How To Stop Dieting For Good
Before we even being to talk about the type of food we should be eating for good health as a mum, I want you to remove the word diet from your vocabulary.
If I use the word I will be using it to describe foods you should be including in your general diet, not as ‘a diet’, and there is a big difference! So here is my first golden rule of nutrition:
Stop dieting and stop using the word diet.
Diets do not work, plain and simple. The cycle of dieting just messes with your metabolism: each time we start a new diet, we lose more muscle; we need muscle to burn fat, so the more muscle we lose, the harder it is for us to lose weight. If you allow it, the cycle of dieting will continue to go around and around with you caught in the middle, unable to jump off.
Dieting immediately makes us think we are denying ourselves of something that gives us pleasure. The word makes people feel like they’re about to embark on a journey of suffering and they usually wake up feeling hungry and salivating miserably at any and all food that crosses their path. To be honest, I have never seen happy people on diets. They are counting calories, days, hours, minutes and seconds until they can go back to their old ways, which is what got them into a situation in the first place. Moderation is key-satisfy your cravings so they don’t turn into binges!
Nearly all women go on a diet for their wedding, holidays and special occasions or to lose their baby weight. But instead of torturing yourself, I want you to rethink your relationship with food. Finding balance and harmony is much better for your long-term health and happiness. I adopted the 80/20 rule a few years ago and it has enabled me to finally find balance, which helps me to stay on track.
This means that I eat well 80 per cent of the time, and for 20 per cent of the time I can allow myself to have desserts, meals out and enjoy parties and events without feeling bad about myself. Nobody is perfect and this rule gives me the ability to be consistent with a clean living lifestyle, which is essential for mood, cravings, weight, energy, health and vitality. This simple rule has finally allowed me to make peace with myself about food, get results and feel great!
Build a healthy lifestyle, don’t follow a diet.
- Eat fresh, unprocessed wholefoods. Wholefoods are foods that have either been completely unchanged or changed as little as possible from their original state.
- Stay hydrated. Most of us do not drink enough fluids throughout the day
- Include a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables, preferably in season, local and organic.
- Choose from a large variety of grains and cereals, preferably unrefined as the nutrient content of grains are significantly reduced when refined and processed.
Overall a good healthy diet is built around fibre-rich vegetables, whole grains, wholemeal breads, pastas; lean meats, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, nuts, fruits, good fats and oils, and healthy beverages (absolutely no fizzy drinks!). A diet low in added sugar will also help you to maintain a healthy weight, increase energy, improve brain function, lower blood pressure, reduce cancer risk and have a more positive lifestyle. In my book I have recipes and sample menu and snack ideas but I assure you that once you break the cycle of dieting you will give yourself the gift of living and enjoying food.
Not all food is bad; it's our life source and sometimes these relationships need to be worked on!
Alison Canavan is a health and wellness expert, parenting columnist and motivational speaker who has devoted her career to nutrition, health and wellness, with a strong focus on mental health. Her new book Minding Mum is about making the choices that suit you and that make you happy. With chapters on nutrition, exercise, post-natal depression, mindfulness, beauty tips for busy mums and much more. Buy a copy here.