My diet starts Monday.
Sound familiar? Well it was my mantra for many years as I yo-yo’d through a ton of fad diets. I swapped meals for shakes, I counted points, I obsessed over calories, I measured, I ate meals that left me hungry & unsatisfied and I hated every minute. I started and re-started, always looking for that ‘perfect’ diet and always hopeful that someday I would lose the weight and finally have a normal life.
I know I am not alone. The diet industry is a billion dollar industry but current statistics show that our society is heavier than ever. There are hundreds, if not thousands of fad diets out there, all promising amazing results and yes, some of them definitely deliver amazing short-term results. Sadly, most of them are not sustainable so all the work we did, all the sacrifices we made to lose that weight or fit into that bikini get lost as we go back to eating normally. And then when we are frustrated with the weight we have gained, we go back through the cycle again. I can always tell a fad diet because they include some or all of the following:
- Extreme calorie deficit
- Instant compliance & complete transformation of your diet on day one
- No need to exercise
- Magic supplements, diet teas/wraps etc
- Extreme restrictions (sometimes taking away whole food groups)
Sure, they promise the world if we stick to their plan. But seriously, who wants to do this forever? No one. Which is why we stop and start diets so often. And why we have so many funny memes about our diets starting on Monday, or January 1st or next month. Right?
The hard part is this cycle is part of our culture. We are taught that this is the only way to lose weight and it’s tough. Yo-yo dieting stresses out our bodies, depletes them of necessary nutrients & minerals and it creates a love/hate relationship with food. Constant dieting doesn’t help us mentally either. I remember having sub-zero body confidence for years and every time I ‘failed’ at a diet I remember hating myself. It was a no-win situation. I started this cycle before I was 13 and I was 41 when I quit it for good. It took me 30+ years before I was able to challenge the diet norms in our society and live a healthier – and highly sustainable – lifestyle.
As a health and nutrition coach, I often get asked which diet I recommend. Well, to be honest, I don’t recommend a specific diet. Why? Because I don’t believe in a one size fits all diet mentality. Just because the Keto diet is working for one client doesn’t mean it will work for another. Each person is unique and has different food stories, fitness levels and lives. I believe the lifestyle should fit the person – not the other way around.
For people who are tired of the endless cycle of diets and their exhausting (and unhealthy) ‘all or nothing’ mentality, I recommend a better & healthier plan. One that involves simple shifts in behavior over time as they build healthy habits and skills that will enable them to follow and enjoy their new lifestyle for the rest of their lives. And that my friends, is the secret sauce. Because if you can consistently follow a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life then not only can you attain your healthy body weight goals but also maintain them!