Updated: Mar 31
Have you been on the dieting rollercoaster? You wake up one day and decide you’re going to change the way you eat, become healthier, lose all of your fat, and live a happy life. But, a week, two weeks, three weeks into your “diet” (if you’ve made it that far), you get discouraged because you’ve lost NO weight, or maybe you’ve even gained weight!
If this is true for you, then you are probably falling into the trap of a rigid restraint diet that just isn’t feasible. When we put ourselves on crazy diets, such as drastically reducing calorie intake or eliminating entire food groups, placing foods believed to be “healthy” or “unhealthy” into separated groups, we fall short of reaching our goals. We are human! If we try to completely change our eating and exercising patterns and habits without working up to the change, we will almost always fail. We were given taste buds and food preferences for a reason- so you don’t have to hate what you eat or eliminate your favorite foods all together in order to lose weight! It just takes self-awareness and self-regulation.
Instead of drastically reducing calories or eliminating food groups, try to be more mindful of what and when you are eating. Moderation and modification are your key concepts here. For instance, you want to lose weight but are craving sweets or salty snacks all the time. You reach for a chocolate bar or chips to satisfy your cravings, but maybe it isn’t just one bite, it’s the whole bar/bag! Here is some advice… try first to satisfy your cravings with fruit or a small amount of nuts instead of reaching for foods that will provide you with no nutrients, JUST calories. This may help satisfy those cravings, but sometimes this won’t always work, because again… we are human. So, you don’t need to ALWAYS restrain yourself, but you MUST always be mindful of how much you’re consuming. Take a pre-portioned amount to snack on, and store the rest away from you, agreeing ahead of time that you will NOT return to the pantry. Every now and again, this is okay and will not deter you from your goals, but may help aid in mental sanity so you do not burnout with your dieting.
With that being said, it is crucial to self-regulate your eating when you are trying to lose weight. You need to be mindful of when you’re eating because you’re hungry versus bored or stressed. When you feel the urge to snack, double check with your body that this is a scientific need to eat and not an emotional eating situation spurred on by stress, sadness, or distraction. If you recognize this urge is emotional in nature, opt for a glass of water with lemon. See if you can distract yourself from your emotional eating urges with a tall glass of lemon-infused water instead of an unhealthy snack. If the water isn’t satisfying you, see if an activity can distract you. Go for a walk, do some house chores, call a friend, etc.
As you begin your dieting journey, it is important to have balance in mind. You obviously want to lose weight and be healthier, and in order to do that you need to be mindful of your food choices and calorie intake. You need to watch for cues from your body stating a need to eat versus a want, you need to modify with healthier options when possible, and always eat in moderation, knowing that if you are still hungry, you can always grab some more of that healthy snack later on. But, be kind to yourself. You do not need to feel guilty when you fail or cheat, just remind yourself tomorrow is a new day to try better and stick to your goals. If you are desperately wanting or needing that one food item, go for it. If you cut yourself a little slack when it is necessary, you’ll be more likely to adhere to healthier options the majority of the time, going forward. Pick a diet/eating plan that will work for YOU. A plan that you see yourself able and willing to stick to- and do just that.