Having a good healthy relationship with food is something that a lot of people struggle with.
Getting in shape and maintaining it is what the majority of people strive for but where are people going wrong?
Let’s have a look at what people typically do to get in shape.
The ‘yo yo’ dieter – restricting total calories by using a diet or a system that either eliminates a food group or by controlling calories with a points system or something similar. Restricting food too much that forces them to overeat, leaving them feeling guilty and disheartened which spurs on either more over eating or a heavier restriction on the diet.
In this chart, it shows the weekly total calories of these two are exactly the same. Which will mean in terms of weight loss, both will achieve exactly the same result.
Although table one is installing negative behaviour towards dieting and the way you think about food.
Table two is creating consistency and sustainability and a positive way of thinking towards dieting.
Calorie restriction needs to be in place to lose weight but it’s about understanding the process and how it works for you as an individual.
The ‘yo yo’ dieter continues this process of restriction and overeating time and time again, with the end result not being much better than when they started. This not only brings about a poor end result but is also creating a really unhealthy relationship with food and the behaviour towards eating. This behaviour often stems from the initial deficit someone puts them self in.
There are many online calorie calculators that can give you a figure of what calorie amount to hit. Now these calculators are not 100% accurate but they are a good place to start. From here you can start to figure out what works for you by tracking and measuring progress.
The amount of calories someone requires is going to vary dramatically for many reasons:-
Age, height, weight, gender, muscle mass, job, religion, activity level, genetics etc…
So when we get a figure from an online calculator be aware that they are a generic figure but a good starting point. This is also the case for weight loss diets such as weight watchers or slimming world. They are guidelines to follow and it’s important to understand the process.
Now let’s get to creating good behaviour and habits.
Once we have a calorie amount set, try to be consistent with this everyday. Now sometimes we may overeat and this is okay, this is something we should not worry about, it’s going to happen, it’s happened many times before and it will happen again. Do not feel guilty, accept what ever had happened, write it off and continue with the process you were on.
If you’re just starting out, don’t try to restrict yourself or cut back to save calories somewhere else. Just get back to the process you were on and continue on the journey.
If we do this, we can start to build a better mindset towards eating food, we can stop thinking about food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and start thinking of it as just food which is what it is, just food with different nutritional value.
This removes the ‘yo yo’ effect of dieting and starts to create some consistency with what we are eating, specifically the amount we are eating. If we overeat, don’t feel guilty, enjoy it, write it off and move on.
This enables us to have a better lifestyle, enjoy social events, meals out with family and friends without that thought of restriction and guilt. It enables us to enjoy these times and continue to get results.