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I just read an article on from Health.com (via Yahoo!) titled “5 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working.” I’m a firm believer in eating more simple, natural, healthy foods as a key part of a balanced nutrition plan, but have never been a fan of “diets” in general. Rather than jump into something that’s extreme, difficult to sustain, and that may cause negative “knock on” effects, I propose stringing a large number of small, healthy decisions together (aka small steps).
However, I know that dieting is common and I thought the 5 Reasons provided were pretty interesting. I will also note that they are analogous to the types of things you have to work through to become healthy in general (not just diet related). Have a look:
- Body Rebellion – Call it “unhealthy eating withdrawal”, a side-effect, or your inner devil trying to regain ground, there’s a reason you’ve been eating poorly. Whatever has been steering the ship, will try and regain control – – unless your body’s trying to tell you you’re not eating healthy enough (which some diets may have you do) fight through it.
- Hunger – Per the article true hunger doesn’t have to accompany a healthy, calorie-on-target nutrition plan. Real hunger may mean “you’re doing it wrong” or you may be creating a problem.
- Cravings – Want to ensure you never sustain healthier eating, swear off those foods that your Mom made you when you were little, and that dominate your “these are a few of my favorite things” list. Some simple eating rules that help you manage frequency and amount, that focus on the positive side of your dietary goals, but allow you to indulge on a less frequent, thoughtful manner can help avoid a personal binge-laden dietary apocalypse (e.g. picture the scene with the Mayor breaking the window to the shop in the movie Chocolate).
- Social Pressure – Good advice in the article. In addition, you are to a degree who you spend time with (I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true), and in the end you can just say “No Thank You.”
- Emotions – Probably one of the most challenging “diet killers” to deal with, and the key to cope and manage through emotions is different for each of us. I will say that finding your own way to effectively deal with the difficulties in life, and associated emotions (aka how we cope) is a worthwhile endeavor. What’s worked for me is taking the time to try and work through the root cause of my struggles (not always easy), and a bit of sublimation (my defense mechanism of choice).
I think the 5 reasons (or challenges) above are worth some consideration as you strive to be more healthy. Each step matters, so keep on trucking.
Small steps add up!!!