I think I’ve followed over 40 diets in my lifetime.
Considering that my ‘dieting life’ has only spanned about 10 years, that’s about 4 diets a year. That means I was on a NEW diet, every three months!
Looking back, it seems almost impossible that I could have dieted that much. Thanks to Google and the ever-chugging weight loss industry machine, there was never a shortage of options. A new fad diet would always surface. Then, an abundance of health and wellness information that debunked the most recent diet I picked up would suddenly flood all my go-to resources. And it was all positioned to make me question and doubt everything I did, leaving me feel more desperate than ever before.
So if you’re feeling like this – believe me – you’re not alone. Which is why in this post, I’m going to give you my top three tips to tap out of the weight loss industry craziness and tap into your own intuition and FINALLY figure out what works best for you.
What Does Your Life Actually Look Like?
Are you a culinary wiz in the kitchen? Or would you rather pick up your phone and order in, then pick up a frying pan and make yourself dinner? Do you have tons of time to devote to your diet? Or do you barely cook as it is, and can’t imagine having to cook healthy meals every week?
Your diet should be selected based on what will suit your CURRENT lifestyle – not your ‘this is how I’m going to be on my diet’ lifestyle. That means, that if you can barely find the time to cook now, starting a diet that involves a lot of research and recipe following to ensure that you’re doing it correctly, like Whole 30 or Paleo, likely won’t suit your limited time schedule.
Ask yourself how much time you have to dedicate to your new diet (realistically) and what will work well with your current lifestyle. Your likelihood of success is dramatically increased if you work with what you already have, instead of trying to implement something that you never had in the first place. There is one caveat to this however: If you eat out often, order in regularly, or eat a diet high in saturated fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates, those habits will have to change if you want to see REAL results.
The rapid growth of meal delivery services now allow us to follow diets without cooking, and still stay on track with their healthy options and choices. So if you struggle with cooking, or with time to cook, these are viable solutions for you to still achieve your desired results.
Build on what you’re already doing.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your new lifestyle. That’s the reason that taking what you’re already doing and building on it, is the best strategy for success. If you enjoy eating meat, if you love carbs, if you drink wine on the weekends – these are all things that should be taken into consideration for your diet, instead of trying to eliminate them in pursuit of results. Be wary of eliminating entire food groups or specific foods strictly for dieting purposes. The moment you’ve reached your goals and you reintroduce those foods, the pounds will return.
This is also a great strategy from a long-term perspective as you can tweak it and evolve it as time goes on. Once you master improving your diet in one area (eating complex carbs and increasing your vegetable and lean protein intake), you can then begin to focus on other areas (exploring dairy-free/grain-free lifestyles or practicing a more plant-based diet).
Another factor that may impact your decision to stay with your current diet is–family. If you’re already cooking for a number of people in your household, having to cook a separate meal for yourself is never a long-term solution. By staying somewhat close to what everyone else is eating, you’ll be able to cook the same things for everyone, and still achieve your goals, effortlessly.
Take a Goldilocks Approach.
This one is too restrictive, this one is too frustrating to keep on top of, this one takes too much time. Each diet comes with it’s own challenges, so be sure to try a few that you think might work for you before you find the diet that is ‘just right’ for you. Choose the diet that you can confidently stay with for the long-term.
The best way to do this, is to stick to the diet of your choice diligently for at least 4-6 weeks. Assess how you are feeling physically, and how well you’re adhering to the structure of the diet. A great tactic to keep track of how you’re doing is to keep a food and mood journal. Record how you feel when you’re on the diet. Are you starving, tired, bloated, bored? How are your bowel movements, etc? This practice will help you better understand from a deeper level (outside of results) what will work for you and what won’t.
Yes, it’s important that a diet gets us results. But what’s even more important is that we’re able to maintain those results for the rest of our lives. Taking the time to tap into yourself and think about what works for you (instead of what will make the scale move) is a fool-proof way of not only achieving your goals and your desired body, but building a lifestyle that will allow you to maintain and thrive.
For more tips and tools on how to find and create diets that last, join my FREE Facebook Group The Nourished Life, a space dedicated to help busy moms and women everywhere heal their relationship with food and build the bodies and lifestyles of their dreams.
With love and nut butter,