When our eating habits aren’t working out for us it makes sense to change them, but a lot of the diets out there are so strict and limiting that you can actually set yourself up for failure. Plenty of them will work in the short term but a lot of people eventually gain the weight back. Here are some reasons why and what to do instead.
For one thing, following a strict diet might work great when you’re cooking for yourself at home but when you’re at a party where you can’t find anything that looks like it should be on a paleo diet then what are you supposed to do? The problem with a lot of diets is that they don’t teach you what healthy foods are from each of the different food groups, they often just cut out certain food groups. You might do great at the low carb thing for a while but if you need carbs one day you have to know which are totally reasonable ones to eat and when.
When we cut out food groups completely or see certain foods as “bad” ones we can actually set ourselves up for binges that set us back on our weight loss efforts. If you’re not allowed to eat french fries on your diet for example, the day that you cave you will be more likely to go with an all or nothing mindset than the person who is aware that cheat meals and foods have a safe space in a healthy diet.
Someone who allows themselves the occasional splurge won’t be acting as desperate for the change to eat the fries. They might have just a few and leave it at that since they know they can have a few more next week.
Stress also has the ability to throw off strict diets pretty quickly because we don’t always know how to deal with our diet in uncharted territory. In a situation where you need to choose the lesser of evils of your food options, being starving or stressed out is going to make it even more complicated.
If you’ve had a hard time sticking with straight healthy eating in the past, perhaps you jumped into it too quickly. It can take a couple weeks to get into a habit so you can always ease into a new way of eating in a way that won’t feel limiting. Start by paying attention to what you’re eating and being mindful while you do it which alone can help you eat less. Next start adding in (or substituting) more protein into your diet to help you feel fuller longer. When you’re in the swing of that start bringing in more vegetables and maybe less of the other carbs you used to fill your dinner plate with.
Play around with recipes that actually make healthy food taste good. Moderation and balance is the key to keeping weight off because it doesn’t feel like you are punishing yourself. Living healthily shouldn’t feel like a punishment, it should feel awesome.