Words can change the way you think, the word ‘diet’ for example tends to imply something temporary, something we might do before a holiday or big occasion, ‘I’m going on a diet!’ We think if we stick to our diet and deprive ourselves of good food and drinks our fat will melt away and our troubles will be over. We put our ‘diet’ on a pedestal and regard it as some sort of saviour, something that is temporary that we do for a short while, to fit into an outfit or to look good on the beach (although why we feel the need to impress strangers and worry about what they think of us in a far away land is a topic for another day) so is it any wonder that we are then somewhat surprised and disappointed when we go back to old habits and do what we used to do and find what made us fat before has made us fat again.
Everyday is a ‘diet’ day, the word just refers to food you eat. We put emphasis on it being something it isn’t , and it’s this idea that we are eating ‘special diet food ‘ that sets us up to fail, and it’s this mindset that needs to be changed. When you are not ‘on a diet’ you never consider what you are eating, how many calories/carbs/points it has, happy healthy people do not obsess over what good or bad food is. The trick is to make better choices more often than ‘bad’ ones, everyday can be a good diet day , but that can only happen when you enjoy eating the things that are good for you and loose the emotional connection of what you consider to be good and bad foods. Accept there will be occasions when you will eat more than you should have done, make a better choice at your next meal and carry on. one celebratory meal does not put on a stone, but thinking that you have ‘blown it’ so why bother ,does
Lets substitute the word diet for fuel, because that is all food is, it can be delicious, but as far as our body is concerned its just a fuel source. Your body doesn’t see a steak or kale , ice cream or cake. By the time its digestion has done its thing its just a collections of building blocks that the body uses to make your body operate as optimally as possible. Despite our obsession with them, your body has no concept of a calorie. A calorie is a term given to the energy created a food in a laboratory experiment. Its a bit like the mpg figures given in a car brochure, ideal conditions will give you these results, well , like those tests your life does not happen in laboratory conditions. If you were to eat limited food choices forever, your body would try and find a way to survive, because that is its goal, it would do its best to make all the nutrients you need, your liver can make glucose if needed, your kidneys will retain fluid in your body if you can’t drink enough. It would withdraw any thing it regarded as unnecessary to keep your major organs alive. It continually does countless calculations to create an optimum environment to thrive. It can take a very long time to die from starvation. Most of our problems occur when we routinely eat more than we need. The body does what it was designed for and stores surplus for another day when fuel is in short supply. When we continually eat more than we need, we put a strain on our system, we forget that our engine needs to be looked after and have an occasional service.
Everything about us is unique, look around you we are all different, from eye colour to height, jobs to leisure activities, food likes and dislikes so why do we think that one way is suitable for everyone of us. Our own individual biology and our own experiences will dictate how our body will function to the best of its ability, its important to find what works for you and not the person next to you. We judge ourselves by everyone else around us and think that if they can eat that huge portion of chips/cake/steak then so can we. Some of us can’t and sometimes it can take a lifetime of less than perfect choices to realise that. The good news is that if we give our bodies the right circumstances it will repair its self and thrive. Life, is work in progress from the cradle to the grave its a long term thing so to diet for a few weeks is quite short sighted in the big picture .
The new year is a great time to reset ourselves and take a fresh look at how we view what we eat. The TV is full of well meaning advice for you to pick through but you have to make your choices sustainable, while its true that you can grow to love things, its easier to start with something you like in the first place and add to it in small steps. That applies to exercise and food. As a former salad dodger I am still surprised how much I like kale every time I eat it. Its not a chore, it reflects how much my taste buds have changed now sugar isn’t interfering in my palate. Our bodies and designed handle everything we throw at it remarkably well, without any though input from us, when we use new muscles we get sore as our body repairs itself and builds stronger muscles for next time, when you have a large meal your body will find a way to use up the extra energy produced, have you ever felt hot after eating a large meal? that’s your body producing heat energy, the body likes to live within a tight range of numbers: stomach acid 1-3 PH :1 teaspoon of sugar in the blood: ideal blood pressure. It will do everything it can to maintain these numbers for as long as it can, and it is better if you can repair it with a lifestyle choice rather than medical intervention. Better food choices are key in this, no matter which way the diet industry like to paint it, more greens will do you good.
So far in my weight loss journey I have lost just over 5 stone in the last 2+ years and my husband has lost 2 ,he doesn’t need to lose anymore, (I do, probably the same amount again, if i’m counting.) I am still the largest person in the room and I haven’t lost very much for the last 6 months or so. In fact I weighed in on the 1st of January the same as last January, The numbers are not important because I can see huge achievements in my life, the way I move, the energy I have, better mental focus ,the way that I have handled the things life has thrown at me this year. Life has a habit of getting in the way of good intentions but that doesn’t mean we can go back to eating rubbish all the time, I know that sometimes circumstances mean we can’t make the best choice, but we can make the best choice every time we we have the opportunity to. I have found the ketogenic diet great at doing that, it stops the sugar monster rearing its ugly head (something I never thought was possible)and it keeps me full which in turn makes my body access my fat for fuel instead of of glucose. You can only lose fat if you give your body the opportunity to get to it, if you eat several meals a day to give it a ready supply of instant fuel so it has no need to go to its fat supply. If you have body fat you have fuel, you do not need the protein shake,post workout bar extra chips with your dinner etc.
The low carb way of eating is my diet choice, that is to say its just the way I eat. I don’t view it as something that I will stop and go back to eating pizza and pasta on a daily basis anytime soon.
So does that mean that I am perfect? Does that mean I eat bland boring stuff all the time? No. I try to do my best everyday, I eat mindfully, I make choices everyday knowing that as a recovering sugar addict I have to make wise choices and if I make too many bad choices my health will suffer. Getting rid of 1lb is easier than 14lbs. It might sound like a bit restrictive but now its second nature. If the occasion is special enough I will eat what I want to, I had a pizza in Venice last year, I enjoyed every bite. and continued at my next meal .It’s cliche ,but the more effort you put in the bigger the rewards are.