As humans, we’re always looking for instant gratification. We forego our long-term goals for a quick fix. Myself included. It’s how we’re built so it’s only natural. Because of that, we tend to turn to the latest fad or crash diet over and over.
Some of the big culprits are Atkins, South Beach, Master Cleanse, Juicing, Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers, Zone, Raw Food, Jenny Craig, Whole 30, Paleo… The list goes on.
And while instant gratification sounds great, any diet that guarantees you to see results in (insert any number of days or weeks here) is likely to fail long-term.
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EXTREME DIETS ARE UNREALISTIC
The biggest problem with most of these diets is that they’re just not realistic. Extreme diets are set up for failure.
Think about it. Let’s say you go on a crash diet and you cut out all carbs. No more rice, no more bread, no more oatmeal, fruit, potatoes, chips, granola bars, cereal… oy! Sure, you’ll lose weight. But what happens when you start eating any of those foods again? You gain it back with a few extra pesky pounds.
Now, look at that list of every single thing you’re depriving yourself of. Can you do that forever? Because that’s what it’s going to take to maintain your ideal weight for good. Chances are, a few months later you’ll gain the weight back and you’re kicking yourself. You may even think about how cutting out carbs worked last time and decide to do it again. Yes, you’ll likely lose weight… again. Only this time it takes longer, more work and it’s flat out hard. Talk about some serious willpower! If you didn’t feel deprived last time, you certainly do now.
Another few months go by and you’ve gained it all back and then some. By this time, you’re shattered. You start blaming yourself and the negative chatter and self-sabotaging thoughts start playing on repeat in your head. You hate your body and yourself for not having the willpower to stick to it.
No one wants to feel restricted or deprived but we all want instant gratification and we end up torturing ourselves to get it – and then fail miserably. In the end, all we have are multiple failed diet attempts, too many extra pounds, low self-esteem and sadly, feelings of misery and defeat.
NO MORE COUNTING FOOD
Counting (or measuring) anything food-related pretty much falls into the same extreme diet category… Carbs, calories, macros, fat, sugar, etc.
Do you really have time to count what you put into your mouth every single day? Every meal, every snack, every drink, and every morsel of food you put into your mouth? And even if you do, are you really getting it right?
PUT THE SCALE AWAY
It doesn’t stop at food. Obsessing over the number on the scale every couple of days simply won’t help. For starters, muscle weighs more than fat so if you’ve added in exercise to your routine, gaining a couple pounds could potentially be a good thing. Beyond that, the scale can trick you for a variety of reasons depending on what you ate that day, the time of day you stand on the scale and the various conditions.
And in my experience, women who weigh themselves regularly end up basing how they feel that day on what the scale says. Your self-worth shouldn’t be based on a number that isn’t entirely accurate anyway.
FOCUS ON THE GOOD THINGS
Instead of focusing on all the things we can’t have that leave us feeling deprived, let’s focus on the things we can have. So instead of dwelling on avoiding oils, carbs or other restrictions, focus on things that nourish your body as a whole; foods that you love. Keep adding more and more of them (think leafy greens, colorful veggies and healthy fats) into your diet.
Let’s occupy ourselves with thoughts of empowerment instead of the number on a scale. Let’s put our energy into positive affirmations instead of counting calories. Let’s focus on the good things so there’s less room for the bad.
Believe it or not, there really is some instant gratification to following a whole food plant-based lifestyle. It only takes a few short weeks to start feeling amazing. Your energy level will soar and you’ll make your new eating habits a part of your life because you feel so wonderful. Next thing you know, you’ll catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize not only do you feel better than ever, your body looks incredible.
No more self-sabotaging our long-term goals with the latest get skinny quick diet. Focus on what makes your body feel and function at it’s finest and your body will continue to reward you again and again.