I am happy to say that my dieting days are over! I traded dieting for living a consistently healthy lifestyle. Monday through to Friday our meals are planned to be balanced, fresh and healthy. The weekends are all about kicking back and going with the flow. However, the funny thing is when you truly start practicing self-love, by caring & nurturing your body from the inside out (not just focusing on how you look) you won’t want to disrespect your body, mind or soul with things that do not serve you. One of my life mantra’s is, ‘does it love you back’? So before I eat anything I think, hmm does it love me back? When I spend time with people, I always think do these people love me back? When I am watching something on Netflix I think will this inspire me. Slightly different but essentially what I am saying is when you become self-aware & self loving the temptation to self sabotage becomes far less.
From working as a PT most people come to me because usually they want help with weight loss. The majority of us know what we need to do in order to lose weight. Eat healthily and exercise. Behind all the failed diets & exercise plans there is a pain point. That pain point is different to each individual. From I hate my job so much that I drink excessively to distract / numb. Maybe it’s, I feel lonely so I eat for comfort. Whatever the reason the diet has been short lived or unsuccessful it is is because you have not been able to commit and remain consistent.
A common pattern I notice with both clients & friends I speak with is that they go on restrictive diets which require extreme changes. There is such an emotional, social and cultural side to food that you should also consider before beginning a new diet. Nowadays diets are a real talking point as there are simply so many different ones available. Passionate advocates express why certain diets are the ones which will cure health problems & the planet. All this information available! However today we still have an; obesity crisis, eating disorders & body dysmorphia is rife, 10% of the world (probably a much higher rate since this statistic from 2021) are suffering from food poverty and the earth & oceans are in a mess. And breathe. It’s a lot. So with all this talk and all the information & different diets available many people still find themselves in an unhealthy stance when it comes to food.
I am not here to tell you how to live your life as honestly I am a firm believer in, ‘different strokes for different folks’. Of course I have my own beliefs and attitudes to my diet but that may not necessarily align with your own values & beliefs. What I can share with you however is how you can stay committed & consistent with living a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Tip Number 1: Plan
Now when you are a planner you often get labeled as; boring, rigid, uptight, controlling. Another one of my favorite quotes, ‘Fail to plan prepare to fail’. Planning actually creates space for creativity and leisure time. Think how much time you actually spend discussing what you are going to prepare for dinner. If you have it planned that gives you an hour of your day back for you to enjoy.
Tip Number 2: Education
Everyone has a smart phone go online and start reading up on food & different types of diets. When we don’t fully understand something that’s when commitment can be compromised. Read up on a plant based diet. If it appeals to you research some recipes and commit to 2 days a week of plant based meals & snacks. There is no pressure to announce you are a vegan and start doing yoga. Just try it & see how it feels for you.
Tip Number 3: Keep a food diary
Particularly in the initial stages of transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. For my clients before they commit to any kind of goal, I ask them to keep a food diary. Meet yourself where you currently are. There is no point comparing yourself to others or trying to do what your favorite online influencer is doing. Identify your good & bad habits and any patterns of behavior when it comes to your diet. For example, low energy have a coffee and had a few biscuits / feeling stressed had a glass of wine at lunch / hanging today craving fast food. By keeping a physical log of what you have been eating & why will help you better understand your relationship with food. Pinpoint what the issue is? Time, cravings, comfort eating, bad habits, friends who influence you to going to ladies night? You need to be able to have an overall look at your life and understand why you cannot be consistent and remain committed. Logging food can also help identify any allergies or foods that perhaps don’t agree with you.
Tip Number 4: Make your reason why visible!
What are the reasons you are making these changes to your diet?
· Weight loss
· Health reasons
· Low energy / mood / motivation
Whatever your reason is write it down on a post stick note, make it your screen saver, make it visible. For example, after giving birth to my daughter I wanted to feel fit enough to run 10K again. So post stick notes everywhere! On the fridge, the bathroom mirror and on the inside of my wardrobe. In order for me to be able to run a 10k again it wasn’t necessarily about losing the baby weight it was more about feeling strong enough in the core, pelvic floor area and having the energy & stamina. Us human beings are creatures who easily forget and can quickly get distracting. Keep your mind focused on those long-term goals / plans / visions.
Tip Number 5: Don’t be greedy or wasteful
Remember in the intro I said at least 10% (probably far more now, this was back in 2021) of the world live in food poverty. We shouldn’t feel bad for over indulging every now & then. It is fine to have preferences & (or) dietary requirements. However be mindful that having food to eat is a privilege some don’t have. Being mindful about waste and greed helps shift your mindset when it comes to eating. A grateful heart and mindful attitude can help stop you from over eating & over indulging.
Tip Number 6: Get creative & have fun!
Stop consuming all the information of what everyone else is doing and being overly critical of yourself. Rather, get creative & have fun. Another one of my mantra’s, ‘every day try something new’. That can be hard to do however, I tend to apply this mantra to food. So think about different foods & flavors you like. Now that you have educated yourself with them you can get creative in the kitchen. How many times have you thrown a meal together and you have been blown away by your culinary skills? That’s because a good cook, cooks from the heart. If you are thinking nooo, I have no idea what to do in the kitchen. Invest in a couple of good cook books, apps, Pinterest, facebook cooking groups. What I would say if you are someone who finds yourself disconnected and constantly mindlessly scrolling then opt for a book so you can practice being present & connected so your are free to fully revel in your creativity!
If you want a few helpful nutritional pointers I have provided a list of simple switches you can make right now for some healthier alternatives:
Instead of potato try sweet potatoes
If you love crisps opt for a baked alternative
Peanut butter opt for a natural palm oil free blend
Cook with avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
Chocolate lover go for darker chocolate (70/80% cocoa)
Bake rather than fry
Love soda & juices opt for fresh juices (not concentrated), sparkling water with lime or lemon
Try quinoa instead of rice / pasta
If you love your carbs (pasta, rice, bread) try whole grain, gluten free alternatives
I hope these tips & pointers have inspired you to ditch the diet and opt to taking steps towards creating a happier healthier lifestyle.
Remember focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase. A big long term goal is essentially a series of small steps.
In terms of the bigger problems regarding the planet & humanity - start by being the change you want to see in the world.
Any thoughts, comments, feedback or if you are interested in working together you know what to do DM or hit the contact me button on the site! :)
As always - with love & gratitude,