Are you at the beginning of your journey to better health and trying to find a diet that works for you? Or have you been at this for a while and are looking for ways to shake things up? Wherever you are this should be an exciting time because you're on a journey to become a healthier version of yourself!
Just Starting? Wondering If There's a Diet That Works For You?
There is certainly no shortage of diets out there. It seems that every day another “sure thing” joins the mix, with social media buzzing with terms like “intuitive eating”, “intermittent fasting”, “keto”, “raw food diet” and “high protein diet”.
Don't forget the old standbys, which include Weight Watchers (now rebranded as simply WW), South Beach (similar to Atkins, which we may remember our parents doing!), Jenny Craig and Nutisystems.
All of these plans work because they are all based on the scientifically-sound principle behind weight loss: calories in versus calories out.
In other words, when your body burns off more calories than you eat, your weight drops. Any doubters out there? Look at the weight reduction success of weight loss surgery patients.
Weight loss surgery works because of the enforced calorie restriction it provides. We all know people who maintained that they “didn’t eat very much but just couldn’t lose weight” who, when undergoing weight loss surgery, suddenly found themselves shedding the pounds with greater ease. Yes, the state of being overweight really is the result of excess calorie consumption.
All Diets Are Not The Same!
There are as many diets out there as people dieting. There is a reason behind the plethora of choices, aside from the financial gain diet companies reap when they get another member to sign up. People have different “dieting personalities.” One of the keys to successful weight loss is finding an eating plan that corresponds with your unique set of needs.
These needs may change over time, which is why we need to be open to re-evaluating what we are doing when what we are doing no longer inspires us, or we hit an inevitable slow down or stall in our weight loss, or our lifestyle changes.
Long-term weight loss maintainers are very good at consistently tweaking their maintenance efforts, making self-care a priority. Keeping in mind, a diet that works for you today, may not be a diet that works for you in 5 years, 10 years, etc.
Your Food Template: Deciding What Is Right For You
The first step in deciding what weight loss plan is right for you begins with honesty. This requires no online quiz. Once you have made the decision to make better health a priority, sit down in a calm environment and have a deep think about what you need and what you want from your eating template.
Let us eliminate the word “diet” because now we want to reframe how we look at how we are nourishing ourselves. If you are like most of us, “diet” carries a connotation of dull deprivation; a temporary state that will eventually have an end point. Whereas “food template” is a more positive way of looking at what we are putting into our bodies. Most importantly, it is a template for a life-long way of eating.
As significantly-overweight people, this is essential for us to understand. There is no “after” with weight loss. Weight loss is merely practice for weight maintenance. This is why rigorous honesty is key when deciding on a food template. You will be choosing a way of eating that you will be adhering to for the rest of your life. It is in your interest to make it something that speaks to you, all while promoting optimal physical and mental health.
Your food template should make you feel strong and positive, like you are working towards a better you with each and every meal choice you make.
Here is an article by the EllisFit.com admin that lists his favorite healthy foods on his food template that allowed him to lose over 100 pounds:
Be Honest When Structuring Your Food Template
One of the key questions you will want to reflect upon when setting up your individual food template is this one: can I moderate all foods, or are there some that will incite me to overeat? If you aren’t sure, ask yourself the following:
Are there certain foods that I seem to be unable to stop eating once I start? For many obese people, these are foods that are made from processed sugar. This doesn’t mean we need to eliminate all sugars from our food template. Naturally-occurring sugars, such as those found in fruit and vegetables, may not spark our appetite. But processed sugar, especially when combined with fat, such as the combination found in cookies, candy, cake and other sweets, may be difficult if not impossible for us to consume in a moderate way.
Food templates that are based on “everything in moderation” or “intuitive eating” may not be appropriate for people who have to make the honest assessment that they cannot eat “just a little bit” of all foods.
If, however you have made the honest assessment that you have a personality type that can moderate all foods, including foods that for most obese people lead them to overeating, a food template that does not exclude any foods may be a successful one for getting you to optimal health.
Remember, Food Templates Can Change. And That's Not Bad!
Here is the good news, and something successful weight loss maintainers do all the time: You can start with one way of eating, and modify this as your needs change.
At first you may want to include all sorts of foods in your food template, but you need to be careful. For example, you may find that the little square of chocolate that you've allowed yourself as an end-of-the-day treat is becoming problematic. Maybe that one square is becoming two or three. Or maybe your mind keeps thinking about the chocolate in the cupboard.
If you find yourself fighting off the urge to break your food template “just this one time” then you may have to re-evaluate. Pay attention to this! Your body is sending you an important message, and one you should listen to if you truly want to live in a mind and body that is working towards optimal health.
If you find any of the processed foods you’ve included in your food template are calling to you, try eliminating these for awhile. Tune in to how you are feeling. Are you sticking with your new food template with more ease and joy? If the answer is yes, stay with this modified food template and observe the results.
The One Golden Rule of Weight Loss
Remember at the top of this article where we talked about the non-negotiable truth about weight loss? Calories do count when we are talking about weight reduction and weight maintenance. Do your research. Talk to your health care professional and find out how many total daily calories you can consume that will lead to weight loss.
Like your food template, your calorie requirements for weight loss will change over time. The total amount of calories you can consume and lose weight will be different at 500 pounds versus 200 pounds. You will want to be open to evaluating your caloric needs as you shed weight.
A long-term stall is just one signal from your body that it may be time to shave some calories off of your food template so that your weight loss continues! Again, a diet that works for you today, may not be the same diet in the future.
Need more motivation? Check out the article of the EllisFit.com admin where he describes how he lost 100 pounds: Losing 100 Pounds with Sustainable Diet Changes