Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Falling Off The Diet Wagon

Green Power Smoothie

Is this you? You have the best of intentions. You want to eat healthy, work out, look great, and lose 5 lbs. (or 15 or 100). You've been working out at least five times a week and eating perfectly every day. But one day it hits you. That craving for (insert favorite comfort food here). You try to ignore it, but after a long day at work, you give in. And as long as you're giving in, you might as well go crazy and get everything you've been denying yourself all week. And since the day's already messed up, you might as well just keep on going until tomorrow...or the next day...or the next. Before you know it, you've fallen off the diet wagon. Again.

It's a horrible feeling isn't it? You feel like a failure. You fear you have no willpower. If you're one of my clients, you might call and say, "I'm embarassed to come in!" Part of you wants to get back on the diet wagon, and part of you just wants to throw in the towel and resign yourself to being the weight you're at. You start thinking you'll never win this why try?

Well here's how to win the battle. Don't get back on the diet wagon. It's as simple as that. I know this blog is called The Daily DIETribe, but the truth is, I don't believe in diets. Not the way we think of them. A healthy lifelong diet? Sure. But "going on a diet?" Doesn't work. Because inevitably, you go off the diet and the weight comes back on (usually plus some). Here's how I see it. You can fall off a diet, but you can't fall off a healthy lifestyle.

So throw out the word diet. Don't tell yourself you're going on a diet. Tell yourself that you deserve to have more energy, feel good, and look fantastic. So you're going to make some healthy lifestyle changes that you can stick with. When I was desperately trying and failing to lose weight, I would restrict my calories until about mid-afternoon and then I would eat everything in sight. I didn't understand why I didn't have enough willpower to just eat light all day. Now I know that it had nothing to do with willpower. I was fighting against my own body's natural urge to make up for necessary missed calories.

Now I know to:
  • Eat a healthy breakfast that includes some protein.
  • Eat every 2 to 3 hours so that I never get so hungry I lose control and want to eat everything.
  • Eat small portions and volumize my plate with lots of vegetables so I feel like I'm eating a lot even though I'm not consuming too many calories.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Not worry too much if I overeat or eat something I shouldn't. I know that I'll be eating healthy my whole life, and one bad meal isn't going to screw everything up. I just think about how I can do better in the future and move on.
  • And finally, choose a way of eating that's healthy for me on a long-term basis. For me that means eating lots of vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits, healthy fats, and dairy (or other sources of calcium).
If you've already found a healthy eating plan that works for you, stick with it! If you're still trying to figure it out, try picking one thing this week that you can work on changing. If you don't normally eat breakfast, start planning a healthy breakfast every day. If you don't eat enough vegetables, start adding vegetables to your lunch and dinner. This can be as simple as bringing carrot sticks to work and roasting some vegetables for dinner. If you don't drink enough water, work on getting in 8 glasses a day. Whatever it is, find a way to make it work with your lifestyle.

Here's a delicious breakfast to start your day off right. The almonds provide you with a healthy source of protein to begin your day, and it tastes delicious on a mild spring morning.

Green Power Smoothie
2 fruits, 1 fat, 1 vegetable

1/8 cup raw almonds
1 small banana
1 cup frozen mango (or fruit of your choice)
1 cup fresh spinach

Prepare for your smoothie the night before by soaking the almonds in 1/2 cup of water in a tightly closed glass jar in the fridge (if not all night, then at least for 6 hours). When the almonds have soaked, put them in the blender with the soaking liquid, the banana, mango, and spinach. Add 1/2 cup of water and blend until smooth.

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