sliced strawberry

Low carb, low fat, Dukan, South Beach or the diet of the moment? What is a body to do? While each approach may have something to teach us, it is clear that nothing is clear when it comes to weight loss.

I believe that when scientists and diet gurus finally find the “magic diet”, it will be what we’ve known all along …the most effective way to lose weight is to eat less chemically processed foods, eat more foods provided as nature intended and of course exercise more.

There Is No Magic Weight Loss Pill

There are no magic pills that magically take off weight while you sleep. Having a gastric band operation will only reduce the capacity of your stomach but will not change your mentality. There is no-one and nothing else responsible for your weight and health other than you.

The ‘Diet Mentality’ is the part of your brain that sees things in black and white terms. You are either on or off a diet. You are either good or bad depending on your weight or how well you are sticking to your diet. And foods are either good or bad as well.

You become disgusted with yourself when you go “off” your diet or eat a “bad” food. When this happens you decide that you have broken the diet anyway, so you may as well eat anything that you like. And then you feel even worse, driven into a cycle of unrealistic expectations, broken promises and failure.

Not healthy!

The Alternative To The Diet Mentality

The alternative to the Diet Mentality is the conscious creation of a healthy relationship with food. It means that you no longer see things as black and white, good and bad. It means that you commit to make attitudinal and behavioural changes that support creating the new you.

The first step in changing your attitude in order to achieve long-term success is to “make friends with food”. It means that you understand that food is nourishment and necessary for survival. It requires acknowledging that it is okay to ENJOY preparing and eating food.

Awareness Of Choice Makes A Difference

It means empowerment. It means recognising that your relationship with food is a series of CHOICES that can lead you to the outcome you desire. It means that you can give up short-term satisfaction in order to obtain long-term goals.

This is helped by following the second step, allowing yourself some flexibility with the 70/30 rule. It is IMPOSSIBLE to set yourself unrealistic, rigid rules to follow for life. You need a social life, attend weddings and dinners and not feel deprived with food and drink.

Not inflict your ‘rigid’ views on your diet on your hosts. So make your personal choices around food for 70% of the time, allowing yourself the flexibility to eat as well as you can in any social situation 30% of the time. And if you can do 80/20, even better!

This is the ‘Freedom from Diet Mentality’. How much better do you feel now? Now there is a lot less stress around what you put into your mouth.

A therapist who specialises in weight issues can be very helpful in assisting you to identify ineffective thoughts, behaviours and habits and create positive strategies for motivation and change, so get help if you need it.

Think Slim!

Article written by: Clare Shepherd
Clare is a nutritionist based in Sheffield. She offers advice on nutrition that is simple, affordable and achievable, helping you to find  solutions to help you attain peak health.
Twitter @newlifenut
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