Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting started with Clean Eating

The following steps apply to both nutrition and exercise.

1- Get a plan- Although I believe that in the end it is "habits" and not an actual "plan" that helps a person succeed, a plan can help a person form and change habits. Stay away from the idea to "jump start" your weight loss with a special diet that you can not maintain. Start with the hard changes but have confidence that the results will last this time because the hard changes have been made.

2- Set up an environment for success-- Set up your environment and make decisions before the moment of weakness. These meal plans helpful to prevent hunger and therefore prevent a moment of weakness. Different people are motivated by different things. 

I have never paid for a gym membership (I always get them free, that is one reason why I teach) but you can bet that if I were to pay I know I WOULD go. I am motivated by money and do not spend it frivolously. On the other hand I have seen MANY people who pay lots of money for memberships and they don't use them. 

These same people would use them however if they had a friend to go with. I have discovered that the key for me is to get other people involved. If I have a running group waiting for me or a running partner waiting outside my door, I will not fail them. That is just the type of person I am. Find what motivates you and build up your environment for success. A good example of not building an environment for success is using a fad diet, diet craze, crash diet to loose weight.

Fad diets are set up to sell, whether it is an idea, a book or weight loss products. These diet creators and enthusiasts make billions on their products and ideas each year! Fad diets all have three things in common, you loose weight fast (that gets people hooked and talking about it to their friends), the habits are not maintainable and weight gain returns with a fury after at the most a year (which people don't like to talk about). 

For the average person who would like to loose below 30 pounds a fad diet is a real bad deal. Contrary to popular belief fad diets are not horrible for the body of a morbidly obese (clinical term) person who can benefit since any weight loss at that point is beneficial even if it is gained back. The psychological effect however can be devastating! These people feel like they have done it all. And they have, they have taken shots, pills lived on relatively no food and yet they return to their former weight or an even higher weight so why try. They have tried everything but the right thing. 

It is the hard changes that set up the environment for success. Watching calories or portions, really focusing on what you eat, planning ahead, shopping at the grocery store with a list, making meals, sacrificing some taste and restraining most of the time when faced with a goody. It does take work and effort.

If you are wondering if a diet is a fad diet or not here are some ways to tell:

Ten Signs of a "Fad" Diet:

1. Promises a large or fast weight loss (more than one to two pounds per week)
2. Does not include suggestions to consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian
3. Encourages you to eliminate food groups (such as grains) or eat from a limited selection of foods
4. Offers rigid menus that don't consider your likes, dislikes and lifestyles
5. Neglects active living or lifestyle changes
6. Provides far fewer calories than what is needed for an energized, healthy lifestyle
7. Contradicts what most trusted health professionals say
8. Depends on special products, supplements or treatments
9. Has miraculous claims
10. Relies on testimonials and anecdotes rather than scientific evidence

Here is a website that I feel is fair and weighs both the pros and cons of certain diets.

3- One foot in front of the other- Maintenance at a higher level is key here. We need to make adjustments to whatever we are doing so that we can maintain the eating pattern without giving up too easily but yet being reasonable. I would love to go all soy, no sodium or sugar and shop entirely with coupons but I just can't maintain any of those things at this time in my life. I will keep trying but I am in it for the long haul, just like a marathon, I can't full out sprint I have to find a pace I can maintain for a long time. Balance is the key within reason.

Just some ramblings :) Happy Healthy Eating!

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