There are many reasons diets and self-deprivation don’t work for a lot of people. For one, diets, especially those that focus on depriving oneself, are not sustainable. They can help you lose weight in the short term, but research shows that 80 to 95 percent of people who diet eventually end up gaining back the weight they lost.
Another is the physiological factors. This pertains to things about ourselves we cannot change—that affect our weight. Factors like genetics and hormones play a big part; that also includes the environment we grew up in. Lastly, diets usually increase cravings and thus cause people to experience binge-eating after a period of not consuming anything.
If you are tired of diet fads that don’t work and only require you to deny yourself and force you into feelings of hunger and thirst, it’s time to switch from a self-depriving diet to a healthy and nutritious one. But this change won’t happen overnight; slow and steady wins the race in this case. Here are some pointers for easing your way into a more nutritious and healthy diet.
Get rid of the hunger mindset
The first step is to get rid of the notion that you need to be hungry to achieve your weight goal. The goal is not to suppress your appetite or to ignore your hunger cues. It is to find your lifestyle’s healthy foods that are not just nutritious but also delicious. It’s not about eating less; it’s about eating right.
Take it slowly
Many of us tend to go all out once we find our resolve to do something. The problem with doing a complete diet overhaul over a few days is that once we fail, it discourages us from trying again. Here’s the thing: We cannot change in three days the habits that we cultivated in three decades. When you decide to eat more healthily, you have to accept that you might fail along the way, and it might take time for you to settle into a groove.
Switch out one meal or drink for something healthier once a day or a week, and then add more until you find yourself consuming purely healthier alternatives. Write a schedule. For example, you can switch your daily juice intake to water one week and transition from chips to nuts in the next. Take it one day or one week at a time so that you don’t give yourself a whiplash while making the transition.
Eat more slowly
Understand the science behind why eating more slowly will help us be more healthy. The speed at which you eat your food dictates how much you eat and how many calories and food you consume. Studies show that those who eat too fast are more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI) compared to their counterparts who don’t eat fast.
Part of having a good diet is to eat more slowly, so take your time when having meals. Invite your family, friends, and coworkers to eat with you so that you have someone to chat with. When you find yourself alone, play a video or a playlist with the set amount of time that you want to consume your food so that you’re reminded to slow down.
Learn how to cook
Social media and reality TV shows don’t always present a realistic view of cooking. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have the perfect kitchen and tools to whip up some healthy and delicious meals for yourself or your family. If you wait to have the state-of-the-art kitchen or the tools before you learn how to cook, you miss out on precious time that would allow you to choose healthier ingredients and save money.
One of the most frustrating things about staying home all the time is having to decide what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and chances are you have been whipping up the same recipes for years now. The pandemic is the perfect time to elevate your repertoire of meals, and now is the best time to explore ingredients and dishes that taste just as good as their less healthy counterparts.
Be gentle with yourself
Last but not least, being hard on yourself will do you more harm than good. Be gentle with yourself as you make this transition, and especially when you find yourself slipping. Let this change come from a place of love for yourself and your body, and you will be more likely to succeed in your goal to eat more healthily.