Choosing the right diet: the Slim Thinking Way
Once you've got your head in the right place and you've dealt with why you were overeating you might decide to start a diet or healthy eating plan to help you get that extra weight off. There are so many out there, how do you choose? Never mind shakes, points and syns, here's the Slim Thinking approach.
The Diet Isn't the Problem
Before we start it's worth pointing out that your diet isn't the thing that determines your success with weight loss. Some people talk about diets in the same way they talk about dating, "I just need to find The One!". They try a number of diets hoping to find the one that will work or the one they'll find easy. If you've been following Slim Thinking for a while you'll know the diet isn't the problem. You need to understand why you were overeating in the first place. Deal with that and any diet will get you where you want to be. Your thinking determines your motivation, the diet is simply the process for getting there.
If you've sorted your Slim Thinking you should be excited about the idea of working towards your goal. Now with your motivation in the right place it's important to find the process of losing weight which is right for you. Rather than going with the one that has the most impressive before and after pictures or the or that promises the most dramatic results, consider your values and your lifestyle to find the one that fits you. Here's what to consider:
What is important to you?
The first thing to consider when choosing a diet or healthy eating plan is your values. It's not something the diet companies talk about but it's essential to finding the plan for you. You need to consider what features of your life you want to keep and what you might have to give up.
Do you cook a meal in the evening with your partner? Is this when you talk about your day as a couple? Most people will choose connecting with their partner over a diet, can you find a plan that allows this if it's important to you?
Does your diet require you to count points or calories? Do you need to cook special foods? What demands does this place on your time? If you have other demands on your time that are more important to you than healthy eating they will eventually win.
How much flexibility do you need? Do you travel for work? Are there times when you don't prepare your own meals? If your process isn't flexible enough to stick to you won't get the full benefits and will most likely give up.
Think about your values, decide which things you need to keep and what you are prepared to let go of when choosing your plan.
Know what motivates you
I'd usually suggest choosing a diet that helps you lose weight steadily, however some people say that if they don't see some weight come off quickly they will give up. Do you need quick wins?
What support do you need from others? Do you work best in a group? Do you need one to one support? Can you do it all alone? If you do it alone will you be honest with yourself? If you are weighed by someone else, will you only lose weight as long as they are weighing you? Does a group give you people to rebel with? Decide which type of support; group, 121, face to face or online, will give you what you need, not just what you want.
What do you need to learn?
If you know which habits have led you to be overweight you should have an idea of what you need to learn. Choose a process that gives you the knowledge and skills you need.
- Do you know what healthy eating is?
- Do you understand the impact of various food and drink on your body?
- Do you know how to shop for healthy foods and prepare meals?
- Are you eating healthily and it's your portion size that you need to address?
- Do you eat well but not exercise? Should you be looking to up your activity levels?
Decide what you need to know and what skills you need to develop and pick a process which helps you make those areas a habit. That way, when you finish you can just get on with your life and you can stop counting calories? Wouldn't that be more fun?
Be honest about your weak spots
This is HUGE!
If you still a poor relationship with food you might be drawn to total diet replacement plan. Products remove food from the equation completely. However they are only temporary, would it be better to pick a process that rebuilds your relationship with food?
Dieting groups give you a great support network. They are full of people who cheer you on. However, they also give you dieters who want people to struggle and fall off the waggon with them. Is that what you're looking for really?
Point systems can help you easily track your food and drink intake but they also rely on you entering your information honestly. When faced with multiple options will you be honest with yourself?
Plans with 'cheat days' or 'syns' give you great flexibility. However, they can also allow you to hold on to old behaviours.
Be truthful with yourself about why are you drawn to a particular process? Will it give you what you really need?
It's not supposed to be a gourmet dinner.
If you've addressed the reasons why you are overweight then your desire to lose weight should outweigh any temptations that come your way. This is very important. Your diet is not supposed to be a gourmet dinner. It should be enjoyable but it isn't supposed to light up your senses. It's a means to an end. Your fitness regime should be something you enjoy but you will still get out of breath and work up a sweat. Your muscles should still ache from time to time.
Don't look for the process that is easy or comfortable. No change is 100%comfortable. A good process will excite you and challenge you in equal measure. If you have a tough day's that's great news. It means you're changing things. Embrace it, learn from it and ultimately learn to enjoy it.
What are your tips?
What would you recommend to someone looking for a diet or fitness plan?
Leave your thoughts or questions on the Slim Thinking Facebook Group (if you're aren't already a member just request to join and you will be added).
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