’s, and can personally attest to the fact that these fad diets don’t work. They’re short-term solutions, and usually based on too much restriction. Not to mention, you have to keep doing them, or trying new ones, because the results never last! I can't begin to tell you how much time and money I wasted over the years!
Very often the diets provide the foods for you, or they make you count calories (or “points”), but don’t really teach you sustainable healthy habits to continue post-diet. Or they might have you focus on eating specific foods that they claim “help you to burn fat”, but then you end up ignoring a lot of other delicious and healthy foods. And after a while, you naturally give up – you get tired of the small portions or bland food, and lose the energy to keep tracking every food/ingredient/calorie. As a result, you go back to your old ways and the weight that was lost is re-gained.
Even worse, all this yo-yo dieting can do damage to your gut and overall health, especially if you’re not getting enough healthy fats, veggies and fruits on a regular basis.
To lose weight sustainably, you need to learn how to adapt healthier habits into your day-to-day. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- CREATE BALANCE. A little wiggle room within your choice of diet is healthy and realistic. Decide what are your "guilty pleasures" and allow yourself to enjoy them on occasion. And learn to cook your own healthier versions of comfort food to enjoy occasionally, so that you don’t go on a binge.
- APPLY SOME GOLDEN RULES. Yes, I do believe in a few generalizations – for example, everyone should include A LOT (and wide variety) of vegetables and healthy (plant-based) fats in their daily diet. Likewise, everyone should limit refined starches, sugars and processed, factory-farmed meat. Apart from that, work on reducing your stress. Build a regular exercise routine, drink lots of water, practice self-love, and get your 7-9 hours of sleep every day.
- CUSTOMIZE YOUR DIET. After applying the golden rules, there is a lot left to be tailored to your individual body. YOU ARE UNIQUE, and fad diets take a very general approach that won’t provide you with the long-term customized plan that you deserve. Each person needs to find what works for them. Some people do better with no meat, some people do better without gluten, or without dairy, some people need to limit grains & legumes, ETC, but that comes with each person really tuning in to their body and doing some introspection.
- FOCUS ON BOTH THE SHORT & LONG TERM. You need to learn which foods work for you both NOW, AND for the rest of your life. You may adapt for the seasons, but figure out if you feel best being mostly vegan, paleo, or somewhere in between. If you only focus on short-term weight loss, you will miss out on foods that can keep your gut healthy, your skin glowing, and your body free of inflammation.
- COOK! You don't have to be a great chef. Just start experimenting with healthy recipes that appeal to you, and choose a handful that you can make on a regular basis. Eating home-cooked food is always a healthier option, and it's up to you to find meals that appeal to your palate. I promise healthy food can be DELICIOUS, but you need to find out for yourself!
- DETOX. Instead of dieting, I highly recommend doing all the above, and then complementing this with a 7-, 10- or 14-day gentle food-based detox at least twice a year. It's a great way to give your body a reset, clear up any toxins that may have accumulated, and will help you lose those few pounds that may have crept up on you.
So what is the key to getting healthy and losing weight? Take some time to be the CEO of your body. Implement gradual steps in order to get healthier and more fit, and then do some experimentation to see which foods and what routine work best for you. But give it priority because this is your life, and you deserve to feel your best!
If you need support on this journey, I’m here for you. Send me a message here or reply to this email, and I can help you find the eating and lifestyle habits that fit both your short and long term goals.
Love and Long-Term Health,