Now before everyone starts sending me emails and threatening to burn me at the stake, hear me out. There is an underlying message behind the title of this blog, I promise!
So, let’s talk about dieting in a bit more depth. The actual definition of the word diet is: The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. What word sticks out in that definition? Habitually. Our diet consists of the foods that we habitually eat every day. The things we drink are included. The second thing I want to focus on is what the word “diet” infers in today’s culture. When we hear that someone is dieting or is on the latest fad diet, it infers that it is short term. People go on a diet to assist in achieving a goal, with the general intention of stopping the diet once they have achieved that goal. I personally take offense to that method of thinking. This is why.
An astounding percentage of our population is overweight and the signs only tell us that it will get worse. However, 60% of people attempt to do something about their health in one way or another. The problem is that only a small percentage of that 60% will adhere to their changes and sustain the results on a long term basis. Obviously, there are a lot of variables that go into whether a person can maintain their results or not, but for the sake of this conversation we will focus on our eating habits.
Many health professionals, along with myself, focus on creating lifestyle changes in our clients. Personally, I believe that although radical changes will certainly do the job of shaking things up from the status quo, they don’t adequately prepare us for long term health and balance. For example, if someone goes on a diet in order to lose 20 pounds and they achieve that goal in 90 days, but then they go back to how they were living and eating before then it is only a matter of time before they are right where they started. How many of us have attempted a diet and gained nominal results only to stop the diet and relapse? The truth is, most fad diets set us up for failure. They promise the world in a very short period of time without considering long term effects. So the question remains, if dieting doesn’t work, then what does?
Simply put, having a realistic perception of the process necessary to achieve your individual goal along with a detailed, time-sensitive plan for small changes along the way to achieve health and balance on a long term basis. What the heck does that mean?! It means that we have to go against our own nature when it comes to weight loss. It won’t come easy, it won’t be simple, and it won’t happen as quickly as we would like it to. So I ask, would you rather lose 30 pounds in 90 days and gain it all back in 60, or would you rather lose 30 pounds in 150 days and keep it off? It is the epitome of delayed gratification. By making small changes in our daily eating habits along the way and focusing on the goal with a realistic perception of the process, we will set ourselves up for success and drastically increase the sustainability of our new lifestyle.
Dieting is short term. Short term success doesn’t always promote long term sustainability. My challenge to you is to reevaluate your eating habits. Write them down and look for small changes that you can make that are realistic to adhere to. It is simply a matter of choices and making those choices consistently to create a habit. If you can replace enough bad habits with good ones then you will see results, you won’t kill yourselves trying to maintain a diet regimen, and you will have a much higher chance of sustaining your achievements long term.
There are things we can control and things we can’t. What we eat and when we eat are things we absolutely have control over. Make sure you keep it that way, don’t let eating have control over you.
Have an amazing week!