A new client recently told me about her frustration with dieting.
She would start off each day the same: a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with fresh strawberries, water with fresh squeezed lemons. Then she would have hot tea as her mid-morning snack. For lunch: a diet shake and a salad.
(You see where I’m going with this, right?)
By afternoon, she was ready to eat anything in sight. And she did. Cookies from the lunchroom, soda from the snack machine, some stale M&Ms from the bottom of her purse that her daughter had dumped there . . .
It was a downhill spiral from there.
You know what I told her? “Diets are so 90s.”
So many people get out of bed with the best intentions and get back in bed angry with themselves. They feel like they have failed. Why? Because they are looking at weight loss as a diet instead of a lifestyle change.
We’ve all been there before. A little nibble of something savory. A lick of something sweet. And pretty soon, we’ve downed a full sleeve of Girl Scout Cookies.
Put down the Thin Mints and let me tell you something really important about yourself: you are not a failure because you like sweets. You can still lose the weight and eat a cookie.
You may gasp and look at me suspiciously, but it’s true.
One of the craziest things that we do to ourselves when we set out on a weight loss journey is to make certain foods taboo. “I can’t eat birthday cake. I’m on a diet.” “I’ll just buy ice cream for the kids (and stare at them envious of their metabolism). I’m on a diet.” “I’ll just drink my coffee black with anger in it because I’m on a diet.”
You know what should actually be taboo? The word “diet.”
You don’t have to make any food taboo. You just have to trim the excess!
And do it gradually or your brain is going to rebel. Make small incremental changes on one or two things at a time so your body can adjust.
How? Leave the whip cream off the drink! This is a change you might notice the first couple times, but you will soon get used to it.
The best part? As you work your way through the day trimming excesses—but maintaining tastes that you enjoy—you won’t hate yourself when you go to bed. Why? Because it’s something you can stick with. You won’t eat grape skins for breakfast and a whole extra cheese pizza for dinner. And you won’t have the disappointment that you can’t stick with a “diet.”
Focus on what you CAN do with your new lifestyle. This is better than banning foods and considering yourself on a diet. Diet implies restriction, but a lifestyle change is a path to a healthier you.