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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Diet" is a four letter word

When people tell me about their latest diet, I cringe! I want to be supportive, and you do have to start somewhere, but when will we all learn that diets do not work?! And I don't know about you, but when I tell myself "ok I am officially on a diet", I am suddenly wanting to binge eat on anything that would not be classified as "diet" food! Fad diets will get your attention. Advertising companies are PAID to sell you products that sound like miracles. Their job is to convince you that you can't do this without their help. They get paid to convince you that their way is the best, most affordable, most effective, easiest way to shed pounds. And because all of fitness fanatics are preaching harder and harder about how fitness isn't about the number on the scale, and diets don't work, they are trying to spin off of our truth and play with key words to trick you into thinking that you are doing something good for yourself. Words like "low fat", or "fat free", or "all natural".

People are trying to make money in the fitness industry, and there is nothing wrong with that. I want to do the same.....You just have to watch out for the unhealthy and unrealistic promises. Some people just really don't seem to be able to wrap their brains around how to live healthy without the help of some coaching. I get that. There is nothing wrong with that. Just always be cautious of the gimmicks! Don't waste your energy or money on these programs. They over promise and under deliver every single time. Sure, you may shed some pounds. You may feel better about yourself initially. But the real truth comes after the honeymoon phase. The real truth comes when you get to day 60 of the 60 day program and don't know how to maintain, which results in you going back to your previous lifestyle until eventually you are back to where you started.

If you are looking at a program that has an end, then you need to keep looking. No healthy lifestyle change has an end! Diets have an end. You have a goal to lose X pounds, you get there, then what? You stop the diet and gain it all back.... Now you're on a roller coaster. You know you CAN lose the weight. You know HOW to lose the weight. But what you haven't learned is how to maintain the desired weight. That is a diet.

I do want to say that I don't think a diet is bad way to BEGIN your new lifestyle, as long as you are looking at it just as that. If you can think "lifestyle change" with a certain "diet" to kick start your new lifestyle, then I say go for it. A kick start diet should be short lived. I would commit to no more that 2-4 weeks before you change what you are doing to a more permanent way of living. I say this because some people truly need to shed some weight before starting a good exercise program. Some people just need to wrap their brains around a new lifestyle and ease into it. And some people just need a place to start. I would like to call this Phase 1 of your new lifestyle though, as apposed to calling it a "diet".

The thing you need to know about your body when it comes to changing it, is that it WILL adapt to what you are doing. When it adapts, you have to change what you are doing or you will see no further results. This is the biggest reason I say that "Phase 1" is especially useful. It takes your body 3-4 weeks to adapt to change. Your body's job is to protect and repair itself. It HAS to adapt in order to function. It is during the times that it is still in shock that you will see change. This is one BIG reason that diets do not work! You will hear people say they lost XX pounds in the first 2 weeks, then after that it really slowed down. By week 4, they are calling it a "plateau". The plateau is your signal to change things up! It is not your excuse to quit. I don't care WHAT you are doing to shed pounds, or get healthy, you WILL plateau. And unless you are happy with where you are, that is the time to increase intensity and adjust your eating.

There are other reasons that you will drop weight faster in the beginning of a lifestyle change, such as your metabolism changes with your weight loss. The more you weigh, the less effort it will take to shed those initial pounds. It is not common for me to talk about weight loss. I do not believe in monitoring your success on the scales. I believe that everyone would benefit from staying away from the scales when it comes to living healthy, as it leads to going to unhealthy measures to hit a desired number and that number may have been good for you when you in high school, but not so much now. When you are working out right, and building muscle, the scales are going to disappoint! My advice to you is stay off the scales.
You have probably heard it said that healthy living is 80% diet, 20% exercise. I surprisingly have an opinion about that! It is up to you to decide what you want for yourself. It is up to you to stop comparing your body to others. It is up to you to realize that you were uniquely made, and that what works for one, may not work for you. It is up to you to learn your body. Learn what makes it respond. Learn what makes you feel good. Learn what foods you need to eat to feel good before, during, and after a workout. It is up to you to decide what lifestyle you want to live. How obsessed you want to be. For me? I want to be healthy and fit. I don't need to be skinny, and I sure don't want to be fat. I want to live a lifestyle that allows me to eat healthy and workout the majority of the time, and leaves me with room to let loose and enjoy the things I love without feeling guilty. 
For me, I make my healthiest choices when I am eating alone. And let's face it, most of us eat the majority of our meals alone. We come together at the dinner table, and most of the time on the weekends, but the majority of my meals are either not shared, or eaten in rather a hurry. I also have learned that I can't make a huge deal out of each meal. Nobody should manage their days around their meals.... It is important to plan ahead and do any meal prepping that helps you make healthy choices, but when your whole day revolves around food, something's gotta change. I also find it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle when I am not depriving myself. If I want a cupcake, I eat a cupcake! If I deprive myself of the cupcake, I will end up binge eating on 4 cupcakes in one sitting. You have to learn what your own weaknesses are. They may be different from mine, and probably are, but my point is, don't deprive yourself in such a way that you will fall flat on your face. Learn how to balance the good with bad.

So lastly, I just want to remind you that water is key! Key to fitness, key to health, and key to healthy weight! If you are dehydrated, you can feel sluggish, lack energy, experience headaches, anxiety, increased body temperature, experience hunger pangs, and so on. If you need that coffee in the morning, drink the coffee, You know I do! If you have to have that 3pm diet coke to keep you from having a meltdown that leads to binge eating, drink the diet coke (although I'd rather you learn to live without it, but who am I kidding? I indulge too.), but whatever you do....DRINK ALL THE WATER!


  1. Just what I needed to hear! Absolutely hit home :)

    1. You're looking great, Brittany! Keep up the hard work!!