January… the month of unsustainable crash diets!
This time of year (and frequently throughout the rest of the year) I hear of people doing crazy restrictive short intense diets. They make me mad – they are marketed to our insecurities, they cost a lot of money and they don’t work.
How do I categorize a crash diet?
Anything that has you doing something extreme that you will not or cannot sustain for life. Many of these diets will have you on expensive (and highly processed) bars and shakes for 2 meals a day and a calorie-reduced dinner or similar.
What happens on one of these diets?
Well, you will most likely drop a fairly significant amount of weight, this will only be short-term. The diet does nothing to teach you how to long term sustain any kind of change, so you go back to your old patterns, gain the weight back, plus a little extra – the gift that comes from starving yourself and slowing down your metabolism.
The worst part?
Most people who do these diets feel like the diet worked, but that they failed when they didn’t maintain the weight loss – this will usually make you feel worse about yourself and often leads to feeding your feelings for a while followed by another crash diet.
What should you do instead?
It’s very simple!
#1 – If you can’t really sustain it 80-90% of the time for the rest of your life – DON’T DO IT (remember Atkins – when everyone swore off carbs for life? How many of your friends maintained that weight loss?)
#2 – Never try to stick to something 100% of the time – It is not sustainable and you’ll feel like you failed and ruined everything when you slip up – wiggle room is a very important part of the program!
#3 – Don’t change everything at once! Start with one change at a time, when it feels easy, layer on the next change!
#4 – Start with improving the quality of your meals before you try to remove unnecessary habits (ie – if evening snacking is a problem – focus on great nutrition throughout the day FIRST – you just might find yourself way less hungry when you are getting enough good food during the day!)
At the end of the day, people who maintain healthy body weight for life are NEVER on a diet. They have great habits in their day-to-day living with good nutrition and appropriate calories based on their energy outputs. These people don’t think twice about a second serving of stuffing at Christmas dinner, cake at a birthday party, or their big Sunday brunch.
Their habits are so good MOST of the time, that they don’t have to worry about that 10-20% – it’s a very relaxing way to live!
If you are considering a change and you’re not sure where to start – book a free consult – would love to help you make a plan to get you where you are trying to go!