With the New Year everyone is setting resolutions and goals. Many are about wanting to lose weight & starting a new diet. I am all for getting in shape & living a healthy lifestyle but I hate DIETS! Diets are something you do for a short period time, each with their own system, looking at pounds lost, & are accomplished by cutting things… whether it be calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. Diets may work for a short period of time but 80% of people who lose weight on a diet will gain it back & then some. This is not new information, you see it all the time and heavily in the media with stars like Oprah, Kristie Alley, Janet Jackson, Kelly Clarkson, & the list can go on and on. Turn on your television & you’ll see new reality shows that put diets up against other diets in contests to see which works better. It’s just sad! This is not a motivational or healthy way for people to lose weight!

I know first hand what the diet life is like. In my 20’s I tried many of the popular ones… Weight Watchers, Atkins, Jenny Craig, etc. The diet game is a tiring mental game that hurts your body & ruins your metabolism. You start excited and motivated, “this is going to be the one that works!” You go to the classes where you meet other people that are equally as excited. The leaders tell their stories & how if you just follow this food program or stay below your points or even eat whatever you want as long as it’s on a list, you too can lose weight.

My problem with these programs are they teach you to focus on food & eating (or not eating). And I know, for myself, I started to get obsessed with food where I was thinking about it all the time. When I was eating, all I thought about was if I was eating the right food, was I going to be hungry when I was done with my pre-portioned meal or if I’d be satisfied after I got done. In between my meals/snacks all I thought about was when I could eat again, what I was going to be eating & what I couldn’t eat. It was an awful cycle.

When I was able to stick to the rules of my diet long enough & lose the weight, I’d feel great. But the bigger issue was since it was a diet & I’d accomplished my goal weight, now I was onto maintenance mode. And really WTF is that?!? Maintenance mode is the reason 80% of people don’t keep weight off long term. This is why I hate diets!

When things finally clicked for me is when I stopped going on diets & decided to change my lifestyle. I wanted to feel better, have more energy, sleep better at night, have better skin, get stronger and lose body fat. I stopped counting… points, calories, fats, carbs, protein & lbs. Instead I created habits that led me toward a healthy lifestyle.

  • I learned to listen to my body. Was I actually hungry or was I bored, sad, depressed, lonely, etc. Was I eating to fuel my body & get energy or was I eating to fill a craving.

  • I paid attention to the kind of food I was eating. If it was frozen or boxed I stopped eating it. I chose food that were fresh and would spoil or go bad if left too long.

  • I stopped weighing myself every day. I learned that lbs don’t tell my story. I may have only lost 10 lbs but I have decreased 7% body fat. Today I look at how my clothes fit, test my body fat & use a tape measure to take measurements of my body every 3-4 months.

  • I stopped hating myself if I wasn’t perfect. Life happens, birthdays come & vacations are needed. You should not feel like you can’t enjoy during these times. And when you do you’re not an awful person & you’re not going to undo all the good habits you’ve begun.

  • I started focusing on what I was accomplishing (not what I need to cut out). Getting stronger, sleeping better, having less gut/digestive issues.

  • I stopped counting calories & macros. When I was counting everything it would stress me out if I didn’t meet my carbs/protein/fat percentage goals & I felt like I’d failed. Today I simply focus on eating real, whole foods (that’s it!).

  • I started prepping my food. It’s true that when life is busy or when you’re exhausted at the end of a long day the last thing you want to do (or have time to do) is cook a healthy meal. So pick one or two days a week and cook & prepare your meals & snacks. Just having your fruit & veggies already cut up or separated into single serving sizes helps you make better choices.

  • I stopped with low fat, low/no sugar, low calorie… really if it says low, no or zero just stay away! All it means is they added a bunch of other crap that’s worse for you!

  • I stopped working out 6 days a week for 2 hours each workout. I learned how to rest my body and to maximize my workouts. Doing the elliptical for 45 minutes or just jogging on the treadmill does not maximize your time. I now workout 3-4 days a week for 45 minutes to an hour.

These are just some of the habits I’ve incorporated into my life. But anyone that knows me can see that living a healthy life is important to me. It’s reflected every day in choices I make from food, to exercise, to products used in my home, on my body & with family. Health is so much more than weight & a diet. When you chose to change your life, you don’t yo-yo because there is no going back once you feel what true health is.