Ahhh, the dreaded D word! If you look up “diet” in a thesaurus, you’ll get the word “temporary” (you won’t actually, but you might as well). That is the issue with dieting – it is essentially a drastic change in eating that has an expiry date. Diets are more often than not completely unsustainable and thereby doomed to fail from the very beginning. So, let’s dive into the why’s and how’s of making healthier, sustainable choices for your body and mind without utterly flipping your diet on it’s head.
Diet = restriction = expiry
The issue with diet’s is that they scream complete and utter restriction (and huge negative vibes). The focus is on what you can’t eat rather than what you can (and should) eat. This has the dangerous potential to instil yucky emotions like guilt and shame at the thought of eating one of the trillion foods listed in the “can’t eat” column. Is it long-term health results you are chasing? Probably. No sugar, no bread, low fat, carnivore, keto, low carb…are these eating regimes something you can see yourself abiding by for the rest of time? Probably not (understandably so). Ergo…diet expired – and your body and mind return to its true form in no time.
Lifestyle change = freedom = sustainable
So on the flip side of this – a realistic and sustainable change in lifestyle is what will produce the healthiest long-term results. Reality check – this won’t happen overnight! It’s a slow and steady process but the results are worth it and unceasing. This involves assessing both your satiety and satisfaction in equal measure at each meal-time. Considering how hungry you are, which foods appeal to you and why, what ingredients are contained and how eating this might make you feel physically and mentally. What you have already eating today, or will be in the next few days, could also be considered to ensure a good variety of foods for both our body and soul. Our eating choices should embody all elements of self-care!
The need to change our relationship with our diet
This is an absolutely critical component. Diet culture completely hinders any prospect of having a positive relationship with food. This is why we go from diet to diet without really sticking to it – utilizing as much willpower possible until it is no longer bearable. Changing the way we think, react, and feel about what we eat is just as important as the eating itself (if not more). Accepting that we can and should eat this ice-cream to nourish our mind and soul, just as much as we can and should eat these veggies to nourish our body. Developing a positive, balanced mindset to match our healthy, balanced habits is the key to sustaining them!
Embrace the journey that is specific to you
The path to a healthy body is not linear. No two people are on the same journey, as all of our bodies are different! We need to listen to our bodies and start by making small, realistic changes that can be built on overtime. Start by choosing one new reasonable and attainable healthy habit and do this until it becomes part of your daily routine with ease, before adding another one. On top of this, find ways to make them enjoyable! Nobody is ever going to stick to something that they absolutely hate doing. Be gentle with yourself – our goals do not need to be accomplished flawlessly from day dot. Feel free to adapt as you go…if something isn’t working for you that doesn’t mean you have failed! With time, self-love, and steady incorporation of realistic, healthy choices (and any appropriate readjustments), your body will find its healthiest state, wherever that may be!