Coming out of the season of BBQs, pool parties, and picnics, there’s a common pattern that I’ve been seeing.
After a couple of sunny months of overindulgence, many people are getting mentally ready for some big changes this fall.
This can certainly be seen as a good thing, but there’s a cautionary tale there too.
A mom that I know recently commented, “One more binge day and then the diet starts tomorrow!”
It’s the kind of thing I hear a lot in my profession, but it’s one of the most unproductive mindsets for staying lean long term.
The idea of intentionally binging in anticipation of a period of restriction is DANGEROUS.
It’s bad for your relationship with food and can cause obsessive behaviours.
Although we all have the occasional day when we eat a bit more than we should, “binging” is something we should consider carefully…and do infrequently.
A binge normally comes after a period of deprivation, particularly when someone has been following a diet for a long period and can’t sustain it.
A whole season of binging (ie. eating without control) is dangerous to your health, and it certainly won’t get you the body you want.
And the guilt.
Oh, the guilt.
When it kicks in you feel like giving up altogether and eating more and more.
Because, screw it, you’ve messed up and what’s the point?
Diet, followed by binge, followed by diet, followed by binge, ad nauseam.
The guilt grows worse each time.
Your self worth takes a dive after each failed effort.
It sounds extreme when I put it like this, but it’s surprisingly common. I followed that pattern for over a decade before I finally got my act together.
Believe me, it wasn’t without a lot of tears, depression, anxiety, and guilt.
I eventually devised a system of eating that works for me, and it’s what I teach my Online Coaching clients to follow.
It involves giving up the concept of “dieting” altogether and learning to eat in a way that’s sustainable for you.
Avoiding your favourite foods or skipping social situations that present you with tempting treats isn’t necessary.
You can have treats, but you have to classify them as treats and not a staple of your nutrition plan.
You can have the cake…just not ALL the cake or all the time.
Making sensible choices that are best for you is what it’s all about.
Treat foods, which are generally highly-processed and calorie dense (like donuts, muffins, french fries, chips, burgers, ice cream, chicken wings, deli sandwiches, chocolate & granola bars) make it easier for the calories to add up quickly.
Someone trying to lose weight will need to create a calorie deficit so they can shed pounds.
Taking a closer look at how much and how often you’re consuming treat foods can be a good start.
Take a moment right now to decide:
- What treat foods are you willing to give up?
- What treat foods do you want to make a regular part of your nutrition plan?
Going from “eating everything you want all the time” to excessive restriction (“No sugar for a month!”) is unrealistic and unnecessary.
You don’t need to give up chocolate, if you really love it.
You can create a nutrition plan that allows you to lose weight and get leaner, while still including chocolate (or your own favourite treat) regularly.
It does require some changes to what you’re currently eating, but it’s probably not what you think.
You don’t have to give up carbs altogether to lose weight either.
That’s just another silly myth.
Making some sensible changes to what you’re eating, without ongoing deprivation, is the best way to break the diet pattern.
Let go of the guilt and start following a plan that doesn’t cause you so much pain…while still getting the fat loss you want.
Sounds ideal, doesn’t it?
When you break out of the diet cycle, you’re finally free to enjoy your food without feeling bad about it.
And that’s how you can get lean and stay lean for life.