Millions of us (myself included) have turned to diets to help us to lose weight...South Beach, Atkins, Jenny Craig, SlimFast, the list goes on and on and on... The problem is, the more diet programs that offer "the solution", the fatter our country becomes. So, what's the deal? The problem lies in our perception of the word "diet". When you hear the word diet, you subliminally register "strenuous", "difficult", "deprivation", "not enjoyable" and "short-term". And honestly, who wants to commit to something that seems so completely awful?!
Instead of viewing dieting as a short-term fast after which you can return to your old ways, try to view diet changes as healthy lifestyle changes. Any alterations you make to your eating or exercise should occur slowly and in a sustainable way. If you jump in too quickly and make too many changes at once, you're bound to revert back to your previous habits. It takes 30 days to program a lifestyle habit. So, make small changes that you can sustain for 30 days, because after that initial period, it will be much, much easier to keep with the healthy modifications you've introduced into your life.
My suggestion? Make it fun! Try a new, healthy recipe a few nights a week. Learn how to cook nutritious, wholesome food. When you grocery shop, switch out some of your staples (i.e. pre-packaged cookies, chips or sugary granola bars) for whole food options (i.e. unsalted roasted nuts, berries or fruit). Include a veggie or fruit at every meal or snack (i.e. add banana to your cereal, have an apple instead of pretzels with your sandwich, have roasted red peppers on your chicken at dinner). Talk to friends whose healthy eating you admire and learn their tricks. These small inclusions will begin to shift your perception of what eating healthy foods really entails. Also, if you're feeling super motivated, try incorporating just 10-20 minutes of exercise 4-5 days a week and really begin to see the results of your healthy lifestyle!
Happy, healthy living!