I recently joined an online forum and found myself giving advice about sustainable, long term results when dieting. We were talking about intermittent fasting, but this advice really applies to everyone.
Here’s what I wrote:
The key to sustainable dieting results is to find a way to make any dieting approach a part of your lifestyle. To enjoy it every day. It has to feel “normal”. Cause if you view it as an unnatural part of your life, a project that takes effort, energy, causes you stress etc. then it’s not going to be sustainable. You can willpower through to results, but willpower is a limited resource and if it takes too much out of you, you will eventually fail.
Try to view yourself not as someone who needs to lose weight and has to go on a diet to do so, but rather as someone who is deciding to practice a healthy lifestyle, which will naturally result in a lean and fit body. View your nutritional and training choices as nothing more than “a part of normal life”, a part of normal eating and activity habits.
Many of us have spent decades eating poorly, not taking care of ourselves, so it only makes sense that it takes a lot of time to break the old habits and to truly embrace a new lifestyle. You can’t really force it to happen overnight. More often than not, taking it slow, making gradual changes, is what is going to help you to mould yourself into a new and better version of yourself.
Make a small change, stick to it until you make it into a habit and then, before you know it, it becomes a part of you for life. The older you are, the harder new habits are to create though. There is also a limit as to how many new habits you can cultivate at any one time. So if you try to change too much, too quickly – you are likely setting yourself up for failure. Taking small steps is more often than not the best choice.
Also when it comes to dieting in general – the modern human tends to be an emotional eater. We eat when we’re happy, sad, angry, bored, lonely etc. Until we learn to eat for actual sustenance, it is very hard to lose weight and keep it off. Again – you can willpower yourself through to some results, but if you are influenced by your emotions when it comes to eating, there will always be pitfalls waiting to bring you down.
Learn to recognize hunger and learn to satiate it with sufficient food when you choose it. Don’t let your emotions make the choices for you.
Recently I’ve looked quite a bit into emotional eating as-well as to how proper habits are cultivated. I think both topics deserve several books worth of discussions. Who we are, is a collection of our habits and the effects they create. If you’re fit, you’re fit because you’ve made it a habit to work out regularly and eat right. If you’re smart, you’ve picked up the habit of educating yourself, reading, learning etc. On the other hand, if you’re fat or ignorant, you’ve picked up a bad habit of being lazy, unmotivated to learn or to work out regularly. But bad habits can be broken, and new, better habits can be cultivated.
Emotional eating is also a simple concept that is nonetheless quite hard to break free from. Food can be like an emotional wild card – it can be used to supplement any emotion, or at times, completely replace it. Yet it should not be so. The key is to embrace your emotions, stare them in the face and address them. No matter how hard it is, emotions should not rule over you and food should not be an escape or a buddy to help you through them. It will just create a circle of addiction and misery and the true issues will continue to remain unresolved.
Hopefully this stuff has given you guys something to think about when it comes to sustainable dieting results. I’ll try to write more about it in the future!