When it comes to food, commit to lasting health. The word “diet” tends to evoke thoughts of food restriction. Almost immediately cravings and a sense of loss set in. With most diets, temporary desired results (weight loss) may be evident, but so may increased hunger and poor health habits. (What happens when you go off the chocolate brownie flavored weight loss shake?) Or, maybe you’ve sworn yourself to small plates of salads for lunch after skipping breakfast. You’re temporarily starving yourself rather than overeating. It’s a matter of time before you return to previous eating patterns. What about common sense, good-for-you eating habits?
If you’re seeing a doctor, run it by them. This is my take:
- Dump the diet. Pick-up lifestyle changes. It’s not new information, but information seemingly put aside in favor of restaurants and processed meals. The non-diet is all about changes that’ll lead to lifelong healthy habits, and ultimately improvements.
- Skip the scale. It’s not about the amount you need to lose. It’s about forming healthy, lasting habits. This includes eating mindfully. It doesn’t mean you have to eat rare or organic foods. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a hassle.
- Move it. This doesn’t mean you have to run a race, or walk The Walk. If you don’t have weights at home, pick up two soup cans, or bags of flour, or potatoes. Find a weight you can lift with some challenge, and use it. Weights are good for bone health and muscle-building. Get some cardio activity in your life. Don’t have a dog? Maybe your friend or neighbor does. Go with them on a walk. Hike, bike, swim. Get your heart talking happy-talk to you. It’ll help build your endurance and lung capacity.
- Focus on your health — not the lack of it. When you focus on healthy physical, mental and spiritual care of your body, your body feels it and responds. Think, “what can I do?” versus “what must I decrease?” or “what do I have to give up?” If you think, “I need to give up fats, sugars and alcohol” you’ll feel deprived, and it becomes a diet, not a lifestyle — and it won’t last. Instead, pay attention to adding healthy aspects into your life. Drinking more water. If you don’t like plain water, add a bit of lemon, or cucumber, or a sprig of mint. Focus on attaining five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Think of the variety of fruits and vegetables there are to eat! If you don’t like a certain food, that’s fine—find another one, or another way to prepare it. Try something new. Talk to people about easy ways to prepare it.
- Eat slowly. Chew. Chew. Chew. Mellow out. Eating isn’t a race. Give your body a treat to experience the meal.
- Love yourself unconditionally. Many people are overweight because they’re trying to hide an aspect of themselves. Appreciate your body! It does wildly amazing things for you. Breathing, heart beat, eyes blinking, eyelashes, nose and ear hairs to help keep dirt out. Taste buds! Glorious taste buds.
Commit to changing from diets to lasting health. Don’t try to do-it-all at once. Get good in one area, when it becomes a habit, add another aspect.