We all love to talk about dieting, being on a diet, a diet transformation (my friend's friend lost 5 stone in as many months), the latest diet fad, whether its juicing, raw, high protein, paleo. The list goes on! But is this actually any good for us in terms of a mindset?
We have been thinking about this a lot lately as everyone is in the full ‘diet’ ‘dry Jan’ “change my life’ mode. Is labelling what we are doing or trying to achieve as a ‘diet’ setting us up to fail, our we trying to transform our lives too drastically?? And if we do reach our goals of having that washboard flat tummy, dropping a dress size, will this make us happy?
The word ‘diet’ alone suggests that we will only be doing it for a period of time? And then going back to our ‘normal’ eating habits will inevitability mean the weight will creep back on, is this good for our bodies and our mental wellbeing?
How about instead of a ‘diet’ we look at what we are eating and where we are possibly going wrong and maybe go from there? Instead of doing something really extreme that changes your normal habits, labelling it up a restricting, what about making smaller life changes, a bit at a time and see if that makes a difference?
A lot of us have the ‘self-sabotage’ trait, how many times have you told yourself you're going to restrict something out of your diet? Chocolate/ alcohol/bread and then just find yourself constantly thinking about it!!! When you do finally crack, you end up eating tons of the stuff!!! We’ve all been there!
Or you start a crazy gym routine, where you want to work out most days, and find yourself exhausted so you eat more!! Remember as the saying goes - abs are made in the kitchen! This is true to a point, exercise only plays a part in your body, food is the other major part.
So we wanted to try and write something that is informative, cut through those diet myths and share the things we have learnt along the way that have helped us.
Our founder Danielle King has put together her top 5 tips.
1. Crash diets don’t work - this sounds sooooo obvious and I know!!! But, we have all tried them, we have all restricted our food, skipped meals etc. And it doesn’t work! You might feel great for a short period of time, but this is not sustainable so at some point, you will start eating and you’ll be back to square one. Sorry! I eat regularly, always 3 meals a day and sometimes snack in between depending on how I am feeling - I find from this I have more energy, feel much better, and feel like this has helped my metabolism a lot more. Another plus to this, is I tend to make better food choices as I am not 'starving' hungry and just desperate for anything!! It's also not very 'sexy' but planning really helps!!! I am less likely to make poor choices if I know I've got dinner in the fridge, or I am going into town and have lots of great and healthy food choices nearby.
2. Focus on you - It has taken me a while to find the type of lifestyle and foods that work for me.
We are all really different, have different habits, tastes and levels of energy. For me, having a more protein based breakfast, or slow release carbs like porridge or rye bread. They really set me up for the day and keep me full till lunch. I used to suffer from the shakes a lot, this was down to the amount of sugar and refined carbs in my morning cereal - the result, I was a hungry and shaky mess by 11 am most days, so needed another sugary snack to keep me going. I have also tried juicing in the morning, which also had a similar effect! Try different things and see how it makes your body feel.
3. Don’t label!!! - For me calling it a ‘diet’ just sets me up to fail! And you really don’t want any positive changes to merely be for a short period of time, which ‘diet’ suggests. This word can really get in the way of change! I like to think of my eating as choices, so I always tell people ‘I eat healthily’, or ‘I eat well’. I try not to use the word ‘diet’. I also don’t say the phrases, ‘I don’t eat’ or ‘I’m not eating’, again, as this seems really negative and restricting. So for me personally, I avoid eating a lot of processed foods, this is not to say I am not doing, or I don’t eat them, as sometimes I might want to, but for the most part, I steer clear. Generally, they make me feel quite sick! For me, this change of mindset makes such a difference, as I know I can have any food I want, but am ‘Choosing’ to eat this way. If I want to get a Chinese takeaway one night, I don’t feel any guilt about it!! Life is for living! And for me, food is a huge part of that!
4. Positivity - This sort of ties in with the above, but making sure any changes you want to make come from a positive place will make them much easier and more rewarding. eg. Like most, I am a little bit squidgier this side of Christmas, but I don’t hate myself for it. I used to really give myself a hard time if I had gained weight and try to get rid of it ASAP. Now I accept this, I don’t have any regrets of having an amazing time over Christmas, but know if I want to make a change, I do it from a positive space. I am back into my normal routine, and I am being more mindful of the food choices I make, and I know that in time the bit of ’squidge’ will be no more! I also accept that it won’t happen overnight! It can take time to learn to love and accept your body, and of course, you can still want to make changes, but you also need to do it positively and healthily. This mindset means that you will accept your body however it is, and not just when it's smaller / leaner.
Weighing less does not equal happiness.
5. Rest is just as important! - I cannot stress this one enough! It has taken me a long time to learn to listen to my body!!! I used to be on the go all the time, I believed work hard, play harder and all those other bullsh*t motivational slogan things that are banded around. I thought success was about cramming as much into your day/week/life as possible. Fact - overtraining can actually cause your body stress, this puts your body into fight or flight mode, which then can cause it to store fat. Rest days give your body time to repair your muscles ready for your next workout, they also help to minimise injury too. One of the biggest factors in ‘rest’ is sleep. Your body repairs and re-boots during sleep so ensuring you are getting enough should be a priority. In my experience I find I make poorer food choices when I am tired, generally craving more sugary foods!!! It's my bodies way of trying to find the energy to get me through the day! On these days I except them, but instead of going for high sugar foods, I try my best to go for natural sugars, eg. fruits/dates /raw food bars (eg. naked bars).
It has taken me a long time to learn to sleep, and to also be proud of getting my 8 hours in! I have a few tips - I don’t drink caffeine after 3 pm (unless I am totally wiped out), I dim the lights in the evening, or light candles, this gives a lovely ambience, but also starts to prep the brain for sleep, I love a sleepy tea!! This is a new habit, and my favourite is Clipper.
I sleep with an eye mask. This one took me a long time to work out, but I would get in bed and just not shut my eyes, this sounds so ridiculous, but I didn’t even realise I was doing it! I would lay there, and go over the day in my mind, or think about what I needed to do the next day, basically, my mind would start working away and then I just wouldn’t be able to switch off. Wearing an eye mask and the weight of the mask forces me to keep my eyes shut, and I think the slight pressure on my eyes relaxes me?? I don’t know if this is proven, but I liken it to having a facial where they put pads on your eyes, and I always loved that sensation.
I wanted to share my sleep routine as it has taken me a long time to get here and a lot of trial and error! But this little evening routine on the whole really works for me!
I hope you enjoyed my tips and would love to hear from you if you have any questions!
Thanks for reading xx