I’ve spoken briefly in the past about diet and fitness not just being about losing a couple of pounds or gaining muscle, but about implementing important lifestyle changes. I can’t stress enough how important this is.
First of all, I don’t believe in dieting for weight loss. I believe in eating healthy and making the right choices for yourself. Dieting is an attempt at a quick fix, and quick fixes don’t work. They don’t teach you how to eat for maintenance, how to take care of yourself, the importance of food as fuel, and what nutritional values need to be met in order to achieve the state of being happy and healthy. What I really love about programs such as the 21 Day Fix is that it teaches you how to eat; not by starving or depriving yourself but by eating in a more balanced way and in the right portions. I think it’s a terrific compromise!
Too often we have unhealthy relationships with food and programming within ourselves set up that often sabotage our efforts to actively engage in a healthy lifestyle. This isn’t something to be ashamed of; this is part of being human. What we are raised with, what we grew up with influences us the most. What foods did we eat as children that made us feel good? What foods do we reach out for when we are sick, stressed, or otherwise not at our best? That’s all programming, and believe it or not, we CAN change that.
Change is scary. We like what’s stable and what’s comfortable. We don’t want to give up foods we enjoy, and many of us have certain foods we’re attached to or otherwise find difficult to give up. My food is chocolate. As a result, I choose to have a breakfast that contains a healthy meal supplement which is chocolate-flavored in order to get my fix, not be deprived, and find a way to have it that’s healthier than binging on chocolate chip cookies, cake, etc.
We can choose to make healthy substitutions versus giving things up. Swap out french fries for baked sweet potato fries, for instance. Instead of a cheeseburger, have a tasty veggie burger instead. I highly recommend Gardein’s Ultimate Beefless Burger. It has an excellent texture, is juicy (something you don’t typically get in a veggie burger!), and incredibly tasty, and it has significantly less calories, less fat, and zero cholesterol. I also love Beyond Meat’s Beefy Burger.
You can also choose to enjoy your foods in moderation versus depriving yourself completely. When eating out, get your favorite slice of cake or pie to go and enjoy a few bites each day. You can even cut it into multiple pieces and have a small piece each day. Think of it as treating yourself. My compromise when eating out where there’s pizza, for instance, is to order a slice of pizza and a salad.
We need to heal our relationships with food before we can achieve our goal of living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Food is necessary; it fuels our bodies for necessary functions and enables us to live, literally! Diets which require severe calorie restrictions and/or are nutritionally deficient may work at first, but ultimately will put your body into starvation mode. Too often people who carry extra weight are yo-yo dieters and eat too much food that lacks nutritional value and nutritional density. 1500 calories of junk food is NOT the same as 1500 calories of healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean sources of high amounts of protein, nor will it be treated as such by your body.
The formula for meeting your fitness goals in my book has always been 40% what you eat, 40% how much of it you eat, and 20% how active you are. 80% of any fitness goal is your diet, and as I blogged about the other day, you don’t need to make drastic changes in order to get drastic results. Small changes over time wins the day!
People need to learn how to eat for the long haul, not for the short term. It means being patient and sticking to a plan that may not give you immediate or fast results, but will lead to better and greater changes down the road.
Need additional help? Looking for advice on your fitness goals? I’m just a click away to become your FREE fitness coach.