Going to the gym can seem like a daunting task — between finding the motivation and getting into a consistent workout routine, there’s already enough on your plate.
But add in fretting over dieting trends and nutritional culture, snacks included (or excluded), and it might seem like too much of an uphill battle!
Dieting is no laughing matter – we all want to be our healthiest selves – but sometimes taking yourself too seriously can keep you from making progress.
But do you really NEED to diet? Let’s have a look at the different facets of nutrition to give you insight into a mindset change regarding nutrition.
The Dieting Pandemic
Dieting is the practice of limiting one’s food or beverage intake for a period of time, usually for health or weight-loss purposes.
Oftentimes, dieting can be a difficult journey as it requires great discipline and determination.
While dieting can result in fruitful outcomes such as improved health or achieving that desired body image, many find the dieting mindset to be baffling.
This is because it poses difficult challenges, such as sacrificing the taste of your favorite desserts and meals, decreased energy levels due to limited nutrition intake, and those pesky cravings.
All in all, the dieting mindset implies the acceptance that you have to go through a time of restriction to achieve a certain goal with your weight and/or fitness.
The Flip Side: Habit Cultivation
For anyone with weight loss goals, extreme or short-term dieting strategies can often be counterproductive.
Instead of maintaining a rigorous eating plan and feeling like it’s impossible to adhere to it, making new and lasting habits is an easier and more effective way to achieve long-term success.
Implementing healthier habits that are tailored towards individual needs and activity levels provides a much more sustainable lifestyle, leading to successful and sustained weight loss results.
Taking the time to focus on developing a lifestyle change not only leads to better physical results but also boosts confidence levels in taking ownership of one’s own health journey.
Your Relationship With Food
Now, with the above-said in mind, a question may pop up – why look at eating as culture, rather than a diet plan with a start and end date?
Well, because making changes to your eating habits is an important step in cultivating a healthy relationship with food.
Eating healthy and balanced meals on a regular basis can be beneficial to your overall well-being.
Instead of resorting to restrictive diets, focus more on eating nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Making simple adjustments like reducing added sugar consumption and avoiding processed foods will have as much (and even more) of an impact on health outcomes as adhering to a restrictive diet or ‘cleanse.’
Implementing good eating habits creates positive long-term effects instead of short-term results that come from other methods.
It helps create real change for the betterment of physical and mental health and does not leave you feeling deprived or ashamed from having to restrict certain types of food away from your diet.
Instead, it celebrates mindful, enjoyable eating that is focused on all-round nutritional value.
So, yes! The “secret” is to create a healthy relationship with food, first and foremost.
Making small, manageable changes is often the best way to create a healthy eating habit that can last a lifetime.
For example, replacing sugary snacks with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit or nuts can be done gradually and does not require big alterations.
Getting in the habit of eating slowly has been proven to help individuals feel fuller for longer and can be practiced without having to make drastic changes.
Additionally, incorporating more nutritious options in meals gives you the benefits of higher energy levels, more satiation, and better overall mental and physical health.
No matter your individual dietary requirements, making small modifications to your diet is the key to sustaining a healthier lifestyle.
Start off small!
The next time someone you know tells you they’re “going on a diet,” stop them right in their tracks.
Yes, dieting is a real thing and it may have some benefits – but that doesn’t mean we should just accept it as the only option.
There is so much more that can be done to create better eating habits without having to resort to fad diets or other extreme measures.
If we all work together to shift the paradigm, maybe – just maybe – we can finally break free from the cycle of yo-yo dieting and poor nutrition once and for all.