“A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”
There is an over-saturated market when it comes to diet plans…from respected physicians to the latest Name-a-State Housewife. Most of them promise unbelievable weight loss in record time. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. We are a “I wanted it last week” society…no one seems to want to wait for anything or do the work required to achieve anything. These diets are perfect for Americans…all hat and no cattle, as we say in Texas, meaning it looks good, but there is no substance.
A safe weight loss goal is a couple of pounds a week. On a well balanced food plan, that is 32 pounds in four months…a nice chunk of weight gone and in not much time! The reason I like the phrase ‘food plan’ better than ‘diet’ is because a diet connotes a temporary solution that is not going to stand the test of time. A food plan is a routine of eating that you can live with a lifetime.
If one food plan worked for everyone, there would only be one ‘diet’ out there. Our bodies do the same things, but in different ways as individual as our fingerprints. As an expression of our genetics, we digest, metabolize and eliminate in a way uniquely us. One program could never hope to work for all the genetic variants out there.
What do you like to eat? Eat that way with the highest quality ingredients you can afford. Study the effects of GMO foods, trans-fats, processed and packaged goods that have been highly ‘refined’. Eat as close to nature as possible. “If it comes from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” – Michael Pollan.
The problem with diets is the mid-set they create. When you go on a diet, you are thinking that you can never have that certain food again…so you actually obsess about it, crave it even more than you did before you started the diet, and – yes – you end up binging on that food. This does not lead to a change in your relationship with the food…it makes it worse. The goal is to learn to rethink food and your attachment to it. Allow yourself one day a week when you can have what you want even if it’s not the best choice for you. Don’t call it a ‘cheat day’. Call it your “80/20” day. That gives you permission to eat as you wish. It sets the routine that this is not an every day event. It sets the boundaries for you…20% of the time. When you know you can have your favorite dessert or starchy carb again next week, it eases your thoughts about your food plan and takes the choke collar off your neck. You don’t have to binge or cheat on that food because you are going to have it again in a few days! Plus now . there are many healthy options when it comes to your comfort food…gluten-free, stevia or honey instead of white sugar and so forth.
Clean food, fresh and as close to the earth as possible. Don’t set yourself up for failure with a mind-set of lifetime depravation. Create a routine…that will save you when you hit a wall and need something on which to fall back. Having a realistic goal helps you stay with your plan. Get a coach or accountability partner if necessary. Decide you are worth whatever effort you need to put in to achieve your dreams!