Let me guess, you have set a New Year's resolution, focused on the fact that 2015 will be the year to drop weight, quit sugar or pledge to go paleo. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but New Year's resolution diets don't work and here is why
You are setting yourself up for failure
The majority of people who go on a diet fail, usually putting on all of the weight they lost and more. Dieting slows down your metabolism and puts you into starvation mode so more of what you eat is stored as fat and you put on weight as soon as you start eating your regular diet again.
The language we use when we diet sets us up for failure too! Restrictive terms such as "I can't have sugar" or "I must not eat that" can work in the short term but are not usually sustainable and we fall off the wagon once again! It is human nature to rebel, even against ourselves! "I could" and "I choose" are much more positive and helpful phrases to use. "I could go to the gym," rather than "I should go to the gym." "I choose to eat a big salad every day" because it makes me feel good rather than "I can't have a piece of cake because I am on a diet," see the difference? The language you use both in your own head and when communicating with others has a profound effect on the way you feel and the actions you take.
Counting calories doesn't work
Counting and focusing on calories is not a healthy or sustainable approach to food. Focus instead on consuming food that nourishes your body nutritionally. Food is our fuel, it is our friend, not our enemy! Let's have a look at a nutritionally rich green smoothie, containing fresh fruit, coconut milk, chia seeds and spinach, which contains close to 400 calories. Compare that to a can of diet soft drink that has 0 calories. Which is better? The can of soft drink contains no calories but no nutrition either? The artificial sweeteners (chemicals) will leave us craving sugar leading to unhealthy food choices. The smoothie however will fill us up and satisfy us nutritionally for hours. I know which I would choose!
Deprivation messes with your mind
Depriving ourselves of the things we enjoy only sets us up for disaster. Our focus is on the specific things we are 'not allowed to have' and we now want them really badly! Focus instead on filling ourselves up with the good stuff and your need for junk simply diminishes! I am not just talking about food here either, fill your life with things you love, surround yourself with positive people, work towards a satisfying career and make time for activities you enjoy.
Being healthy is a lifestyle not a destination
When we go on a diet it is a short term approach designed to get us to a specific destination. The destination might be 10 kilos lighter or a size 12 dress size but what happens when we arrive at our destination? We will probably celebrate and feel great! The celebration will probably include many of the things we have deprived ourselves of while we have been dieting. We have reached our goal and we often go back to our old ways, our regular diet and start to stack the weight back on again.
Start doing the things that make you happy now. Don't wait for that magical day when you fit into a certain dress size or are satisfied with the number on the scales to book your holiday to the beach or buy that little black dress. Live like you have already reached your goal, you will be happy and it will be much easier to achieve.
How about making 2015 the year that you start the lifelong journey to feel better, wake up with more than enough energy to embrace your day and make food choices that make you feel fresh, light and energized? Who is with me?
Jessica Donovan is a woman's holistic health expert who helps mums get their sparkle back and become a more energetic, calm and joyful version of themselves. She is a one stop shop for all things nutrition, stress and hormone related. Jessica combines her deep naturopathic knowledge with a realistic, empathetic, inspiring and down to earth approach to empower women to look after themselves and take charge of their own wellbeing.
Jessica has created a brand new online course, Delicious Wellbeing, a 6 week program nourishing mums to vitality through real food, find out more here