Does dieting really work?
How many diets have you tried in the past so you can fit into your old jeans, that little black dress or your new bikini? And how many times have you lost weight and then gained it back or worse, put on some extra pounds? There are dozens of dietary theories, many of them promising to lose a certain amount of weight in a given number of days. While these theories sometimes achieve short-term weight loss, they do so as a result of some kind of deprivation; eat this, don’t eat that, limit your calorie intake! Their dietary choices focus on the short-term goal to lose weight rather than a wider objective to transform to a healthier lifestyle.
Diets focus on taking certain food groups away. In other words, something always has to be given up. While this may give us the temporary success of shedding a few pounds, after a while our bodies need to compensate for the loss and we put the weight back. And then all too often, we start the vicious cycle all over again.
The truth about fad diets in general is that while you may lose weight in the short-term, there is a great chance that you will gain back more weight than you originally lost. To add to this, dieting is also likely to be psychologically stressful. Dieting involves resisting temptation or feeling hungry all the time, stressing over what we can or cannot eat or what we are craving. This deprivation causes negative emotional consequences such as depression, anxiety, nervousness, and as many of us have experienced - irritability.
So why put ourselves through the stress of weight management when we can achieve a sustainable, long-term healthy lifestyle without crash dieting, strict calorie counting or depriving ourselves?
The key to success is not to deprive ourselves of foods that our bodies need,but to focus more on increasing the good things that we put into our bodies. Once we are focused on filling our plate with the good things, the chances are that there is no room left for the “bad” ones.
Here is what you can do:
● Fill at least half your plate with vegetables. Eat the kind you truly enjoy - a bed of fresh salad, steamed greens or sauted vegetables. Vegetables are naturally good for you, are low in calories but nutrient rich and contain vitamins and minerals that can help you stay healthy or fight disease.
● Always include quality protein in your meal. If organic is not available for you, try as clean a source of protein as you can such as wild fish, free-range poultry or grass-fed beef. Proteins are the main building blocks of the body and they provide our cells to serve vital functions and as such are the building blocks of a healthy body.
● Eat healthy fats. Yes, you read it right. Forget the low-fat, fat free stuff. The health benefits of consuming healthy, saturated fats are endless - they provide building blocks for cell membranes, hormones and fuel our brain, and they can put a stop to hunger. So don’t be afraid to eat eggs, salmon, avocado, seeds and nuts or adding olive oil to your meals.
● If you want grains, go for basmati rice, quinoa or millet - but only a small amount. These carbs can easily spike blood sugar, making us feel hungry and wanting us to eat more.
● When it comes to treating yourself to something sweet, opt for small amounts of fruits or dark chocolate. It’s really about “treating” yourself to something good! When you give yourself a chance to indulge a little, you will be surprised how easy it is to actually say no!
● Snack wise! Have smart foods handy in your fridge, in your car or work desk. Enjoy a handful of almonds, pumpkin seeds or some carrots and celery sticks with hummus or even a rice cake with lean ham if you’re peckish.
● And last, but not least, make sure you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. If you like your “diet” drinks, just try to have half the amount. You will still get the enjoyment by not denying it from yourself - it will become a treat, not a bad habit!
Smart, mindful nutrition and fitting in the good things into your daily nutrition are the key to a lifetime of happy, healthy living. Once you focus on how to fill you plate with vibrant colors and appealing textures, you will not think twice about the things you miss.
Wishing you the best of health,
Viktoria Higgins Holistic Health Coach
Enjoy this yummy recipe!