An interesting little Reader’s Digest article popped into my mailbox the other day, one of those articles that had me nodding my head as I read along. You can read the entirety of 8 Clear Signs that You’re on a Bad Diet by following the link, but here are the top 3 that resonated with me. With commentary, of course!
It’s a total 180 from the way you currently eat.
Choosing a lifestyle-compatible way of eating was one of the keys to my success, especially when I was first getting started. I’d done every food-based diet out there, I think, but I finally realized that the easiest way to stick to a healthier plan was to focus on the healthy foods I already enjoyed and eat those most often. At the time I was working full-time and didn’t enjoy cooking, so I checked around and found nearby restaurants that could serve me what I needed. Was it the healthiest, most ideal diet? No, but it was healthier than what I’d been doing, and it was something I could do consistently. And it worked!
It eliminates entire food groups
While some of us have to restrict or avoid certain food groups for health reasons, many folks try to lose weight by eliminating food groups wholesale. That never worked for me. I tried eliminating carbs and severely restricting fat (healthy and non-healthy), each time unsuccessfully. When I focused on having them as part of a balanced eating plan, in appropriate portions, I was successful. Imagine that!
You can’t dine with friends and family.
In past weight loss efforts (and at the beginning of this one), I would skip social and family gatherings so that I would stick to my plan. It worked, I guess, because while they were out having fun, I was stoically sitting at home munching my way through some more carrots and celery. Needless to say, that didn’t last long. I grew resentful over missing out on the fun, and a few people resented my turning down so many activities. So I figured out a way to bridge the gap. I either go for the splurge (family reunion!), or I work with the waitstaff to come up with a healthy option. In the case of dining out with friends, this is made easier because most of my friends are relatively healthy eaters. (Unless, it’s Mexican food and then all bets are off!)
Okay, I know I said there were three points that jumped out at me, but I can’t resist including this one:
You’re not encouraged to exercise.
Almost every “diet plan” I’ve ever tried to follow had at least some mention of exercise, usually walking or biking, but it wasn’t a big component. More of a “should” than a “must.” In my newly adopted changed lifestyle, exercise leads the way! In addition to walking and biking, the addition of strength training was a total game changer. Not long after I began, I realized that my meals and snacks needed to be nutritious in order to support my exercise, which created a greater desire to stick to the plan. A lovely little circle, I must say.
The article contains other good observations, but these were the
three four that seemed most influential on my own weight loss. If they’d bothered to ask me, I would’ve added:
You’re trying to do it all perfectly.
That was the one that got me every time. Once I scratched out perfectly and added consistently, I was gold.
What would you add?
In the end, the idea of a “good diet” to me is one that has me eating healthier foods, moving more, and focusing on improvement over perfection. And then doing all that consistently.