So, there are many people in my life who have fallen victim to the old restrictive dieting cycle. They try one diet, fall of the wagon, go back to the way they were for a while and then pick a new one. Whether it’s Paleo, Keto, Atkins, Vegetarian or Vegan… The list goes on.
In the beginning they’re always motivated and enthusiastic about their plans to turn their weight around with one of these restrictive diets. It’s often a few weeks or months in to it, that they begin to find that the diet is just too limiting to sustain. They begin to feel trapped by the restrictions of their eating plan and they’re hesitant to call it quits because they don’t want to feel like failures.
Well, do you know why you feel trapped in that diet?
It’s because you trapped yourself. You trapped yourself by setting limitations that were unsustainable and you had no other choice but to fail at one point, even though succeeding in that diet was beginning to feel like a failure in itself. You failed yourself when you gave your diet a name, rather than just adjusting how you ate in the first place.
When it comes to any diet you should be thinking about sustainability first. Many of these diets can work for you in the short term and hell, some people live the Vegetarian or Vegan lifestyles for a lifetime. That’s cool too! No judgement. If you can sustain your diet for a lifetime and you find it fulfilling, then by all means, go for it.
It is my opinion, that if you are attempting to lead a healthier lifestyle, than it needs to become a lifestyle. Lifestyles are not created over night!
Lifestyles, in order to be sustainable, often need to happen gradually.
Drastic changes to your diet are going to feel shocking and overwhelming, if not now, then in the near future. If you do plan on playing around with very restrictive dieting, then you better have a plan for when you’re going to call it quits. At the very least, choose a date for when you will decide whether you give up or continue with your chosen diet. Give yourself access to an out so that you don’t feel like a failure if you figure out that it’s not for you. Don’t attempt a diet that feels like a nightmare in consuming your willpower, discipline and happiness. You should be improving your health and your happiness!
If you truly want to change your lifestyle and eating habits, start by replacing what you normally eat with healthier options gradually over time and be consistent about it! No steps backwards, only steps forwards! Hell, even add some exercise to the mix.
Don’t eat enough vegetables? Make that a priority.
Do you eat too many processed carbs? (white bread, white rice, white pasta, sugar)
Replace those foods with less processed carbohydrates. (Whole grain breads, brown rice, whole grain pastas and fruits)
Do you drink too much alcohol? Reduce your consumption!
Eat too many red meats in a week? Replace a few meals with poultry, fish and other sources of protein!
Try reading more about healthy eating in general. Stop getting sucked in to these lies that there is one miracle food that is going to change your life forever, a single diet that will solve all of your problems or heaven forbid, a pill that will solve your problems!
Please start to take responsibility for how you decide to eat on a regular basis and I say this with love.
When you are working to become a healthier version of yourself, please think of the bigger picture. The older that we get, the less time we have to start implementing important changes to our every day lifestyles and the less time we have to benefit from leading those healthier lifestyles. So begin today, and start taking those baby steps towards not dieting, but living with your long term health in mind!
Try to eat well 80% of the time and leave yourself open to having fun a few days a week with your old comfort foods. Your entire life doesn’t need to be overly restrictive to be healthy and happy. Just make the majority of your food and lifestyle decisions with your long term health in mind. If treating yourself from time to time helps you to stay disciplined, then by all means, go for it! You’re going to know when you take your privileges too far, and that’s when you need to be prepared to get back on track.
The funny thing is that once you begin to eat healthier and find delicious ways to cook your new-found foods, than you’re going to find it challenging to ever go back to your old ways. Feeling healthy is it’s own reward.
If there was ever a quote to live by, it’s all things in moderation!
And honestly… At times that even includes moderation.
So stop beating yourself up for falling off the wagon with your lifestyle choices, and just do your best to get right back to leading a healthier life. You’re doing this for your future. So never give up and be proud of you for taking that initiative!
Want a type of diet that doesn’t restrict your eating? Take a look at my post on the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
I’m wishing you all healthier, happier and longer lives! ❤
What have your struggles with dieting been like?