In my line of work, friends often come to me to ask for nutrition advice. Recently I learned that 3 of my friends decided to go on diets - HCG hormone, Ducan diet and Protein Shakes diet. As a trained expert in nutrition, I tried to explain to them why I don't think that extreme diets are a way to go, but nothing seemed to click...until I used a different analogy that I would like to share in this blog.
When it comes to foods, you get to choose which ones you like and which ones don't like. For many perfectly strong reasons people overeat and end up with a less than desired body weight. So lets look at our relationships with food as we do at the ones with our significant others.
Chances are you picked the guys or girls you dated yourself. Now, they may not have been the right choices sometimes, but you figured your way out eventually and let go of the bad relationships. So what about food? Taking up an extreme diet is similar to agreeing to an arranged marriage. It is totally giving up on your own capacity to decide what is good for you and surrendering to someone else's opinion of what you should do.
I am not saying that we shouldn't listen to others about what to eat and what to avoid. But look at outside advice and diet books as if someone is setting you up on a blind-date. First see if you actually like a new relationship, before you commit to it.
What got you to the weight you are at, were your actions fueled by circumstances. Unless you analyze your behavior and figure out what got you there in the first place, how will you be able to carry on with food once the crash diet is over? Yes, some arranged marriages do work out and the couple may grow to love each other, but in many cases partners are not happy and divorce is inevitable. The same with diets. When you restrict your food options and calorie intakes, you let someone else control your life for a while.
If it is the instant satisfaction you are looking for, then the result will be similar to the one of having a fancy wedding and then going through a divorce. But once it is over, it is back to square one - figuring out your own way of eating that works for your body and your personality. You gotta do it eventually, so why not start now?
You are not an addict that can't be trusted with a box of cookies or a pizza. You are a smart person who may need to adjust your relationship with food and then follow with action.
Take some time to ask yourself what got you to the weight you are at. Why do you like to eat certain foods? How is your current portion control working out for you? What does it feel like when you indulge and how can your cravings be satisfied with non-food activities? After all, food is fuel, not necessarily entertainment. And if you are thinking that food is meant to bring pleasure and taste good, then that's yet another reason to avoid extreme diets - they usually don't allow much variety and they are not going to last long.
Hopefully this post evoked your thinking and you will look at arranged diets as you would an arranged marriage. Opt to learn about nutrition. Notice how food affects you and then make your own educated choices. Don't rob yourself by settling and giving up control to someone else. You CAN have it all - the happily ever after with the food and body you actually love!
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