Hi Fearless Family,
Have you ever “gone on a diet” that you felt super restrictive? Have you tried to change everything about how you eat to eat healthier? If you have gone through this scenario or any situation like it, there is a good chance you found that diet/food restriction difficult to complete or maintain. If this sounds familiar, know that “failing” that diet wasn’t necessarily a personal failure.
The word “diet” as commonly used is routinely interpreted to be a temporary change in eating habits, but this isn’t the true definition of the word. Diet, as defined in the dictionary, is “the kinds of foods that a personal, animal, or community typically eats.” This means that by definition every single human and every single animal on the planet has a “diet.” So now that we’ve covered that – take a second and think about what your “diet” is currently.
The idea of a diet being temporary leads to the natural thought that once your goal is reached, you should be able to be eat like you currently do without returning to where you started. That’s unfortunately not true. A temporary change in eating habits leads to a temporary change in your body. If you want longstanding improvements in either weight loss or gain, depending on your goals, it takes much more than a temporary “diet.” To truly make the lasting gains, you need to change the nature of your current diet.
“What does this mean and How do I start?” This means that you should aim at sustainable, long-term changes in how you eat. While there are named diets (Paleo, Atkins, Keto, etc), you don’t necessarily have to do any of those by name to maintain success. What truly matters is finding a healthy way to eat that YOU can do long-term.
So how do you start making these changes? The best way to do this is to make ONE SMALL CHANGE at a time, and let that change take effect before adding more in. Typically, this small change should last for about 1-2 weeks before you add anything else in.
A few examples of making small changes are
- If you are looking to lose weight
- cutting out chips as a snack
- switch from soda to diet soda for a week
- If you are looking to gain weight
- Make sure you eat every meal
- Add one piece of bread, meat, or a scoop of olive oil to each meal
The idea here is to make small, sustainable changes. Small, sustainable changes lead to long-term BIG changes.
The other thing to note here – the goal of long-terms changes can make progress feel slower at the start, but that is not a bad thing. When you are making decisions about your nutrition and what you are eating, you should have two people in mind: CURRENT YOU and FUTURE YOU.
The overarching goal of both nutrition and exercise tends to be about your future right? So why not align your overarching goals with your current actions? Long-term changes will help you 10 years down the line, temporary “diets” won’t.
Think about this: how are your current nutrition decisions affecting the you that will be alive in 10 years?