Have you ever made one of these statements?
“I’ll start Monday”
“I’ve already ruined my diet now – might as well carry on”
“Oh go on then it’s the weekend”
“I’ll have that for my cheat-meal”
“Might as well have both”
“I shouldn’t have eaten that”
These are all terms I hate, and if you have said one of them, then chances are that you have an unhealthy relationship with certain foods. Food is there to be enjoyed, yet the foods that so many of us LOVE aren’t actually being enjoyed by us whilst we eat them.
With basic weight loss rules, we all know that to lose weight you need to take in less calories than you’re expending, yet so many of us forget this basic fact. I’ll give you an example:
Wednesday… 1200 calories
Friday …1200 calories
Ok this might be a bit extreme, but you get my gist and we’ve all seen a similar pattern & perhaps been guilty of doing it ourselves (I know I have!).
The reason I think things like this happen is because we see dieting as something you need to be extreme with. You may be “clean-eating”, “juicing”, “paleo” “weight watchers”, “Atkins” “Low GI” (the list goes on!). Each Monday (the magic diet day) the cupboards get stocked with everything we need & we set off on our new diet mission.
I’m not saying that these are bad forms of dieting, as some people get some really good initial results on these diets, but how sustainable are they? Do they work for people long term? & what happens when something unexpected comes up? Do you smuggle your green detox juice into a restaurant with all your girlfriends? Or do you crack out your Tupperware at that family wedding meal? No – Chances are one of two things happen:
- You fall off the diet wagon, over indulging in more than you probably would’ve done had you not been on said diet in the first place.
- You actually DO crack out your juice or Tupperware and then feel like you’re missing out on what everyone else is doing.
I am sure some of us have tried to be that person who is that “clean eater” who shovels down chicken, sweet potato & broccoli all week but then on CHEAT DAY we may go a little bit crazy. Cheat day may all of a sudden turn into a large Domino’s pizza, ALL the sides and washed down with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
Now where’s the logical sense in eating food you might not enjoy all week with a view to lose weight to then completely undo that calorie deficit you’ve worked so hard to create in one foul swoop on a weekend? Also, do you think this compulsion to really “go to town” on your cheat day is being caused by over restriction or lack of satisfaction coming from your repetitive diet during the week? Perhaps the diet you’ve been following all week has been too extreme & too far away from your regular lifestyle?
Consequently, by following this approach we create a vicious cycle where you end up feeling like you have failed for breaking your diet & then not enjoying that food that you’ve been longing for all week when you finally “cave” & overindulge at the weekend. This guilt then causes you to adopt another dramatic strategy for Monday & the cycle continues…..
Instead, wouldn’t it be much nicer to have a balanced approach where when you go out for that meal on a Friday night or when you ordered that takeaway you recognised it and actually took the time to savour it, finishing the meal thinking “that was great” rather than “I shouldn’t have had that”?
Consistency is key when it comes to weight loss. By setting small, realistic goals & making small, gradual changes that doesn’t completely overhaul your current lifestyle you are much more likely to stay on track, be consistent and remain satisfied. Therefore standing a much better chance of adhering to your diet & losing that weight you’ve been trying to shift.
We want you to make your diet work for you, your goals & most importantly what you like to eat! I cannot say it enough food is there to be enjoyed yet there are so many yo-yo dieters spending way too much time coming up with fancy & restrictive ways to make ourselves feel better for overeating foods that we probably wouldn’t overeat had we not demonised them in the first place!
Don’t get me wrong, ultimately if you want to lose weight there’s going to be an element of restriction but it doesn’t have to be as restrictive as you think. Yes there might be times in my diet when my food is more restricted and I might make different choices to ensure I get a decent volume of food for my calories. For example, if I have a short-term goal I am aiming for, then meals out in restaurants will become much less frequent, but ultimately nothing is off limits & I am free to make that choice.
I’m not saying you should immediately adopt this approach because you may have achieved some significant success with what you are doing currently. But if anything I’ve written above sounds like you then next time you decide you’re starting your “diet” ask yourself these questions:
– Why am I starting this?
– What am I hoping to achieve?
– How much of a change do I need to make to my current lifestyle?
-Is that change realistic?
-Am I going to be able to be consistent?
-Does this diet fit around my everyday lifestyle?
-How long can I keep this up for?
If you can think these things through beforehand you’re in a much better position for success & next Monday you could be admiring your results instead of starting your next diet!