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Building Your Own Diet

Post by Lexi Williams

(Instagram: @the_lady_lexi)

It is 2020 and there are more “diets” that promise to help you “lose weight fast” but have any of these diets actually gotten you the results you wanted? If so did they last once you stopped the diet? Now there are those exceptionally rare people that these fad diets work for, but for the rest of us dieting usually leaves us feeling more discouraged than anything else.

If you answered no to either of the above questions, I got you. A common obstacle while dieting is that they do not teach you how to eat. Yes, they tell you what to eat and what not to eat, but that is not the same as teaching you HOW to eat. These diets usually eliminate entire food groups and lean heavily one way or the other like; High protein, low fat. High fat, low carbs. No meat, all veggies). Does this sound balanced to you?

When developing a way of eating that works for my clients, I  ask them if this is something you could do for the rest of your life? If the answer is no, we start over and change things until we find a diet (diet here means “a pattern of eating”) that they feel confident in sustaining for a long period of time.

Admittedly, we are all different. This means that what “works” for someone else will probably not “work” for you in the same way. We all have different likes, dislikes, lifestyles, and habits. Our bodies are different, and process food differently. A sustainable eating pattern for me, a 26-year-old full-time student with two jobs,  is not going to work for a 40-year-old mom that works a desk job, or a 30-year-old bodybuilder who spends hours in the gym.

That said, there are a few guidelines for any diet that can take your wellness and nutrition to the next level:

  • Increase your water intake
    • You’re thinking, “But, Lexi, all I drink is water!” I know but aim for 100oz or 3 liters a day ^_^ Often times we are not actually hungry we are just bored. Drinking more water will help curb that snacking reflex. Also, water has many health-enhancing effects such as waste removal, lowers blood pressure, promotes skin health as well as the health of your joints!
  • Eat a fruit and/or veggie at every meal
    • This is a simple way to make sure your meals are balanced and you increase your intake of food that provide high-quality nourishment to your body. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that no other foods have. These vitamins and minerals are essential to keeping the body functioning at an optimum level. Deficiencies in these can cause issues like fatigue, headache, weight gain, anxiety, forgetfulness, hair loss and increased chances of getting sick. The aforementioned list is just a few common symptoms from vitamin and mineral deficiency but there are more.
  • Listen to your body
    • This one is the most important and this is how you will be able to build a sustainable diet that is unique and customized to your needs and that also supports your goals.
    • Mindfulness is a key factor when finding a diet that works for you. When you want food pause for a minute and ask yourself “what will satisfy me right now?”
    • If you are hungry, then eat a meal, not 4 different snacks. If you find you are not hungry try another activity. Maybe you were bored and wanted something to do? Or maybe you are anxious and wanted something to distract you. Understanding why you eat when you’re not actually hungry can help you understand yourself on a deeper level.
  • Eat Slowly
    • It sounds silly but this is something easy you can do that will impact your eating habits. Instead of eating breakfast in 5 minutes, try 10 or 15. If you only take 15 minutes for lunch take 30. When you eat slower you allow your body to recognize the food you are consuming. Really experience your food during this time. Do you like it? Does it make you happy? Are you satisfied?
    • You will also get fuller faster because you are giving your stomach time to realize you have eaten and send a signal to your brain to say “hey, we’re good”. When we eat too quickly by the time our brain gets the signal we have overindulged.
  • Relax
    • This is usually the part when my clients look at me like I’m crazy. I promise this is effective in reaching your goals and developing a diet (a way of eating) that supports your goals. When you are relaxed, your body switches into “rest and digest” mode. Most of us have heard about our fight or flight response but not many are familiar with the rest and digest response.
    • Multitasking is glorified and praised, but when it comes to our body multitasking is sometimes difficult. When we are in rest and digest mode blood is focused toward the center of the body and digestion is prioritized. When we are in fight or flight mode, blood is sent to the limbs and brain for quick thinking and fast reactions.
    • If we eat in a stressed state (while we work, or if we feel anxious) then the body switches to fight or flight mode. You feel stressed so the body thinks it needs to be ready for danger. This means your food does not get processed the way it should. So even if you are not relaxed taking big deep breaths before, during, and after your meal tricks your body into going into rest and digest mode.

 

You do not have to try all of these at once. In fact, I suggest picking one or two to focus on for the next two weeks and see how you feel. Once you are comfortable and have one of these into a habit, then add on some of the others. Start off with the ones that seem easiest to incorporate into your daily routine, and start building your own unique diet!

 

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