Would you follow a diet program if it didn't promise weight loss?
With so many diet fads and trends, have you ever said or thought "what am I even supposed to eat, I just don't know anymore!" There have been so many new diets every year and new trends it's not surprising that it can be extremely difficult to know what to follow and how to eat. When the promise of weight loss is layered on to the other "amazing" things promised about diet trends it can make these patterns of eating seem like a magic pill or too good to pass up.
Avoid tunnel vision on weight loss outcomes
What if all of these diets didn't promise (or deliver) weight loss? Would you still choose to eat in the pattern the diet is recommending for the long term and if your body would not change as a result?
What I've seen through my experience as a dietitian is that many people ignore their body's signals telling them if it is or isn't the right diet for their body and lifestyle and they get tunnel vision on a single outcome of promised weight loss. There are so many other reasons for choosing an eating pattern that I think should be considered when choosing how to eat on a daily basis and for a longer period of time.
How can you choose a pattern of eating which feels supportive and positive?
There are so many important factors when it comes to eating. I've made a list of things to consider especially when you are deciding to dramatically change the way you eat. Going from eating grains, fruit, legumes and sugar and transitioning to a keto diet is a very big change in an eating pattern. When making food pattern decisions, I think it's helpful to have a guide of questions to consider so that a weight loss promise isn't taking over all of our decision making processes.
You can use the prompts below (and even add your own) to decide is a diet program or plan going to fit into your life. How will this diet feel and look in your life and if it doesn't fit, then you have the opportunity to explore other options.
Consider the following when choosing a diet pattern/ program:
how does it fit with your family's food preferences (can you eat family meals together)
does it align with your values (such as eating no meat for ethical reasons) or religious beliefs
does it support your values of health (if you want to improve your blood pressure or cholesterol)
can it fit financially into your budget
would it take up too much of your time or energy (such as complex recipes, time consuming shopping trips)
does it make you more/ less stressed?
how does the food taste? Is it flavorful and enjoyable?
can you still use food for comfort and for socialization?
does this eating pattern feel restrictive?
are you being asked to cut out foods which are important to you (culturally, traditionally)?
does it feel short term? could you imagine eating this way for years (not months)?
can this way of eating support your movement goals?
will this impact my relationship with food?
Once you have chosen to follow a new diet program or plan you can analyze how it's fitting into your life and how you feel by asking yourself:
how energized or fatigued you feel
is it supporting your sleep or negatively impacting it
if it changes your physical body such as causing muscle cramps, light headed feeling, constipation/ diarrhea
I would invite you to take some time to journal your thoughts using these questions before making a decision around a new diet pattern or program.
What if the diet pattern doesn't feel right for you but you want to reach your goals?
If you've gone through the list and have realized that the diet promises something you very much desire (such as weight loss) but it appears as though it's going to very much disrupt your life and make you feel miserable, what now?
It's not you, it's actually the dieting industry. The dieting industry makes us believe that WE as individuals should be able to lose weight and if we don't it's all our fault. Weight research shows that diets don't work for the majority of people. 50-100% of individuals in weight loss trials will regain most/ all of the weight lost using a diet change.
If you have landed on this page, it's likely you may already know that fad diets and programs haven't worked for you BUT you're not sure where else to go. I would invite you to read more and explore articles and/or books on Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size (TM).
If you would like support to understand what eating pattern would feel supportive for you and exploring a Health At Every Size approach to wellness, I can help. Book a connection call to get started.