Starting as early as our teenage years, we’ve been taught to believe that a diet plan is the key to controlling weight. Step into any newsagents, and you’d be hard pushed to find a lifestyle magazine cover that doesn’t advertise tips, tricks, hacks and detoxes for shifting weight. And usually shifting weight ‘quick’. These diets can range from the utterly ludicrous, to the somewhat-maybe-might try convincing. From consuming nothing but a lifetime’s supply of cabbage, to brewing up a miracle tea, to completely cutting out all carbohydrates.
As a nation of skeptics, we have become more wary of this kind of advertising over time, though. Naturally, when an idea is novel, it’s more likely to draw us in. When it’s the same regurgitated advertising we’ve seen since birth, we’re more likely to ignore it, and pass it off as just another magazine space filler.
That being said, it can still be really difficult to shift your mindset from the lifelong belief that diet planning is the best way to control your nutritional intake and make a change to your body. Especially now that it’s not just trashy magazines. There’s a daily surge of information posted online from celebrities, ‘professionals’ and companies, pulling us in with their clickbait, relentless advertising and photoshopped promises. Despite having a thick bullshit filter, we still seem to be a nation stuck in a rut with dieting.
But here’s the truth of the truth.
You really don’t need a diet plan to achieve your body goals.
Why do you think you need a diet plan?
Before I go into why, ask yourself one question: Why do you think you need a diet plan?
The chances are, your answer will align with one, or many of these reasons:
1. You crave food more often than you think you should
2. You don’t have a lot of time to cook, so you feel like you’re often eating the quickest thing, not the most beneficial thing
3. You feel like you’ve seasonally overeaten – Christmas, New Year, etc
4. You’ve got a sweet tooth
5. You have a big event coming up that you want to look good for – a wedding, a holiday.
6. You’ve seen it work for someone else
7. You’ve made a change to how much you exercise and you feel you need to make changes to your diet to compliment it
8. You’re tired a lot and you think your diet could be responsible
If you drill down to the heart of these reasons, they all revolve around looking and feeling good. Being confident in your body, looking the way you want to look, performing the way you want to perform, feeling energised. A desire to break a habit – to feel less guilty, or less negatively about food.
The way to combat all of these feelings is to learn to be in control. Unfortunately, society has taught us that to be in control, we have to punish, restrict and withhold. We have learnt that to form good habits, and live a healthier life, we have to get rid of everything we enjoy about food. This is what causes us to fall into a trap of yo-yo weight gain and loss. What happens when the big event is over? You’ve spent 6 weeks on a super restrictive carbless, dairy-free diet and now you’re back from your holiday, complete with your tan and your gifts from the souvenir shop. What comes next? Inevitably, you’re straight back into the carbs and dairy. Because you’ve cut out a major food group (or several), full of nutrients that your body needs for a healthy balance.
It won’t leave you feeling in control, confident, or any more positive about your relationship with food. Because it isn’t sustainable.
Actually, it isn’t just fad diets and quick fix hacks that can cause you to fall repeatedly into this trap. Often, people think that changing their exercise and dietary habits means committing to bowls of chicken, rice and broccoli till the cows come home. No wonder people are so reluctant to make a change – it’s so dull. I’d rather watch repeats of bargain hunt, whilst keeping an eye on that paint drying. I’m fed up of seeing those kinds of messages promoted in the fitness industry as much as you are. It’s not all protein shakes, and plain poultry.
How I can help you
On my ‘Take Control’ Programme, I don’t send my clients to food prison and take away all their contraband. We work towards changing eating habits through educated decision making. I’ll equip you with the knowledge about nutrition, and we’ll apply it by letting you decide which foods you want to eat. All of the choices will be based around the nutrients your body needs, without removing food groups or doing any drastic cutting. Don’t like brown rice? Don’t eat brown rice. It won’t be force fed to you. I won’t drag you to the stove kicking and screaming. We’ll make sure that you’re getting the complex carbohydrates you need from another source.
It’s this kind of flexible you-centric approach that’s going to gradually change your relationship with food. You’ll be the one in the know, not the one always saying no.
So put down that sad looking celery stick already.