By Coach Meredith
Last week, I wanted to start the new year off well rested. This week I want us to take a look at how to fuel our bodies properly. So first and foremost, let me lay this on the table. If you are making a conscious effort to change your nutrition and put nutrient dense foods into your body in order to become healthier and possibly lose weight, IT MUST BE A LIFESTYLE CHANGE…NOT a diet. “Diets” are quick fixes and easily derailed. Here are three reasons why incorporating healthy, daily nutrition habits (aka- lifestyle) and getting rid of diets will be beneficial to your health:
1. Your weight loss and weight maintenance will be realistic and sustainable.
Getting rid of dieting allows you to focus on the proper methods for supplying your body with the energy it needs to function throughout the day as well as a vehicle for fat loss. This can be seen as a balance of the calories you consume with the calories you burn from exercise. If you want to get even more specific, it is a balance of macronutrient content (Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat) at each meal and foods eaten prior to and post exercise. This isn’t necessarily mind-blowing information, but it’s the only method that has been proven by science to be helpful for realistic weight loss and long-term weight maintenance.
For example: If the only calories you consume in one day is 400 calories of green juice, sure you’ll lose weight. You might even maintain that extremely low calorie intake for a few days, but sooner or later, you’ll feel the effects of consistently under eating: dizziness, headaches, fatigue and hangriness. Yes, hangriness. That feeling when you are extremely hungry and the only way you can express it is through anger. These negative feelings can erode your willpower, and you’ll eventually go back to eating as you typically would. Then bam! Those pounds come right back.
Don’t know where to begin? Start by taking a look your current eating habits and make a commitment to swap them for healthier ones. Healthy eating habits are a long-term commitment, which normally does not happen if you’re yo-yo-ing from one diet to another. In addition, yo-yo dieting may have detrimental long-term effects on your health, such as increased risk for certain health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.
2. A balanced diet provides all of the nutrients your body needs
Many diets require you to cut out key food groups, which sets you up for deficiencies of certain nutrients. When you embark on “juice cleanse”, and this is all you eat for an extended period of time, there’s no question you’ll be missing key nutrients.
Even less extreme diets like going gluten-free for weight loss can make your nutrition less optimal. How? Swapping a whole-grain, gluten-containing cereal for a rice-based, gluten-free cereal can reduce how much B-vitamins and fiber you’re getting. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat a nutritionally adequate gluten-free diet; it means you have to be aware of pros and cons of the particular diet.
Whatever it is that you are removing from your diet, think about the consequences from a nutrition standpoint because there usually are consequences. Something will get left behind or replaced and you don’t want it to be nutrients that are critical to your health like protein, vitamins and minerals. Without the confinement of a “diet” that forces you to leave something out, you can be free to enjoy a variety of foods as part of your balanced daily nutritional routine.
3. You will have a healthy, happy relationship with food.
By letting go of diets that spread food fears, you will be embracing a healthier relationship with food. You’ll be happier because you don’t have to constantly worry about what you can and can’t eat. You will be eating a balanced diet the majority of the time, and enjoying all foods in moderation, including a slice of that apple pie you love, without feeling guilty. You will be able to do this because you know how to deal with minor setbacks.
Like all relationships, a healthy relationship with food takes time, and it’s never too late to start. If you’re a chronic yo-yo-dieter, the first step to fixing your relationship with food is to say no to fad diets.
Overdosing on supplements or trying the newest “fat-burn” pill to keep you healthy and at your desired weight is like waiting for pigs to fly. Instead, replace that idea with solid habits of healthful eating and regular exercise. This is the way to live a “diet”-free life forever!
I hope I was able to make it clear that we must make small changes over time in order to take control over our nutritional habits. If you have any questions on “dieting” or need help taking that first step, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Have a healthy week all!