I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Diets don’t work. You can’t simply restrict carbs or sugar for a few weeks and expect to lose weight and keep if off when your diet ends. I’m sure most of you know this by now, but the information is confusing. If diets don’t work, then what does? Isn’t “eating healthy” still considered being on a diet? There is a huge difference between being on a diet and your diet. Being on a diet means you are limiting your food intake as well as your food choices, but only for a certain amount of time. It’s not a permanent thing, so you keep telling yourself “no cookies for two weeks!” and when that two weeks is up, you eat two boxes of cookies in five minutes flat. Sound familiar? Then you need to think about changing your diet instead of being on one.
When you eat nutrient rich foods, you don’t have room for all that junk that contains no nutritional value at all. If you fill up on meat, veggies, and whole grains, you won’t want that giant bowl of ice cream afterwards. Maybe you have a few bites of it, but that’s okay. I find that sweet potatoes are particularly filling and keep my junk food cravings at bay, especially if I’m eating plenty of protein. On days that I don’t eat enough protein, I find myself searching for an unhealthy snack or candy bar.
You’ll need to learn what is healthy and what isn’t. This is hard because the food industry can be very deceiving these days. There are so many products labeled “low-fat” or “reduced-fat.” Do not trust anything that claims it’s good for you. I try not to buy too much processed food, but when I do, I go by my one rule: the lesser amount of ingredients, the better.
Sometimes you won’t have control over what food is being served. This is where I compromise. Let me demonstrate: This past weekend when burgers and grilled veggies were on the menu, I took a large helping of veggies, and a burger sans bun. Since I didn’t have all the empty calories from that bun, I let myself have a small slice of cake afterwards. And I was satisfied.
It might be hard to find a balance at first while you have the previous mindset of dieting. You’ll want to restrict some foods subconsciously, and you might binge on them later. Just don’t give up. It’s a learning process, but it’s worth it in the long run.