For centuries people have been putting themselves on diets. There are many diets out there: Atkins, ketogenic, nutrisystem, paleo, Jenny Craig, etc. All of them have the same concept: restricting food until a goal is reached, but THEN WHAT??? For most people weight gain and often it is more then they lost.
No one likes when they are told they cannot have something. When you tell a child they cannot have a toy they whine and beg to get it. You either give in and get it for them or TRY to ignore their nagging. This same behavior happens when we put ourselves on a "diet." We are restricting ourselves to certain foods, making our desire for the "bad food" almost unbearable.
For example, we think about think about that cookie all day, day after day. It continues to burn a hole in us, until we give in and eat the cookie. Then, we are filled with regret and begin to punish ourselves over one cookie. This cycle continues until we are no longer on a diet and, for many people, go back to eating the way we previously did- eating that cookie daily. The weight creeps back up and this horrible cycle begins again, developing a negative relationship with food.
Having a cookie daily might not be the best choice, but occasionally is healthy. YES, I SAID HAVING A COOKIE OCCASIONALLY IS HEALTHY!!! When allowing yourself to have a "treat", you should not feel guilty about it. A healthy diet is well balanced, with ALL foods included. However, many people do not live this way and continue to put themselves on diets. We call this process yo-yo dieting. You go on a diet, lose the weight, go off the diet, gain the weight, and then repeat this process. This is extremely hard on your body and mind and is extremely unhealthy. Weight gain can cause higher blood pressure, increased stress on the body, and higher levels of cholesterol. When we lose the weight these levels, often, do not go back to a healthy baseline.
So, what now, what do I recommend??
Stop using the word "diet"- I wish that word did not exist because of the negative feelings that surround it. You're not "going on a diet" or "dieting" anymore! When you are on a diet you are NOT learning how to develop a healthy lifestyle and relationship with food. This is the problem with most diets. Lets look at this process as babysteps. Start by making 1 or 2 healthier changes to your lifestyle.
Pick something that you know you can stick to. Do not set yourself up for failure. By changing 1 or 2 things you will start to see positive progress and feel good about yourself. Then make another change. Your confidence will already be up; making these lifestyle changes seamless! To maintain your progress, it is important for you to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. This is why I always recommend gradually making changes to your current lifestyle. This means you can have an occasional cookie or side of french fries and not feel guilty about it! We only get one body, which is why it is extremely important to take care of it. BUT, this also means that we need to be able to enjoy life and not focus on how we feel after eating a "bad food".
Don't be hard on yourself. Making changes is hard. If you have an off day, do not get down on yourself. You are enjoying life! Try to make better choices the next day- go for a walk, drink an extra glass of water, try a new fruit! The lifestyle you have created took YEARS to make, which is why making healthier, life-long changes should take time and not done overnight!
Enjoy your food today, and brush the negative comments you make to yourself away!