Hopefully, by now you’ve realised that fad diets aren’t going to work for the long-term. But it’s one thing to tell you what won’t work. If you don’t know what will work, how can you move forward?
Ditching the ‘diet’ approach and stepping into a long-term approach to food is a big step. But there are some ways to make the transition a bit smoother.
What is your real goal?
We all have different motivators in life. Sometimes we’re motivated by wanting to achieve a goal. Other times, we’re motivated to act as a way to avoid something. For example, you might want to lose weight because you have parents who have suffered terribly with type 2 diabetes.
But I want you to take this question even deeper. Often, what motivates us to achieve a goal is not on the surface. It’s 2, 3 or more levels deeper than your first question.
Let’s go through an example.
What is your main health goal?
To lose weight.
Why do you want to lose weight?
To feel more confident on the beach.
Why do you want to feel more confident on the beach?
Because I’ve felt ashamed in the past when I’ve gone to the beach in bathers.
Why did you feel ashamed?
Because I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb on that beach with everyone else around.
Why did you feel like you stood out?
I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be there around the fitter, healthier people.
In this case, the person might have thought that weight loss was their main goal. But their true goals were to embody confidence, feel worthy and release their shame.
Those goals might be achieved through weight loss – but they also might not be. Many women who lose weight feel exactly the same even if they completely transform their body because they haven’t done the mindset work.
Look at what to include, not what to exclude
Fad diets fail because they usually focus on excluding. You give up gluten, dairy, sugar, additives, packaged foods, carbohydrates and the list goes on.
All this does is bring your attention to all of the things you ‘can’t have’. And because the unconscious mind can’t process negatives, you can’t stop thinking about the things you can’t have!
A long-term approach to food is to focus on the foods you want to include more of. Instead of saying ‘no more junk food’, why not say ‘I want to eat a serve of protein and vegetables at each meal’, or ‘I want to choose fruit when I want something sweet’? They might have the same intended outcomes, but the latter approach is much more in tune with how the unconscious mind looks at choices.
By filling your plate up with nutrient-dense options, you’ll naturally crowd out the less healthy options. But even if you do eat those less healthy treats, you’re less likely to go crazy and eat the whole block of chocolate or box of cookies.
Every day is different
Our bodies aren’t stagnant. We can’t thrive off the same foods every day, every week, and every month. So our approach to food needs to flow with the different things we need to feel healthy and balanced.
Some days, we might need some more complex carbohydrates to balance our sugar cravings. Other days, we might feel the need to intermittent fast. There might even be days where we crave foods like chocolate or chips because something has depleted the nutrients found in those foods!
Finding your balance
To be 100% honest, I still have days where I can’t resist a caramel slice. But it’s just one day out of the many days, and it’s one snack among many nutritious meals.
If I told myself I couldn’t have the slice, I would sneak it whenever I could. It would turn into a daily treat, even though I don’t actually feel like a caramel slice every single day!
This is how the unconscious mind fights against what we ‘can’t have’. It’s why fad diets are guaranteed to fail, and why you want to find a balance between the food you love and food that makes your body feel good.
Do you want to know more? Book a free 15min chat with me here!