It’s January which means we’re bombarded with “Eat This Not That” fad diets that SO many people follow…for about two weeks. So I’m jumping right back into this week’s edition of “52 Weeks to See Your Life Nutritionally” and talking about why we need to drop the diet mentality. The all or nothing, black and white, good versus bad.
This is why you need to drop the diet mentality and approach your health with consistency…
Let’s continue our conversation about consistency. Like I began to mention last week, being consistent is essential in health and wellness because your health, weight and energy level are all dictated by the average of what you do over the long run.
No one meal will make you overweight.
No one workout will give you toned arms.
No one good night of sleep will leave you rested.
No one day of eating balanced meals will give you the lasting energy levels you desire.
But consistently repeating these behaviors will lead to the results you’re looking for.
Now you may be reading this and think “that sounds awfully BORING.” And sure, you can totally get into a rut. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gotten into a food rut or an exercise rut at some point. But if you look at the average of your behaviors, workouts and eating habits, are they consistent?
Or are you the type of person who binges on Sundays and then is super restrictive on Monday and then there’s some more balance by Tuesday and then Wednesday you have dinner with the girls so you “blow it” again?
Are some foods “bad” while others wear a “good” label in your book? Are you all in, let’s lose those 5 pounds before my high school reunion and then I can go back to my old habits?
Your health, like many things in life, isn’t an exact science ((despite what you may think!)). Downing a shot of wheatgrass isn’t all of a sudden going to give you wings. And I’m sure you may have heard, like I have, of freak health incidences happening to the marathoner in your town who’s known to be a “health nut.” Sure if you stop smoking you do reverse your risk of lung cancer. And if you start exercising at 65 [years old] your heart is WAY better off than if you didn’t. So yes, eating salad for a week and cutting out alcohol for the month of January may give you that extra pep in your step, but it’s the cumulation of what you do, eat, wear, move, drink over the course of your lifespan that truly makes a difference in the long run.
So if you’re overweight and declare you’re going to drop 20 pounds in January to get healthy, I’m proud of you for noticing that you need to make a change. But is drinking two smoothies a day and then one meal of grilled chicken and broccoli sustainable?
Are you never going to have another slice of your favorite birthday cake? Or a glass of champagne at your best friends wedding?
I don’t think it is. And I don’t think that’s what you need to do to get healthy or see your life nutritionally.
You can moderate moderation. You can learn to nourish your body with foods that make you feel and look good most of the time, so there’s room for the treats when you want them, crave them and it’s worth it to you to eat ‘em.
For example, since high school my friends have known that I’m a healthy eater who likes to treat herself. I’m not an all or nothing type when it comes to food. What I preach to teach my clients is exactly how I live my life. Moderated moderation. A kale salad with a side of french fries, please. Four to five crazy intense dance cardio sessions that make me SO happy, but two or three much needed days to veg and rest mah body too. I’ve found that this is what works for me and let’s me live my life without restriction and strict rules, but feel pretty darn good too.
You can find what works for you. Perhaps it’s going for a walk with your family after dinner or a few soul-searing yoga sessions each week. Maybe it’s cooking at home more versus going out to eat so much. Whatever it is that works for you, I’m pretty sure it’s not a super restrictive January diet.
It’s been said before and this isn’t a groundbreaking principle, but if you’re bored of your “diet” food and intense gym time for the past two weeks and have thought to yourself, “I don’t know how I’m going to continue this as a lifestyle,” 1) you’re not alone and 2) that’s not a healthy lifestyle!
What can you do today that you can also do most days for your life? Sure, vacations happen and things come up…but I’m talking MOST days.
Here are some ideas to start…
Eat a balanced, nourishing breakfast daily. Make it non-negotiable…this is the EASIEST meal to pack in all the nutrients!
Pack your lunch for work [most days] so making the healthy choice is sustainable. So then if one day you have a catered lunch meeting you can chow down with your co-workers on pizza, in moderation, because you didn’t also choose the burrito the day before or the Chinese takeout the day before that.
Plan ahead for dinner. Sure, things come up and you can make the best choice ((even when you’re out to eat)), but if you plan out your dinner meals for the week you’re more likely to stick to it.
Finding the foods that fuel your body well — and there’s variability in it for all of us — is the goal. And if you need help with this, working with a registered dietitian is so important to make sure you’re doing it in a healthy way.
So find your health ying and yang now so you never need to declare “2018 is the year I’m going to get healthy.” Because why wait?