"You are such a health nut. Don't you ever crave a dirty burger?". This was a message I received the other day and I get these quite often. I don't always post the unhealthy stuff but trust me when I say I have my treats! I had ice cream for dinner the other night and actually bought a diet coke for the first time in 3 years the other day because I was craving one. Of course this doesn't happen often. I always, always advocate a balanced lifestyle. It hurts me to see people go on and off of diets. To be constantly gaining weight and losing weight is detrimental to our bodies and our minds. It hurts our metabolism and creates unhealthy relationships with food. I used to struggle with body image and food so I understand the frustration around dieting.
So what is the best diet? Well that's up to you. We are all unique. My body is different from your body. Our tastes buds are different, our mind sets are different. What works for one person won't work for the other.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when looking at making a change in your eating habits:
1. Stop comparing yourself to others. This is so easy to do, especially through social media. It's easy to want to look at a fitness model and copy her diet or see a pretty vegan girl eating only watermelon. Sure, that might work for them but what you are not seeing is what goes on behind the scenes. Are they working out? Maybe they didn't even eat that and just posted about it. Instagram and social media can be a dark place so stop with the comparison. Pay attention and learn to listen to your body. Eat foods that give you energy, not weight you down.
2. Ask for help. Frustrated and struggling with your diet? Ask someone for help. One of the reasons I got into nutrition was because I was so frustrated with not understanding how my body worked. I was so afraid of food and gaining weight and I was really clueless when it came to nutrition. Speak to a nutritionist or dietitian if you are not reaching your goals. I also recommend clients to do their research. Do you know how your body uses carbohydrates? Do you know how many calories you should be eating per day? Do you know how stress effects your body composition? You have to eat 5-6 times per day, 365 days a year so it doesn't hurt to know how to fuel your body properly! I also get a lot of questions about eating disorders and have seen so many girls struggle with this. I strongly advise speaking to a professional.
3. Stop dieting. Diets don't work. I know because I have tried and failed countless times. Take the pressure off of yourself to be perfect. Learn how to fuel your body with wholesome foods that make you feel good. I always aim for 80% of clean, healthy foods and the other 20% for your favorites. It's okay to have a piece of cake at your friend's birthday or a glass of wine on date night. Learn how to indulge in moderation. Perhaps there is an underlying reason for your cravings and habits that need to be looked at.
4. Change your habits. It can be so easy to want to overhaul everything at once but I highly suggest you don't. Pick a few things to incorporate daily and add things as you go. Start with bumping up your water intake by drinking lemon water first thing in the morning. Make yourself a delicious smoothie instead of just having coffee. Get out for a walk if going to the gym isn't your think. Small, specific goals help you to reach those bigger targets.
5. Change your thoughts. Stop viewing healthy eating as an all or nothing approach. It's a lifestyle change. There are no short cuts when it comes to health. Health also doesn't mean having a six pack. It's about feeling good. It's about feeling happy and having the ability to accomplish the things in life you want to. Let go of negative thoughts and work from the inside out. Try meditating, reading a book on personal development or journaling.
Remember, beauty is in everyone. Let go of those old thoughts and of the things that no longer serve you. Start fresh with your body and mind!
For more tips, check out my 7 Day Reset. It's totally free!