Now that all of the festivities are over, many of you may be thinking of shedding some pounds gained over the holidays, or even losing some of the weight that has been slowly creeping onto your body. For all of you out there who are considering starting a new diet, it may be beneficial to think about a few things first.
What are you trying to do when you go on a diet? Lose weight, right? Supposing you do change what you eat for a while, and lose some pounds. Then what? Do you feel like you have been “being good”, and then slowly go back to the way you were eating before your diet? The thing is that many diets do not teach you anything about how to keep the pounds off. They teach how to do a certain diet, which most people regard as temporary and sometimes torturous.
If you want to keep the pounds off, you need to take an honest look at the habits that have lead to weight gain in the first place. Consider that in our culture, eating is not just a matter of fueling our bodies in a nutritious way. Eating can be festive, recreational, social, pleasurable, emotionally rewarding, a hobby, and a learned behavior that was established as we were growing up. And, you can add to that the fact that we are subjected to a constant barrage of advertising that encourages us to eat amazingly large portions of food laden with fat, sugar and salt. All of these things can sabotage our best efforts at trying to lose weight.
Rather than plunging headlong into a diet, try a little mindfulness. Why do you eat, and how do you go about making your food choices? What are the underlying feelings? What is your usual approach to food? Do you eat for a reward or distraction of some kind, or are you actually hungry and thinking of the best way to nourish your body? Do you feel that in a given social situation, faced with festive treats, that it is your chance to have some special food that only comes along once in awhile? The thing is, there will always be situations where food is plentiful and your habits will be challenged. The way around this is to take a look at your assumptions and motivations, and change the way you make food choices on these occasions and on a daily basis.
Stay tuned to my emails and blogs for more on how to put your choices and actions into the big picture that includes your goals. Many of my diet mindset tools apply to your fitness goals as well.
Here are several books on this subject that may be of help to you: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Life is Hard, Food is Easy by Linda Spangle, and Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink.
Have a Happy, Healthy, and Inquisitive New Year!
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