Ditch the Diet – Choose Health Today

Diets don’t work. Do these words surprise you? Depress you? Make you want to throw up your hands and eat a box of Twinkies out of sheer frustration?

It’s no wonder so many people who embark on traditional diets give up after only a few days or weeks without experiencing the results they so desperately want. Most weight loss programs require you to change a large number of deeply ingrained habits, give up your favorite foods and/or count calories, points, carbs, etc., until the entire joy of eating is gone! This approach generally results in participants feeling deprived and poorly equipped to permanently adopt healthier behaviors. Eventually, many dieters give in to their cravings and are left with an overwhelming sense of failure.

So, if diets don’t work, what does?

Experiencing the essence of what you want right now by choosing to BE healthy with a non-diet approach!

Identifying what “being healthy” means to you is an important and powerful step in achieving your goals. For example, do you want to be more active? Have more fun with your kids? Spend some time in nature each day?

You can transform your dreams into reality by using the BE-DO-HAVE model. This is a shift from the old HAVE-DO-BE paradigm many of us were raised with, where our desired state of being, such as happiness or vibrant health, hinges on what we have or don’t have. For example, if only I had money, I could join a gym and lose this excess weight…and then I’d be happy. If only I wasn’t overweight, I could play volleyball…and then I’d be healthy.

The trouble with this old way of thinking is it ties our sense of well-being and accomplishment to a set of external circumstances outside ourselves, rather than linking them to our inner thoughts, beliefs, and emotions, which we can change to improve our lives and create the outcomes we want. Diets don’t work, because they start DOING before embarking on the intention and commitment involved in the BEING stage of the process.

Reality is actually the reverse of the old paradigm. Under the BE-DO-HAVE model, BE comes first. BE is nothing more than energetic reality – you can choose and shape it at will. When you decide what you want to BE, you take control of your life by identifying what you want your reality to look like and giving yourself a clear picture of the goal you are working to achieve. If you want to release weight, first decide to BE healthy. Then act as if you’ve already achieved your intention. Support your desired state of BEING with positive behaviors, such as visualization and guided imagery, that reinforce your goal.

Once you’ve determined what you want to BE, the next step is to DO things that are congruent with your desired outcome. For example, to BE healthy, DO activities that health-conscious individuals engage in, such as exercising regularly, eating appropriate portion sizes, being mindful, and getting enough sleep on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that using a non-dieting approach means foods are neither good nor bad, just as you are neither good nor bad for eating them. The key is choosing what you eat mindfully and with joy in every bite. If you want a piece of cheesecake, go ahead and enjoy it – provided you’ve made a conscious decision to eat it.

When you act consistently with your desires, you ultimately transform them from energetic reality (BEING) into physical reality (HAVING). This approach is about choosing activities and behaviors that are aligned with what you want. You, not some frustrating set of external circumstances, are in the driver’s seat. The more congruent your actions are with your desired state of BEING, the more quickly you will see your life transform.

You can, once and for all, throw dieting out the window and achieve your perfect healthy body. As you begin to experience success, your confidence will soar, and you will feel a heightened sense of joy and well-being. So forget dieting. Allow the BE-DO-HAVE model to help you create the life you truly want.

Ditch the Diet: No Forbidden Foods

Deprivation is not my friend. Although I have tried to make use of it in past diets-depriving myself of particular foods I deem off-limits or forbidden-it always comes back to haunt me. Most people who have tried to restrict their calories or change their diet will say the same thing-they end up eating more than if they had not tried to cut down in the first place. It is the rare person who can sustain deprivation for any length of time, and even those who can (such as Anorexics), often become bulimic or overweight when they can no longer endure the physical and emotional fatigue that accompanies scarcity. It is for this reason that diets do not typically work.

When we are told (or when we tell ourselves) that we cannot have something, we want it all the more. I experienced this recently with my two year old. She wanted to chew on a greasy, filthy kitchen sponge, and my best efforts to talk her out of it only intensified her interest in doing so. If I had a greater tolerance for germs, I might have avoided a power struggle by letting her chomp away. But my squeamish nature got the better of me and I vied it from her hands once it became clear that she wasn’t backing down (you can imagine how this ended up).

I often think of the classic psych experiment in which participants are told not to think of a white bear. These instructions result in one thing: participants inevitably think of a white bear. Thought suppression does not eliminate the unwanted thought. It is the same with that temping chocolate chip cookie or that slice of cheesecake in the fridge: if you tell yourself you can’t have it, they you will want it even more. There is great appeal in things that are forbidden.

If you find yourself obsessed with a particular food that you’re trying to avoid, or if your diet of the month is not paying off, here are a couple of things to try.

Give yourself permission to eat the forbidden food.

Sometimes this strategy is enough in itself-the desire decreases and no longer holds you hostage. You may find that you go overboard in the initial stages by eating more than you intend to. This is natural and expected. It’s like a teenager coming off a weekend of being grounded-he flirts with danger by pushing the limits and exercising his new-found power. Similarly, the excitement of being able to eat a forbidden food may feel like being let out to pasture after months of confinement in a crowded stall. But eventually, things will even out and that forbidden food won’t be quite so enticing any more.

Change your thinking.

If you’re trying to ditch the deprivation mindset of a diet, try changing your thoughts. For example, instead of telling yourself, “I can’t have that (doughnut, cookie, etc.,),” try “I can have it and I know what the result will be.” The result, or consequence, might be weight gain, low energy, feelings of guilt, or a glucose spike that is potentially dangerous if you are diabetic. If you remind yourself of these consequences before indulging, while simultaneously giving yourself permission to do so, the urge might just diminish.

You may be using this approach already with your children: “You can choose to leave your toy on the floor, and you know what the consequence will be” (e.g., not being able to play with the toy for the rest of the day). This tactic works because it helps kids understand the relationship between cause and effect, and it gives them power over the outcome. As a result, there is no power struggle with mom or dad since the child is able to make a choice and therefore retain some control. If you adopt this mindset for your own dealings with food, you’ll free yourself from resentment and deprivation. The compulsion to rebel against strict food rules will disappear, since you are permitting yourself to eat once-forbidden foods while consciously accepting any consequences. It boils down to taking accountability, which is hard to do but empowering when you do it.

Now if only I’d remembered this concept when a certain blue sponge was the object of temptation…

Why We Should Ditch the Diets and Start to Eat Healthily All the Time

We have all tried diets at one time or another and more often than not we have strayed from them within the first few weeks. New fads and crazes come and go, are hailed as the future and then quickly cast asunder as the negative effects become widespread knowledge.

We cut out junk foods, we only eat certain foods we have cereal for two of our three meals a day and end up craving just about any other food we set eyes on. We buy specific diet products and packaged meals and foods that have only half the calories but cost twice the price.

So what’s the solution?

Eating healthily and following a balanced diet can really help us to live life to the full without the upheaval of starting or continuing diets that help us lose weight in the short term but invariably put it back on as we move back into our old eating habits.

The amount of and type of food you eat can have a major impact on your health, and the body needs a range of nutrients to help it to work to its optimum level.

With scores of evidence showing that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of a variety of illnesses including obesity, diabetes, strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer it is really important to eat a wide variety of food in the right quantities. This can be achieved by eating foods from the 5 main food groups. These are:

• Fruit and vegetables

• Dairy

• Protein

• Fats and sugars

• Starchy foods

It is important to eat foods from each of these food groups as it enables vital processes in the body to occur. Each of the food groups can help the body in different ways and some of these benefits are displayed below:

Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals that have a variety of functions. For example iron is needed to transport oxygen in the blood and vitamin C is important for healing wounds.

Dairy foods are a good source of protein and also provide calcium which keeps bones healthy. They are sometimes high in saturated fat but this is ok in moderation.

Protein is found in meat, fish, eggs and beans. It provides the body with a source of energy and is essential in helping the growth and repair of body tissues.

Fats and sugars are found in cakes, butter, crisps and mayonnaise amongst others. It is good in small amounts and certain types are better than others, Omega 3 being a prime example.

Starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and cereals are very important to a healthy diet. They contain fibre, vitamins and minerals and are the main source of energy for our bodies. Brown varieties of rice, pasta and bread are particularly good for you and contain higher levels of fibre, vitamins and minerals than the white varieties.

Now you know the facts about food groups you can start to make a change in your eating habits. So ditch the diet, eat healthily all the time, exercise regularly at your local health club and gym and your body will definitely benefit.