There is no limit to the number of diets there are for you to try, both legitimate and not. They each have their own set of rules, their list of “do not eat”, and their reasoning behind eating their way. I’m not going to argue for or against any one diet because it is a waste of time. Each of us is unique and what may work for one person may or may not work for someone else. Instead I want to focus on how we can create a situation where we are living, not dieting.
Dieting is just a term; a word used to describe the act of restricting food and drink in order to lose weight. When you look up the word diet on the Merriam Webster website, it’s first definition is “food or drink regularly consumed.” So what we regularly eat is our diet. We all have a diet whether we are actively “dieting” or just eating what ends up in our mouths. In order to live, we have to eat. So in order to live we have to have a diet. But in order to live we don’t have to be dieting.
If our diet is what we “regularly consume” (thanks Merriam Webster), then let’s think about what that actually means. Let’s assume on a monthly basis you eat the same foods about 75% of the time. Now I don’t mean that you eat the exact same meals. I’m referring more to ingredients; micro and macronutrients. If you think about where your food comes from and what types of food you regularly consume, what does that 75% look like? It is easy to find out, just record your intake. Write down exactly what you eat for 7 days. Then break those down into major categories like fruit, vegetables, protein, fats, dairy, grains, processed foods. You could use this information to see if maybe you are eating more of something than you realized. Most of the time we are!
The 75% is arbitrary, but a good starting point. Get control of 75% of your diet. Dieting asks you to do 100% of your nutrition their way. We maintain this for a day, two weeks, maybe a month. But eventually we inevitably fail. And with failure commonly we will have a downward slide because we think, “well, I already messed my diet up so who cares”. Then we wake up a week later and try to recommit. But what if we didn’t have such strict rules? What if we understood that it is okay to not be perfect? What if we focused really hard on that 75% with the knowledge that 25% of the time life is going to happen and things will be out of our control. This could free us from our failures. Allow us to focus on the good. And as we get more and more comfortable with that 75% try to increase it to 80 or 85%.
Don’t focus on the failures. Focus on your successes. Focus on all the good nutrition you have been eating and know it’s okay to enjoy your life. Don’t let a Memorial Day cookout throw you off your nutrition plan. You had fun, you enjoyed your holiday and that is how it should be. Don’t beat yourself up about it, it was in the 25%… Now focus on today; the 75%. Focus on the foods you regularly consume. Focus on keeping those foods lean. Make that your diet, make that your lifestyle.