Why Your Willpower Is Not The Problem
Are you ready to lose weight and keep it off? I'm going to tell you why that latest fad diet is NOT the answer.
After being "good" all week long, the weekend comes and you just want to have FUN. So you go off your "diet plan" and eat All The Things, finding yourself face down in a bowl of chips and salsa and pitcher of margaritas.
It's not you or your lack of willpower that's the problem. It's the DIET.
As a nutritionist, I often see the results of ‘crash diets.' And while you may feel amazing and confident in your body with a glimmer of hope that you're finally losing the weight, the success doesn't last.
Because the path you took to get there was never going to be a forever thing. The truth is if you want to lose weight and keep it off, then you have to fall in love with the process.
What if I told you in order to achieve your goals you'd have to give up all your favorite foods, starting today, for life. Would you feel like doing it?
I know I couldn't. In fact, it was that super strict mindset that often tanked my healthy living goals. That's why I'm a firm believer in balanced living.
Why diets don't work.
When you stop trusting your body’s hunger cues and rely on someone else’s one-size-fits-all guidelines for eating, a strange thing begins to happen. You start to think about food 24/7, you worry about what you should (and shouldn't eat), you focus on calories, carbs, sugar and how to avoid your favorite fun foods. Basically your weight loss and how you eat starts to feel like a full time job.
And this all leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. This type of "eating" comes from a place of fear that is based on deprivation and restriction. It often encompasses food rules that leave you either feeling good or bad about your choices. And it creates a power struggle with food and your body, doing a number on your mental and physical health.
Here's the problem.
That "all or nothing" approach where you're either winning or losing, and the truth is eventually you're going to lose. Because no one can conform to bat crazy food rules forever.
And maybe you're thinking, "oh it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change," here's the truth, if you're diet is asking you to:
Cut carbs (or other food groups)
Label some foods as "good" and others as "bad"
Cut out sugar
Ignore your hunger
Avoid certain fruits and veggies
Eat by the clock
You're on a diet. And that's all good and fine if it is something you can easily and realistically do for the long term. But the reality is, most of the women I coach are not. And the good news is you don't have too.
Here's the solution.
Balance. You need to embrace it in your food and fitness for long term success. And for me it comes down to planning so I act with intention and eat with purpose. It means listening to and honoring my hunger, and eating to enough (not stuffed). It means seeking out nutrient dense foods that help me feel and function my best while creating space for fun foods. And it means I can't outrun my fork with loads of cardio. What I eat and how I move matters. And so does how I feel about food and my body.
This is how I finally improved my relationship with food so I could break the cycle of yo-yo dieting and ditch perfectionism. It's how I achieved my healthy living goals and have sustained that healthy, happy lifestyle for over a decade. And now I teach women how to do it too.
How it works.
Instead of relying on "good" and "bad" food lists and meal plans telling you what, when and how to eat, you begin to notice your physical hunger. The truth that diet culture doesn't want you to know is hunger ebbs and flows. And it's normal. Your hunger is influenced by many things, such as activity level, hormones and illness, just to name a few. And when you get good at tuning into your hunger you begin to notice patterns, like how your body needs more food after a workout, or how a midday snack helps you avoid the midday crash, or how eating regularly throughout the day saves you from running to eat all-the-things at the end of the day.
How do you know if you're hungry? When it's physical hunger (not emotional) typically anything will solve it: an apple, some whole grain toast with nut butter, a hard boiled egg or some sliced chicken. breast. When it;s not, you'll likely find yourself reaching for the sweet and salty stuff. And that's usually one of two things: emotional or autopilot eating.
Personally I know when I prioritize nutrient dense foods I feel and function my best, from getting good sleep and reduced food cravings to having great workouts and healthy digestion. So I make sure I have a lean protein, complex carb, healthy fat, and lots of fruits and veggies on my plate. And I always choose foods I LIKE. I don't tell myself I have to eat chicken breast if I don't like chicken, or eat beets if I can't stand beets. There are plenty of nutrient dense foods to choose from so I don't need to punish myself by eating food I don't also like.
And the best part? I plan for fun foods! A few of my favorites are nachos, red wine, dark chocolate and a really good slice of carrot cake. And believe me when I tell you I enjoy them all, guilt-free!
Why it works.
Sooner or later that chocolate, ice cream, or pizza you've been craving is going to find its way into your mouth. So why not plan for it? It's a whole heck of lot easier to act in control when you plan because instead of worrying about avoiding something or wondering when you'll ever get to enjoy it again, you'll plan to enjoy it. Which also means you're far less likely to fall prey to what I like to call "screw it" eating. And let's face it, screw it eating doesn't often just last for a meal or a day... it typically brings along its friends, guilt and shame, which lead you to throw your hands up and give up until you decide to ride the diet roller coaster again.
The truth is when you start practicing a healthier food balance and stop spending all of your time depriving, restricting, and punishing, it really takes the pressure off. You suddenly learn how to listen to and nourish your body, you recognize feelings of fullness, you begin to understand when it's not food you need but actually something else, and ultimately you stop treating yourself like crap.
This is key to creating simple, realistic and SUSTAINABLE habits.
The key to fostering a healthier relationship with food and your body.
And it's how you lose weight the way you actually want to live.
Discover how to take small and simple steps to help you eat better, think better and feel better. Download my FREE 4 Ways To Eat Better Guide and I'll show you how!