Stop punishing yourself already!
Want to hear something crazy? Americans spend over 60 BILLION dollars a year on dieting! In 2012, an estimated 108 million people were on a diet in the U.S. alone, and most people make 4-5 attempts at it (stats from Marketdata Enterprises Inc.). Ugh! Enough already!
Let's talk about this, how many attempts have you made? How many different diets and plans have you tried? There are SO MANY different supplements and products, a 30 day this and a 5 day that. I'm sorry but there is no way it only takes only 21 days to form a habit (unless you're talking cocaine or something, I've never done it so I'm not sure). Not in my world anyway. Think about the last time you tried to make a dramatic (or not even) change for 21 or 30 days. Say you go cold turkey on a no carb diet for 21 days. Suddenly it's day 22, are you saying "oh wow, I can't believe it's been 21 days since I've had pasta, I don't even miss it, I could never eat it again and be fine." OR, are you saying "Holy shit, just give me a piece of bread already!" and then you go out for Italian to celebrate that you made it. Hmmm. Sounds like a vicious cycle to me.
Here's the thing, we don't have to go all or nothing. We can have our pasta and eat it too. We need to learn balance (Everyday? No way. Once a week, sure! Why not?) and mindset (Think healthy not skinny). The problem is, when it comes to "dieting", people see things as black and white. I can't have that. I have to eat this. This, my friend is a recipe for disaster! When you deprive yourself, you feel like you're being punished. When you force yourself to eat tiny boring meals comprised of foods you barely like, well, that feels a lot like punishment too. Half way through (if you're lucky) you're like "screw it.", and you quit entirely, gain 6 pounds and a month or so later you're back in the same (sinking) boat. If you try a program that tells you not to eat from an entire food group*, skip meals or to buy packaged "diet food" labeled lite, or fat free or diet, steer clear. That is not teaching you a damn thing. You learn nothing about how to exist with the rest of your family and friends, how to eat out or at parties, or what a nice balance looks like. And the packaged food is loaded with chemicals, sugar, and other weirdness so just don't. (*Disclaimer: obviously I'm not referring to people with food allergies or sensitivities here, I'm talking about doing it strictly for weight loss.)
Dieting is just not a great idea in general. It implies that there is an end date and that you're doing something out of your norm. If we can all just wrap our heads around changing our diets, committing to eating real food most of the time, watching our portions and and moving our bodies once in a while, we'd all be better off. Once you get the hang of it, there is no need to go on a diet. Ever. Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to feel like punishment, you just have to find what works for you (and yes, it can be a bit of a process but that's OK). Feel free to enjoy your food and find physical activity that you actually like doing! It all counts.
If you are one of the millions of Americans that are currently dieting or are in the process of or planning to, make some serious changes to lose weight or just adopt some healthy habits, download my Mini Mindset Checklist to see where you stand when it comes to lasting success. Let's at least agree to stop wasting our time and punishing ourselves with fad diets and gimmicks for weight loss. Deal?