When it comes to dieting, there are two broad paths you can follow.
The first (and most popular) is one of heavy restriction – a no-holds-barred healthy eating regime. In theory, such an approach should yield dramatic results in a relatively short space of time.
The second (and less glamorous) approach is based upon moderation. Instead of implementing drastic change, a ‘moderate’ dieter will slowly adjust their eating habits at a manageable pace. There are no blanket bans on certain food types and no jarring changes in eating habits.
I don’t know about you, but the second approach sounds far more appealing. Sure, you may not see results as quickly, but you’ll be embarking upon a far more bearable, manageable, and sustainable journey.
The biggest problem with the first approach is that you make a powerful enemy: healthy eating itself. A restrictive diet encourages resentment of what should really be your greatest ally – healthy food. Resentment almost always leads to a loss of motivation, and ultimately, failure.
To make healthy eating your ally, you should seek to adjust your poor dieting habits gradually and subtly. Start keeping a food diary. Work on reducing hunger pangs. Switch to a protein-rich breakfast. These are all things that encourage your perception that healthy eating is an ally – not something to be dreaded or hated, but something to be utilized as a valuable tool in your weight loss efforts.
This approach is most important to appreciate when you feel most motivated to lose weight (and invariably most motivated to embark upon a highly restrictive diet). For instance, I recently came back from a two-week holiday in Florida in which I managed to put on 10lbs (impressive, I know). In the past I might have thrown myself into a restrictive eating regime, barring myself from any number of foods that I love to eat, but I would have fallen off the wagon pretty quickly, as one is inclined to do when such enormous change is imposed.
Instead, I went back to normal – using healthy eating as an ally to encourage inevitable weight loss. That approach is far less taxing (and in my opinion, far more likely to yield beneficial long-term results) than making healthy eating the enemy by implementing a drastic eating regime.
When it comes to weight loss, there is no rush. There is no deadline. There certainly should be no ’90 day program’. As long as your weight is heading in the right direction over a period of weeks or months, you will reach your goal. Make sure you are treating healthy eating as an ally rather than an enemy, and let time do the rest of the work.