I have a wonderful friend who wants to be slimmer. As long as I’ve known her, she has lamented the fact that she’s carrying about 30lbs more than she’d like. Now and then, she’ll go on a diet. She’s got good will power and inevitably loses weight but once she has success, she’ll revert back to her regular way of eating and therefore her regular physique.
I don’t know what her latest diet was called. She always researches diligently before choosing a published plan she thinks will work for her. She’s right, it does work…but only for the time she’s following it. That’s the fundamental problem. She, like so many others, thinks that if she adopts a particular plan, she’ll lose weight and that weight loss will be permanent when she returns to her normal way of eating. It’s a common misunderstanding and the reason so many people give up their goal to have a trim figure.
If you adopt a temporary eating plan, you’ll get temporary results. That’s the bottom line. Forget about diets. The only way to have long-term success is to permanently change your eating habits. It sounds so daunting that most people don’t want to do it. I advise them to forget about fast fixes and to move slowly toward better eating over several months. If you make dramatic, sudden changes in diet, it’s a good bet you won’t be able to hold it over the long haul. Baby steps are best in this instance.
When asked, I usually recommend people lower their intake of drinks other than water, unsweetened coffee/tea and wine (the wine is for relief after reading the news…it’s medicinal and very much needed). The chemicals and artificial sweeteners in diet drinks are off the list. I tell them to work on slowly reducing the amount of processed food they eat (anything with more than 7 ingredients is probably a no-go). Most people eat lots of bread, pasta and potatoes so I’ll suggest they serve themselves much smaller portions of those foods and fill in with more protein (chicken, lean beef, game meat, fish, eggs, turkey) and veggies. I never tell them to cut those foods out of their diets completely, just to minimize the amount they eat. My strongest recommendation is that people avoid high sugar items (simple carbs) like cookies, candy and pastries. Again, I don’t tell them not to eat them at all but to be smart about their consumption. Breakfast isn’t a time for high sugar items. You can have a cookie after a meal containing a good amount of protein, for instance but having a cookie on an empty stomach is sure to play havoc with your metabolism.
Taken all together, changing your way of eating for good can be daunting but taking several weeks or months to adopt new habits is the best recipe for long-term success. Traditional diets might work for a short while but they just don’t bring forever results.