It seems a little crazy to me that the front of almost every magazine cover features some kind of cleanse, detox program or shake mix that will somehow magically fix all of your weight loss issues. I have tried some extreme things myself over the years (like drinking a lemon juice and maple syrup cocktail for 14 days straight) and so has Kate (she lived on just milk, orange juice, broth and homemade marshmallows for weeks…yes marshmallows…don’t even ask!) in the past to lose weight quickly/heal our metabolisms. Even though these ridiculous tactics did sort of “work,” the results only lasted for a little while.
Once we started eating solid foods again, things went right back to the way they had been, as it goes with pretty much every fad diet that’s advertised these days. Any program that cannot be sustained and turned into a lifestyle the majority of the time will honestly end up doing more harm than good because of how your metabolism is negatively affected.
Another trend I see with clients who have the “diet” mentality and are looking for a quick fix is that they oftentimes quit and give up on healthy eating if things aren’t going perfectly in their eyes. In other words, if the weight doesn’t come off exactly how they wanted it to or if they’ve cheated one too many times, they give up easily and exemplify the old familiar dieting term by “falling off the wagon” before they ever really even get on it. I wrote an article a while back about the problem with trying to be perfect that may be helpful if you feel like you have these tendencies.
So after failing various dieting attempts miserably, I gave up on all these extremes long ago and wanted to share some things that actually did work and helped me reframe how I think about healthy eating:
- I try to follow the Great Grandma Rule as much as possible. I do read labels and buy products that follow this rule. To put it simply, I try to eat what great grandma would have eaten 100 years ago. So if I can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, I don’t eat it.
- I do try to avoid modern manmade fats called PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats) that are very unstable and cause inflammation in the body. I call my house a PUFA-free zone. I avoid them at home, however I give myself a break and don’t worry about it when I go out to eat. If you want more information on the specifics of PUFAs, check out Dr. Ray Peat’s website.
- I live by the following scriptural principle: All things are acceptable/permissible, but not all are beneficial. I know that sometimes I eat things that are not beneficial for my body, however I also extend myself grace and eat things I enjoy so I never feel like I am on a “diet”. As I mentioned before in a previous article, if something is not the “healthiest” option, I pause, give thanks and bless the food to my body. I don’t fret about it and I don’t allow guilt to set in. I simply give myself permission to live a little and enjoy whatever it is that I’m eating.
- I do try to limit my consumption of starchy carbohydrates (namely grains) to one or less per day. I have found that getting your carb sources mostly from fruits and veggies can be very helpful for maintaining a healthy weight. Even though I try to limit it, I also don’t look at this as a hard and fast rule I have to stick to. For instance, if I eat grains for breakfast and then enjoy some while I’m out to eat or at a gathering later that day, then maybe I won’t eat any the following day or perhaps I’ll just eat less of them. The goal should be to find a healthy balance that works for your lifestyle and your schedule.
I truly believe the key to success in this area of your life is to focus on eating real food… as often as you realistically can. At the same time, you need to be able to give yourself a little freedom here and there, setting your mind on progress versus perfection.
In fact, the way I see it, there are only 2 ways you could eat perfectly all of the time anyway: 1) You hire a personal chef that follows you to and fro who is allowed to personally cook food for you in restaurants or homes neither of you own or 2) You decide to live as a hermit under a rock and never go anywhere or eat anything unless it was made by your bone-tired hands. So if that’s you…we need to talk!
But really, eating well the majority of the time while simultaneously giving yourself a little breathing room is the best and most realistic way to achieving healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime!