Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Have You Been Dating the Wrong Diets?

By: Andrew Jagim

Our world seems to have a romantic infatuation with food. People opt for chocolates as an aphrodisiac, use diets to get a six pack with the hopes of landing a date and Darcy Sears from Varsity Blues forever made whip cream an acceptable item in the bedroom.  But if we take a step back and look at how people cycle through diets, one might mistake it as the lifestyle of a serial monogamist.  People tend to try a new diet out for awhile, have fun with it or in this case lose weight & feel better but once things become boring or they hit a plateau...then its time to move on to the next best thing and thus the evolution of the phrase: "Diet Dating" 

If you are like any other hopeless romantic, then chances are you date people with the end goal of finding THE ONE. That one person who you can see yourself being happy with and someone who would make a suitable partner for the rest of your life. In the diet world people should use the same mentality and try to find a suitable eating or diet-lifestyle that they can sustain for a lifetime and one that will provide them with long-lasting fulfillment. 

When starting a diet, most people don't have a hard time losing weight... they have a hard time maintaing the weight they lost.  A lot of that can be a result of the diet they selected to elicit weight loss.  Sure, there may be some diets out there that may result in rapid weight loss and seem to work for awhile...but just like that fling that seems fun for a while, some things are just too good to be true.  After a while the diet becomes difficult to sustain and the "no-carb" or Paleo, or dairy-free everything diet becomes too much to handle. So, you break up, go back to your old ways and wait for something better to come along. And the all-so appropriate eating a pint of ice-cream stereotype actually fits both scenarios and will likely lead to the same result of being miserable and gaining extra pounds. Furthermore, when people come off of a diet their body is "hungry" (pun intended) to the lack of calories that it has been exposed to and is primed for fat-storage once food becomes readily available again which is another reason to avoid restrictive diets that aren't sustainable.

So, how to choose THE ONE and avoid this vicious cycle of diet-dating? When choosing a diet, taking a card out of the "how to find a spouse" playbook  (Disclaimer: this is not an actual book) may just be the right path to take: 

1) Choose a diet that you can see yourself with in twenty years. Dr. Layne Norton is famous for saying if you can't see yourself eating in five years what you are today, than your diet is not sustainable and therefore pointless to try to maintain as it is just setting you up for failure and re-gaining any of the weight you initially lost. Therefore, you should select an eating lifestyle that is maintainable for the rest of your life so you don't have to continually look for the next best thing.

2) Choose a diet that you can bring home to meet your friends and family.  Your relationship with food should also be one that coincides with your social life as we are social human beings who eat food and meals, not calories and macronutrients. Therefore your nutrition lifestyle should allow you to occasionally go out with friends for dinner or go home and enjoy a family meal for the holidays. If your diet is restricting you to eating chicken and broccoli alone every 3 hours when an alarm sounds than you are not likely to have a healthy relationship with food or be able to adhere to the diet for very long.

3). Choose a diet that you can see yourself raising kids with.  As was previously mentioned, we are social beings and for some people  that means having a family and raising kids.  You want to select a diet and nutrition lifestyle that sets a good example for kids and teaches them that healthy eating is important for fueling our bodies and minds.  Food should be treated as something that is positive and helps us grow, recover and perform better not something that is classified as good vs. bad, or clean vs. dirty.  

4) Last but not least, choose a diet that makes you happy! Sure eating pizza and ice cream all day may make you happy in the short-term but in the long-run it may not allow you to live a long healthy and fulfilling life; one filled with a high self-esteem, confidence, a positive body image and a good relationship with food. So select an eating plan that allows you to feel better about yourself and feel better physically.  It's important to note that the right diet should also allow you to eat pizza and ice-cream occasionally to help keep you sane and on the right track.  This way you are less likely to go through binging periods in-between break ups...if they happen.

What does this diet look like? Well that's for you to decide and a lot of it comes down to your lifestyle, goals, and physical needs.  I highly recommend checking out the "flexible eating diet" as a place to start!

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