If Weight Loss Is Your Goal, Diet Plans Are Not The Answer – Huffington Post Australia

Aug 18th, 2017

Losing unwanted body weight isn't easy. A lot of us have tried and failed many times, subjecting ourselves to the dreaded yet common weight loss/weight gain merry-go-round. This vicious cycle can be demoralising, with many people convincing themselves that something must be wrong with them and they are destined to be overweight forever.

A common 'solution' is the meal or diet plan. After all, you've tried multiple diets and they haven't worked, so all you want now is a nutrition expert to give you a diet plan that will. You believe that if someone tells you exactly what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat it, then you'll lose the weight you want and have the body of your dreams. And why shouldn't you, after all, they're the expert.

However, while this strict diet plan approach may sound like the answer to your prayers, the reality is they very rarely work in the real world. You see, the real world has a habit of getting in the way of our best laid plans:

And whatever you do, don't get sick because the diet plan doesn't care how you're feeling. If you've been told to eat chia-seed pudding for breakfast three times per week, you'd better be prepared to make it no matter how you're feeling.

Think of all the factors in your life that could get in the way of the best laid meal plans, and ask yourself, 'how realistic is it to keep this up for the long run?'

But my friend went on a meal plan and she's kept the weight off for ages now...

There are exceptions to every rule, and if your friend has successfully lost weight and kept it off for several years since going on a diet plan, then I applaud them. However, there's no denying it's difficult to stick to these restrictive diets long-term.

But that's the point, meal plans are not supposed to be followed forever. How boring would life be if we had to eat the same foods in the same amounts at the same times every day for the rest of our lives? If you have a short-term weight loss goals then diet plans can be very effective. Just expect the inevitable weight gain when you're not on the 'plan' anymore.

But what happens when you stop following the diet plan? What happens when life gets in the way? Or you decide that following a meal plan really sucks? Or you actually lose the weight you want?

Diet plans don't address one key factor for successful lifelong fat loss -- habitual and behavioural change. Being told what to eat may provide short term weight loss success, but unless you learn, understand and practice the fundamentals of healthy eating, you'll revert to your eating habits that got you where you were in the first place.

OK, so what do you suggest I do to lose weight?

We live in a fast-paced society, and we all want to lose our excess body weight by the end of the next 12-week challenge. But ask yourself, 'how long did it take to put on this weight that has now become my life?' I'm guessing months at least, but probably years. So why do you think you can get back to your ideal body weight in 12 weeks, and sustain it for the rest of your life?

If eating nutritious foods and having a lean body forever is your goal, most people simply don't need a strict diet plan. After all, we know that lean meats and vegetables is a healthier meal option than hamburgers and fries. But if takeaway food is your usual dinner-time meal, then successfully making the giant leap to eating healthily at every meal without any small steps in between is going to be virtually impossible.

We're already under enough stress with work, family, bills, relationships, and everything else going on in our lives, so don't add to it by trying to turn your eating habits upside down right from the start.

MORE ON THE BLOG:

You Can't Hate Yourself Happy, Or Punish Yourself Skinny

The secret to making lifelong habitual changes to your eating behaviour is to identify positive changes you can make to your diet, and tackle them one at a time. Yes, this will take a while, and you won't lose the 25kg in 12 weeks that your 'fitness expert' has promised you. But small, incremental changes to your diet will add up to extraordinary and lifelong changes in the long run.

I'm sure you already know of changes that you could make to your diet, but here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:

Notice how many of these suggestions aren't even strictly 'nutrition' tips. We already know we should eat whole foods most of the time. Your goal should be to have a healthy relationship with food, not love-hate.

So slow down, take it one step at a time, and release the pressure you've put on yourself to lose excess weight quickly through restrictive dieting. Small and realistic changes to your eating habits over the long run will deliver extraordinary results to your health, body weight and wellbeing.

The rest is here:
If Weight Loss Is Your Goal, Diet Plans Are Not The Answer - Huffington Post Australia

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