Hearing the word “diet” makes me want to rip my hair out. All at once. As we have all learned by now, in order to lose the weight for good, we must do it the healthy way-changing our lifestyle as opposed to temporarily “diets”.
During my many years of an eating disorder, I had found myself “losing weight” on many occasions. Although this was a horrible eating-disordered mindset to be in, I had learned a thing or two about losing weight and what it took working toward my health and fitness goals. There was a million things I did wrong, which I now see people repeat, day after day. Today, I thought I would share with you five huge mistakes I made during my weight loss journey.
1. You are setting too many rules
When I began losing weight, one of the first things I read was “do not eat past 8”. I began to follow this for so long, that it became a “rule”. I began to stuff my face at 7:55pm, knowing that was the last bite of food I would get, which defeats the purpose of weight loss. It is easy to be taken over by intense inspiration when setting your weight loss goals. You want to do EVERYTHING correctly.
I imagine if it is your first time losing weight, you will go online and do some research on what the best way to do this is. As you have probably noticed, there are COUNTLESS ways to lose weight: reducing sugar consumption, not eating past 8pm, exercising every day, weightlifting, etc. It is easy to be taken over by intense inspiration when setting your weight loss goals. You want to do EVERYTHING correctly. You will want to follow “EVERY rule” It can be helpful to follow these guidelines, in the end, they all add up to a healthy lifestyle. But when done all at once, this is the best way to revert back to your old habits. A large amount of changes for the body in a short period of time is OVERWHELMING!
Pick one guideline to follow. Your favourite one. Perhaps, reducing ONLY refined sugar.
When you feel you are ready to make further changes, start by doing some light exercise. Work your way towards these changes slowly. . Fall in love with every step before making more.
2. Calorie Deprivation.
If it was easy to lose, it will be easy to gain.
Even once we understand that the calories we eat are not necessarily the calories we wear, think of when that intense hit of inspiration comes. “I’m gonna eat a bunch of salads and protein!” This way, it’s very easy to accidentally undereat without knowing how much you are depriving your body of food.
There is no doubt that if you eat less calories, you will quickly lose weight. Let’s think of competitive body builders for a moment. They compete by displaying their physiques on stage, and the nature of the competition is based on which physique is the most aesthetically pleasing. A few months prior to their competition, they must lose massive amounts of fat, and must quite literally strip off the layers of ANYTHING that is preventing them from portraying their years of hard work. Their fat loss is 100% safely controlled by their personal trainer. This, however, is a dangerous way to live if it is not done carefully. It is possible, but trust me, you wouldn’t want to live that way.
It is easy to get caught up in the “thin”, but slowly your body will begin to starve, and youwill begin to get cravings, tiredness, energy loss, and in this state of mind, it is easy to begin to dislike the way you are looking. Isn’t the purpose of setting fitness goals to end up feeling good about yourself?
Make sure you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats (hemp, flaxseeds, chia seeds). Many sources of healthy, plant based foods. This way you can fill up your tummy just as you would with a salad, but also meet your calorie requirements!
3. “Cheat Days”
Temporary “diets” REQUIRE cheat days. How on earth else would you get through the intense cravings, low energy, and carb deprivation?
There is no scientific evidence that proves that cheat days are healthy. Sure, it can aid in temporary “weight loss” but not losing weight long-term, and allowing ourselves to be fit and strong.
If the body is consistently getting adequate amounts of every nutrient it requires, there will be no need-or desire for cheat days. Cravings for sugar come from the body lacking carbs. Cravings for any junk food come from the body lacking in a macro or micronutrient. If your food provides every macronutrients worth of food to function properly, and tastes good, and it will fully satisfy you by itself. See? No need to refeed on junk food that tastes good if your healthy food already tastes delicious.
Identify the exact food you are craving. Google “macros” of this food. If the bulk of it is fat, google “healthy sources of fat”. Almonds contain high fat content, munch on some almonds!
Part of eating a healthy, balanced plant-based diet includes eating foods you may consider “unhealthy” from time-to-time. Even if that time means once daily. But scheduling in entire days to stuff your face may easily turn into cheat weeks, then cheat months, then cheat years.
4. “Well, I have gone on a food binge. I guess that ruins EVERYTHING”
So you have gone on a food binge. ITS OKAY. Letting yourself mope and feel bad about it will not empty the calories from your system. The best way to deal with this is to calm down, sit down and find peace of mind and forgive yourself. Then, start again tomorrow.
Identify the exact macro or micro nutrient that caused you to overeat, and observe what food it was that you wanted to eat the most. If, for example, it was the fats, then next time you may feel the temptation to binge, eat the almonds instead!
Let this be a learning curve. Again, if you eat lots of good quality proteins, flavourful, healthy carbs and omega-3 fats, the impulse to eat junk food should decrease significantly.
So, one product in the “health food” section of a grocery store says “only 150 calories!”, but has 30g of sugar. Another says “only 3g of sugar” but is 400 calories per serving. What on earth are we supposed to believe is healthy?
In my anorexic mindset, I reverted to eating neither. I believed since one product was basically saying “sugar is bad”, and another “calories make you gain weight”. A few years later during my bulimic binge phase, I began eating everything, and lots of it.
The advertising on food products can be the perfect recipe for weight gain. This is a dangerous road to go down. Just because some health food product says “fibre”, or “calcium” on it doesn’t make it healthy. It just means it contains fibre or calcium. Animal products contain calcium. Does that make them healthy? No. Just because one product says “Only 150 calories!” doesn’t make it healthy, or even possible to use it to lose weight if in the end it will only make you hungry for the food containing 400 calories.
If you eata whole foods plant based diet, and lots of variety in the colours of the foods you eat, you will get tons of micronutrients such as calcium. If an animal based yogurt has pieces of cereal in it and says “fibre”, don’t be fooled into thinking that that is healthier than say, an apple which is packed with a ton of fibre. All it means is that the yogurt contains fibre. Keep in mind that the healthiest foods are ones that are in their most whole form.
As we can see, the one “rule” to losing weight goes a step further. We must allow our bodies to grow to be healthy and fit before we can focus on primarily the aesthetic “thin”. Sure, it is possible to lose it unhealthily, but if you do it correctly, you will also feel energized enough to enjoy the body you have worked for. \If you feel that anything tastes better than healthy feels, you have not yet felt truly healthy.
Good luck everyone!
Stay beautiful 💕