Like so many women around New Year’s, you’ve probably sworn to yourself to “eat healthier,” “lose weight,” and “take better care of yourself” over the next 12 months. Many of you have probably turned to popular diets circulating the internet to accomplish that, whether it’s the raw diet, Paleo, Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, or – well, the list goes on. While there are many great ideas in a lot of those diets, there is always a challenge when starting something new. Here are some tips in making your 2015 health goals a reality using your chosen diet style:
There are fad diets, and then there are ridiculous diet schemes.
Although it’s apparently been around for about a year, I only recently saw this ad for a diet product called Sensa. It appeals to this country’s ‘quick-fix’ mentality where just sprinkling your food with this product will magically help you shed pounds.
How has a condiment suddenly become the fix-all for a weight problem?
While yes, some companies try to sell the idea that spices and flavorings may suffice a person, it’s not going to make up for a poor nutritional diet, and insufficient amount of exercise.
It saddens me that the American populace, especially women, fall victim to these ‘get thin quick’ schemes, and then feel horrible about themselves when these diets don’t work.
Here’s a dirty little secret that no one tells you: Diets don’t work. Period. And no woman is going to look like this girl in the ad by using a diet product. Just sayin’.
Some diets high in protein or designed as diuretics can help you lose pounds, sure, but misleadingly so. It’s water weight, not fat. That’s why one seems to easily “pack on the pounds” right after getting off of the diet. That’s also another reason why watching the numbers on your scale is not the way to lose weight, but rather watching your own waistline. Girls, you know what I’m talking about: How cool do we find it when our pants start to feel loose on us again? The scale is not a dependable tool to assess weight loss due to those constant fluctuations.
Or diets work while women are on them, but one cannot live in a constant state of deprivation forever. Once a woman has lost x amount of pounds and gets off her diet, their normal lifestyle shows up on their waistline again.
A diet is not a reason to lose pounds. It’s a lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the word itself. The primary definition for “diet” is: The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. That’s it. To ‘go on a diet’ simply means to adopt a new eating lifestyle.
But deprivation and looking at “a diet” as something to punish yourself with for being overweight is never the answer to feeling good about yourself and your body.
So to those women out there frustrated with diets and their yo-yo weight issues – don’t just “go on a diet,” but rather find a way to change your current diet/eating lifestyle. A pill or a “sprinkle on” diet is not a healthy alternative. Don’t look for products that tote “weight loss” as its endgame. Look for foods and products that tote health and wellness. That’s the path to recovery.
Hunger is not our enemy. But the foods we eat could be a Trojan horse.
My advice? Get a gym membership. Hire a trainer that will keep you accountable at the gym. Talk to the staff nutritionist. Eat more whole foods (stand-alone foods like fruits and veggies that don’t come in a box or can). It may not happen tomorrow, next week, or even in a month. But dedication to a habit like exercising and buying only the right things for your fridge and cupboards will show up, in both how you look – and how you feel.
As I tentatively begin to step into the pristine landscape of 2013 and leave my footsteps behind me, it seems inevitable that I would look back at the past 12 months and contemplate the year that was 2012.
What a whirlwind year it was, after pulling myself out of a personal year-long hell in 2011. I’m healthy. I’m happy. And even my blogs have gotten better over a year’s time. I’ve started a Facebook page. I’ve even begun my education at a second school. I’ve tried strange things, such as cactus pads in my salad, and making raw foods. I even made kale chips in my new dehydrator. I have vastly improved my personal yoga practice. The other day, I found myself actually giving sound nutrition suggestions to people “coming down with something.” It surprised me that I had it in me!
It’s amazing what a year can do for you.
For instance, this year has been a year of learning new things. As a health and nutrition nut, here is a list of personal buzz words I’ve welcomed into my vocabulary in 2012:
– Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
– Processed foods
– Omegas (3s, and 6s)
– Farmer’s market
– Fad Diets
– Plant-based diets (Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian)
– “Eat the rainbow!”
– (Essential) Nutrients
– Diet-related illnesses (Diabetes, cancer, hypertension/high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease)
– Obesity epidemic
– Lactose intolerance
– Deficiencies/Toxicity (vitamins, minerals, water)
– Empty calories
– Nutrient dense foods
– Grow gardens, not lawns
– Heirloom seeds
– Free radicals/antioxidants
– “Let food be thy medicine”
– Hippocrates, the father of medicine
– Functional foods
– Protein, lipids, and carbs
– Macro/micro nutrients
– Artificial sweeteners
– TCA Cycle
I am pretty sure there are hundreds more, too. But these are just those off of the top of my head. Any of them sound familiar to you?
It’s amazing to me that I’ve discovered that much over just 12 months. And 2013 looks just as promising. Recently, I closed my eyes and jumped into nominating myself as a student delegate for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Student Advisory Council. Now, let me clarify: I have NEVER been on a committee in my entire life. I haven’t felt passionate about anything in my 30 years of life to want to join a committee related to it. But this year, I gave it a whirl. I am getting tired of all the books and online tests, and no real-world application or interacting with others who share my passions. Besides these blogs (which I’ve fallen behind on writing of late), I don’t feel like I am reaching enough people to make an impact with all of this amazing knowledge I continue to acquire. I can’t WAIT to start making a difference.
For now, though, I await the long, arduous process in store for me before I know whether I am chosen to serve on the council starting in June. Phew! Wish me luck, guys.
A friend of mine told me that 2013 was “going to be my year.” We’ll see what happens. The journey of 2013 so far looks pretty tame. I will be finishing my holistic nutrition program in June. I’ll peck through a few more required courses for my traditional dietician technician program, and maybe start making cards and practice some holistic nutrition counseling by the end of the year. I even kicked around the idea of starting a really basic online magazine. This time next year, though, I think I will start yoga instructor training. I want to get my that Western herbalism program under my belt, but – ah, one thing at a time.
So this year, I want to take a tai chi class. I want to travel. I want to cook and try foods I’ve never heard of before. I want to blog about topics that intrigue me, with touching prose. I want to take beautiful pictures. I want to dig out my three-year-old raised beds out of my garage, and finally start my little garden. I want to meditate. I’d love to learn how to crochet. I’d like to finish at least one cross stitch project. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy this year’s journey.
Viva la 2013!!!