Remember the very first diet you ever went on? It was magical wasn’t it? Like a first date. You were on your best behaviour, put your best foot forward, and felt overjoyed and happy! You most likely followed everything to the T, and dropped weight quickly and easily.
But alas, all good things must come to an end at some point. The honeymoon ended and you start to slip up, not able to maintain the intensity and drive you did at the beginning. As you slowly adopted some of your old habits back, you noticed the scale begin to creep up again. You break up with your diet and eagerly look for the next one. There are plenty of fish in the sea, right?
Inevitably you fall for another one. This time it’s going to stick, you think. This time will be even better. After all, you were technically successful on the last one. You did lose some weight, you did follow the rules. It just wasn’t the “right one”. But you feel it in your bones, this time things will change even more! A week in and you haven’t seen too much change, in fact you almost feel like your pants might be tighter. Two weeks go by and you’ve lost a couple pounds, but you’re struggling to keep going. Why was it so easy to adhere to the first one? Why did the weight come off so quickly? It’s probably because this diet just isn’t right for you either. Time to break up and get back into the
dating dieting game again.
And on and on we go….Sound familiar??
So what happened? Your body got smart, that’s what happened. Restriction will only work for so long before the body (and mind) catches on and begins to rebel. Your first diet worked because the body has never dealt with restriction before. It responded eagerly and willingly. It was easy mentally too, because you had no past history. But with each successive round of dieting, the body is less and less willing to cooperate. It’s like the very first guy you ever dated, remember how much you trusted him, how much you jumped head first? But remember when he hurt you, and each successive boyfriend after that you struggled to trust, you were a bit more reserved? It’s exactly like that with dieting! The metabolism stops responding positively to the restriction, ends up slowing down, and requires less and less calories to run its daily tasks. So basically what happens is you need to eat less and less food to get the same benefits you did with that first diet you went on. And ladies, who can do that long term? NO ONE! Dieting “harder” is NOT the solution, trust me. Searching for the perfect diet that is “right” for you is also not the solution. There is no such thing!
What is the solution? Get off the dieting roller coaster and find foods that work for your body type, your level of daily activity, your taste preferences, and your lifestyle. There are many diets that have proven to be successful for sure. Let’s take Keto for example, so many people have lost hundreds of pounds on it. It’s all the rage. But the problem is that it’s unlikely anyone can stick with it for very long. Check in with those people in a year and see how they’re still doing. Diets don’t take into consideration your daily life. (#thestruggleisreal)
What happens at birthday parties, holidays, summer vacations, and even those days you end up working late and forget to prepare food? Diets are great if we live in a bubble and life moves along in a completely smooth fashion. If we didn’t have kids, and pets, and aging parents, and demanding bosses, and any other thing that takes our energy and focus, sticking to a diet would be a piece of cake! (or a piece of broccoli…)
The real thing, the ONLY thing, that will gain you success for the long haul is the thing that you can do consistently, over and over and over again. EVEN when things are hard, EVEN when you get pulled away from your daily routine. It’s the basics, the boring stuff. What we need more than any other set of rules to follow, is to learn the tools of how to stick with the basics. We’ve gotten so out of control with fad diets and shiny new objects that we don’t even know what our bodies actually want and need anymore.
We need protein, we need carbohydrates, we need fat. We need to drink enough water, we need to move our bodies in some capacity everyday, and we need to sleep and recover. How this looks is different for each person because we’re all different!! But the unfortunate thing is we’ve forgotten that. We’re sold diet plans that claim to work for everyone. We’re star struck when our friend tells us how much weight she lost being Vegan, or Keto, or through Intermittent Fasting. We continue to try diet after diet, completely forgetting our individuality.
Personally, I was Vegetarian for over 15 years. Even Vegan for awhile. But when I couldn’t fight the desire anymore, I finally went back to eating meat. My health soared. So I decided to dive into being strictly Paleo, then I played around with Low Carb, then Keto, then experimented with fasting. All of which is to say that none of it actually “worked”. Temporarily it gave me benefits, but it was never something I felt I could live my life by. I always felt like a failure every time I ate too many carbs, or couldn’t make it 16 hours without eating. Vegetarian was my longest love affair because it was my “first”. And as I said in the beginning, you can only diet ONCE. The brain will rebel, the metabolism will fight back. Until you finally accept that there is no one plan, that there is no right way, you will always be searching, you will always be disappointed. That’s just reality.
I’ve lived it, so I know.
And now, now I live in the gray. Sometimes I eat a plant centred meal. Sometimes I go crazy with red meat for days. Sometimes I eat a pile of potatoes for dinner, and sometimes it’s a pile of broccoli. Sometimes it’s 3 large meals a day, and sometimes it’s 5-6 smaller ones. But the things that always stay consistent: I eat protein, carbs, AND fats (in a ratio that works for ME). I drink water, I exercise, and I get my sleep. Period.
If you struggle with finding your baseline, having a nutrition coach to help you out really does help! But at the very least, if you have a sordid history of dieting (like who doesn’t?) then I beg you to just stop. Right now. Take a breath, and ask yourself what actually WORKS for you, as an individual. Not what worked for your neighbour, your friend, or your husbands sisters hairdresser. YOU.
In Wellness, Krista