Which is the ‘best diet’ for me?
This is a question that I am asked all the time from Nutritional therapy clients, personal coaching clients, runners right through to our health club members at the FitER Women’s Health Club in Plympton.
A top question I am often asked at the FitER health club is “which diet do you think is best for weight loss?
Let us begin!
We will begin with a question…. are you ready?
Why do you want to go on a diet?
Now there is a question that you may have a quick answer for or maybe you don’t!
Maybe your first answer is…
Diet for weight loss!
Maybe your answer is
Diet to drop a dress size
Maybe you are thinking along the lines of
Diet for joint pain
Diet for diabetics
Diet for high cholesterol
Whatever your reason it could be simple, complex, it could be one thing or many!
When I work with clients the reasons are normally due to something that they currently do not like! It could be their current weight, body fat or dress size, it could be they lack in confidence and self esteem because of how they feel they look, it might be that their social interactions and social wellbeing is affected by size and weight. It could be that there are health risks or conditions, there is pain, limitation or discomfort. The reasons are endless but normally their is a common factor that when addressed means that your best diet is…
No diet at all!
What do I mean by that? Well if you have opened this article and begun to read you are on a diet, thinking about dieting, interested to find the next best thing but you have a reason to be here. That tells me that you also have a reason, a thing, a need that you do not like. The weight, the size, the health, the pain whatever it is you have a reason somewhere. And the very fact that you are reading this article also tells me that you know already that there is something in your current lifestyle that has contributed to that ‘reason’, that dislike, that unhappy feeling!
So why no diet? Does that mean I don’t need to diet?
Well no not at all, it means that we need to understand the issues causing the results you do not want and altering this!
So what is causing your problem?
Your weight issues, your health concerns, your pain, your dislikes or unhappiness are likely being caused by or affected by one of these things:
- A behaviour
- A habit
- An action
- A mindset
The problem you are experiencing might be because…
- you over eat,
- because you eat too many processed foods,
- that you snack uncontrollably,
- might be that if there is a bag of crisps in the house it calls your name screaming ‘eat me’ until you succumb,
- that your diet is full of “diet foods”,
- that you choose to sit on the sofa for 5 hours of an evening,
- that your job is sedentary and you choose NOT to take on any physical activity,
- that you believe Monday is always the best day to start your diet or that you fall off the so called ‘dieting wagon’ and you think it best to start it again next week,
- that you drink too much alcohol, that you consider your daily cakes and biscuits a treat,
- that you choose chips every meal,
- that your regular hot drink is a caramel latte, that you think 5 pills a day replace your fruits and veggies and that if the packet says its healthy it must be,
- that you eat unlimited pasta and consider it sinful to eat an avocado,
- that you believe that to lose weight you must restrict calories and be miserable,
- that you jump from one diet to the next because the results are not quick enough,
- that you do all of these things and screw your metabolic system up completely, whack your hormones out of balance and then think what the hell and drown your sorrows with a chocolate cake and a double mocha, chockie wockie, extra whippy latte with sprinkles on top, and that’s OK because you will start again on Monday!
We have all been there, I have been there and no doubt you have been too!
This dieting Malarkey is utter Shi*te! Hand’s up if you agree and are so over constantly being on a diet! My hand is well and truly waving in the air!
Diet’s are designed to fail!
The reason that the vast majority of diets fail, apart from the biological errors and problems caused to your metabolic system, is that we all have a sense of what is “normal” and in reading this your current normal may be leading you to those undesirable, unwanted results. So we decide to tackle the issue by going on a “diet”. Temporarily we may then get some good results, the diet is working and we feel good.
I lost weight and put it all back on when I came off the diet!
The issue with diets, especially those that are restrictive, artificial (as in you buy special meals, shakes, pills and pouches) is that they are hard to keep up, they are expensive and they are often isolating as you may be the only family member eating in this way. That very isolate nature of these non-family friendly “diet” can be an added pressure and stress in itself! When we follow a diet like this and get the new results the chances are that the old “normal” starts to creep back in, sometimes it takes a while and sometimes its pretty immediate!
When we do not change and challenge our personal concepts of what we consider to be normal we will never achieve long term change!
So what do you do?
So here is one of the first things I ask our health club clients, my 1-2-1 nutritional therapy and weight loss clients and any one frankly who asks me “what do I do”
What do you think you are doing right now that is leading you to these undesirable results?
Ask yourself that questions, I guarantee you know your answer! You may not know the right answer but you know the answer!
- I don’t know what to eat
- I know what I should eat but just can’t seem to do it
- I can’t fit in the time to exercise
- I can’t find the time to take 10 minutes to relax
- I don’t exercise enough!
- I sit at the desk all day and sofa all night
- I buy convenience foods
- I always have an excuse not to exercise (my kids are sick, my work, my knee hurts, the dog, my friend needs me, I’m too busy…)
- I eat too many sweet things …….
You have some of the answers already for sure!
You do not have to know the answer and for lots of my clients this is where I come in, I question, probe and explore options with my clients and more often than not the clients themselves come up with the way forward I simply facility the journey there and then help them with the solutions they then need and our entire goal is to CHANGE THEIR SENCE OF NORMAL so that the new normal gives them long term results and the old normal doesn’t come back!
So think about taking simple actions each day that will help you to change your NORMAL!
Pick just a few things that need to change (get the advise and support if you need it) and change bit by bit!
Here’s a few things to get your thinking juices flowing!
- Cereal and toast is a crappy way to start your day! Love yourself a little more with eggs, omelettes, homemade granola, full fat yoghurts, fresh fruits and nuts, Frittata, protein pancakes soaked oats or delicious oats!
- Work out our achilles heal and have a solution! Here’s the truth, if there is a bag of crisps in the house I am going to scoff them! If someone offers me chocolate I am an absolute ‘hell yeah’, if you invite me over and make lemon pie I will come over every week! I have no will power, it is true. So I have to have strategies to survive! If I didn’t I’d be the size of a house and at one point I was! I do not buy bread in my regular shops (I also love bread), I don’t go down the chocolate aisle, I don’t go in the puddings aisle, I don’t visit the break cart every day anymore (Star Bars you evil enemy you). I have strategies. Do I deny myself? No, I treat myself of occasion and never feel guilty when I do but it is not part of my normal anymore!
- Supermarket meal deals are only a good deal for the supermarket who profits from your purchase, your body is looking for a better deal so get a little organised and prep your own lunch of meat and veggies, salads, leftover evening meals, jacket potatoes, feta salads, humous and veggies, nuts, seeds and some fruit!
- If the packet says its healthy it most likely isn’t! A cereal bar that has a ton of ingredients you can not pronounce, sugars hidden in different names and hydrogenated oils holding it all together no matter what they print on the front of the box is no way something you should be putting into your body on a regular basis, swap it out for real foods, sliced meats, raw veggies, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, a small salad, fruit salad or maybe just start with a glass of water or a green tea and see if you were thirsty!
- Sometimes willpower disappears, enthusiasm dwindles and life gets bonkers, it happens. Accept it and have a plan, write down your goals and set some actionable targets to get back on track. Things like I will eat eggs for breakfast 4 days a week, I won’t buy meal deals, I will drink water not fizzy pop. Set actions to achieve and NEVER EVER wait till Monday to start doing them, just do them now!
- Coffee and Tea are totally fine! To be diuretic (dehydrating) you need to be drinking lots so if you enjoy a cuppa then enjoy a cuppa! Just have it naked! You know, black coffee or a splash of milk!
- Exercise! There is no alternative, just do it!
- Replace beige with colour! Weird statement but next time you have your lunch, breakfast or dinner just look at the colour, is it all beige? Beige pasta, with a creamy sauce service with beige garlic bread? Beige cereal with milk, beige pasties, beige goujons, beige sausage rolls! Add some colour to your plate and you are already making improvements!
- Nothing is ever unlimited!!!! I know that this is something that is often considered a bonus in some diets but its also a problem for lots of people because we lose the “off switch” as it were, you can live a healthy diet but if you still eat more than your body needs you will store the excess as fats! Take bears for example! They eat berries and fish mainly and they get super fat ready for hibernation! We are not really any different!
- Did I mention exercise! Stop making excuses you need it, your body wants it, you health requires it! If you need support to help “fit it in” then get the support, if you have a health reason that makes it difficult then find the right person to help you get there. We work with clients who are training for marathons and fully fit right through to people with M.S, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, back problems, depression and anxiety, obesity related joint problems, diabetes, osteopenia, tendinopathy, Lupus, plantar fasciitis, Ehlers danlos syndrome, POTs, low self esteem and confidence, dyspraxia, hip and knee replacements, those wanting to avoid bariatric surgery, those who have had bariatric surgery and more! I promise there is always a way if you are ready to commit, ready to move to improve and if you are not local to us, we work with clients online or search for someone local to you who knows their stuff!
- When it all goes tits up, pull up your big girl pants (or boy pants) and get back to your new normal once again! Don’t dwell on it, don’t stand staring at the scale at your now pound weight gain and sign, don’t beat yourself up! Just take a moment, get support if you need it and get back to your normal, review your goals, your action plan your step by step approach and get back to it! My health club members will tell you, I can often be found on the sofas with a client having a cuppa coffee going over all this and helping them pull up their big girl pants! (I wonder if that could be my job description 🙂
- Take a break! If you are super stressed simply taking 10 minutes for a guided meditation, deep breathing or simply to just stop will make a huge difference to your wellbeing. Try it!
So which diet is right for you? The diet that brings you a new sense of normal that changes your results the way you want and that you can sustain, that your family can follow and that doesn’t feel like you are on a diet!