I could write a lot more information on this subject than you would ever want to sit and read in one blog post. I think we all could. This is such a broad and controversial topic. We all have different ideas of what we should and shouldn't eat in order to be healthy. I believe that even more important than what we should and shouldn't eat, is why we want to eat healthy, and how we plan to do it.
Many people associate healthy eating with dieting. I don't believe in diets. I have been on a ton of them. I used to be a chronic dieter. In fact, I went on my first diet at the age of 10. It wasn't until I threw in the towel, decided to give up on dieting, and started eating by listening to my body, that I finally learned how to eat in a healthy and balanced way.
So many of us are searching for a perfect way of eating that is going to make us look great, while not make us feel deprived. I can tell you that no diet is going to be successful in this. First of all, on a diet, we are always going to feel deprived simply because we are in fact depriving ourselves. If we feel deprived, we aren't going to be able to continue to eat the way our diet prescribes long term. Eventually, we will go back to our regular way of eating, and gain some, all, or even more of the weight back. We might even find ourselves eating worse than before we started the diet, trying to compensate for all the feelings of deprivation we had while dieting. This can lead to overeating and even full-on binge eating disorders. Our eating gets so out of hand we seek out an even more restrictive way of eating so we can start the process all over again.
"Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed 31 long-term diet studies and found that about two-thirds of dieters regained more weight within four or five years than they initially lost" (source). Diets not only don't work, they actually make you gain weight.
It is also very hard on your body to go through major weight fluctuations, not to mention hard on your mental and emotional health to constantly be losing and gaining weight.
What is the solution then? Well, as I mentioned, first you need to figure out your why? Why do you want to eat healthier? Is it to feel better? To have more energy? To set a example for your kids? To improve your mental health? Figure it out, and make it the focus of your healthy eating journey. Please think of something more meaningful than simply to "lose weight" - why do you want to lose weight?.
Once you have figured out your why, its time to set in motion a plan for your how. How do you intend to follow through and eat in this way. This is going to take a whole other blog post (or three!), but in my opinion the short answer is to listen to your body, rather than listening to a diet. For many chronic dieters, this sounds terrifying, and trust me it is. If you are used to restricting what you eat, giving up on dieting and food restriction conjures up images of eating an entire 12 pack of donuts in one sitting! It's not that simple, and its also simpler than that, and we will get to it in another blog post. In the mean time, you can reach out to me, I'd love to chat sooner!