Say what? Did I just use the word “diet” in my title? Maybe you’re thinking… “you don’t do diets… what’s up? And what do you mean the right diet??”
And you’re correct, I don’t subscribe to any particular diet or current trendy food movement that’s going around.
8 years ago I decided when I was going to finally do it ( lose weight) and be done with it this time (for good) that I needed to figure out what worked for me.
I had to first acknowledge what DIDN’T work for me.
I knew that I didn’t like having to follow some set daily food plan telling me what I could eat and how much. I didn’t want to be locked into something ridged that kept me from living my life and enjoying it.
I didn’t wanna be miserable. I didn’t wanna be deprived. Basically, I wasn’t interested in suffering.
Isn’t that what diets are about? You jump into something for 6-8 weeks, hope for the best, and count down the days till you can return to “normal” life and eating. You just get through it.
And well, I’m honestly a bit of a rebel at heart and just don’t like having to follow the rules of a set diet. Like… don’t tell me what to eat and when….. everything in me rebelled against that.
That’s when I decided… I’ll just do my own thing…. and you know what? it’s worked for me.
I wanted to lose weight, not be hungry, and eat what I enjoyed while I did it.
Let me give you 3 tips or suggestions on building your own daily “diet” ( and I use that term to describe what you consume in your day)
Safe. Whatever you decide to do, it needs to be safe in a health way. Don’t overly restrict your calories or live off nothing but bananas or some crazy stunt. Understand what your basic daily caloric needs are and operate within that zone. If you actively exercise don’t forget to adjust your needs for higher active days. If you need help understanding your calorie needs, consult with your doctor for a good base line starting place. It also needs to have all food groups included.
Simple. For me that meant being able to eat foods I enjoyed and could easily prepare. It also meant having a working plan that I could stick to and follow. It also had to be flexible. If the family went out for a burger, I certainly didn’t want to sit there picking at a salad while they had fries! ( although, now days, a salad is almost always my preference simply because I like them and feel better eating them over a heavier meal) If I had a burger, it was an intentional choice that I enjoyed and then just moved on with life.
Sustainable. I think this is the most important point. Whatever you set up for yourself has to be what works for you. That is the only way you will stick with it and be successful long term, and for the rest of your life. It doesn’t have to be what your co-worker is doing or your neighbor. They aren’t you… you aren’t them. It’s time to set aside cookie cutter diets and not try to fit into molds that aren’t designed for us. I think that’s why so many fail in this process of losing weight. Trying to fit into something that is designed to fail from the beginning .
Other suggestions to this would be:
Make sure you include all food groups in your plan. If you aren’t crazy about something ( like veggies) then just start taking small steps to incorporate them.
Eat enough food to satisfy your appetite, but don’t stuff yourself.
Listen to your bodies natural signals… eat when hungry…don’t eat when you aren’t.
Don’t restrict foods. I think that was a huge thing to my success. I basically told myself that I could have anything, nothing was off limits, and it really takes the power out it knowing you can have it…if you realllllyyy need it… but it gives you the freedom to leave it alone too. It puts a huge level of control on your side. Understand.. this wasn’t open season for me to just eat crappy food. I knew that was stuff that needed to be limited for my success. It just removed its power over me by mentally by not restricting it from my life. We always…want…what we cannot have.
Structure your meals to where you eat larger ones early on in day…tapering to lighter at the end of day. Really, think about when you need the most calories and energy…it’s not before you go to bed in the evening with a huge meal.
Get to know your body! Know what foods make you feel good and energetic and which make you feel like crap. Don’t shun foods groups just because it’s the latest trend. If you have a valid allergy issue or if you don’t feel great when you eat it, fine. Otherwise aim for balance of all foods.
By developing and building your own plan, you will be able to stay on it for a life time and not just a few weeks. Making your own rules will keep it sustainable and doable for you which will lead to your success.