Want to get those 20 pounds off? Going on a diet seems like the most obvious solution. After all, weight loss diets offer hope, a “cure.” Something you can just “power through” and get results.
First, many diets aren’t healthy. It has been said that your goal is not to fit into a skinny coffin! If your diet requires you to eat foods that are loaded with saturated fat and animal protein, consider the burden you’re asking your arteries, your kidneys and your heart to bear.
Second, some diets just don’t work. And when they do work you gain all your weight back, with a slower metabolic rate. After all, diets are temporary. When the diet is over you breathe a sigh of relief and go back to eating all the unhealthy stuff that packed on the pounds in the first place. But now, the weight loss has created a slower metabolic rate, and so your weight bounces back up. You feel like a failure and just want to give up.
Also, diets are no fun. They are a thing to be endured but certainly not enjoyed.
And last, the prize of the “new skinny you” seems so distant. But that bag of chips is right there beside you. It’s hard to stay the course when the temptations are strong and the goal feels so remote.
So if not a diet, what do you do instead?
Simply put, you’re going to go for healthy not skinny. Don’t wait for the “new skinny you” that you think is years away. You can choose to become the “new healthy you” right now. The benefits start right away. You’ll sleep better, feel better and think better. Eventually you’ll notice your clothes getting looser, but that’s not your focus. Your attention is on being healthy. Losing weight is just a terrific side benefit.
Also, you need to eat enough. Yes, you heard right. So many people do a starve and binge routine. They try hard all day not to eat, and then they are so hungry they lose all self-control and eat everything in sight. Eat a healthy breakfast and a solid lunch. Push away from the table when you’re full, but eat enough so that you can enjoy a light supper without grazing all evening.
Eat only at mealtimes. It’s amazing how many calories can sneak in when you’re not really thinking about it.
Move. Walk, do yard work, clean the garage, mow the neighbor’s grass. Most people sit at work and then come home and sit some more. Get outside and get moving.
Ask for help. A dietitian can help you craft a plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Most commercial insurance plans cover dietitian consults at 100%. Or do a quick internet search for plant-based, no-oil recipes, and you’ll have a host of new ideas to try. There’s a whole community of people out there who are on the same journey and who will support your choice to be healthy.
A new way of thinking. The diet mentality sees food as the enemy. But instead, you are going to see food as fuel. The diet mentality focuses on your scale and your bad habits. But you will be focusing on your daily choices and your good habits. The diet is temporary and works toward a finish line. But you will be making changes forever for a lifelong journey.
So, picture the new healthy you. What would she eat? What would he do for recreation? Make a choice – with God’s help – to be that person now.
by Dorothea Sarli, MS RDN LDN
Registered Dietician Nutritionist