Creating Healthy Habits versus being on fad diets

Previously I discussed setting health goals.  If you missed it you can read it HERE

Enthusiastically many people give up sugar, alcohol, chocolate or other foods and drinks during the first few months of the year.  They don’t go out as much and restrict themselves. Usually this arises from having over indulged during December and they want to reset in January.

Taking time to give the body a break and reset after either overeating processed foods high in sugar and fats or drinking too much alcohol is necessary.  I myself do a cleanse 3 or 4 times a year as need to give my body a break to detoxify. 

But what concerns me is what happens at the end of the 30 Day alcohol, chocolate or sugar challenge.

Do you introduce these treats back gradually and have them occasionally, in moderate portions?  Or after a few months do you resort back to splurging on them?

I know many who go on extreme diets, doing a major overhaul of their diet but they give up after a short period of time feeling fed up and frustrated.  This is often caused by not seeing results despite having made such big changes.

It is hard for the body to adapt to giving up foods you have strong cravings for while simultaneously exercising more than you’ve ever done. Infact, some dieters find their weight yo-yo’s, they have low energy and don’t feel good about themselves.  They keep moving from one diet to another.  

I feel that making BIG changes works long term if you are either strong willed and/or fully committed and are also patient, allowing time for these changes to become healthy habits.

Did you know the word ‘dieting’ has many negative connotations, mostly associated with starving and being deprived?

However, there are two meanings of diet defined by the Oxford Dictionaries:
1) “A special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons”.  
2) “Kind of foods habitually eaten”.  In other words what a person regularly eats. 

When you talk about a diet, which one do you refer to?
Unfortunately many of us associate with the first one, being deprived by being on a restrictive meal plan, e.g. low calorie, avoiding fruits on a sugar cleanse or being on a juice only diet.

For me, a diet is what I eat regularly, it’s enjoying real whole foods that suit my tastebuds and lifestyle.  It isn’t about counting calories, having shakes or meal replacement powders.  We are all unique and have different preferences,  it’s important to learn how to listen to your body to find what fuels and what depletes it.

I believe in the 80/20 rule, which means 80% of the time I eat clean foods and 20% of the time I leave an open window for some treats.  I do not feel deprived, and when working with my clients I guide them to find their balance.



I suggest that you work on creating healthy habits and don’t fall into the yo-yo diet cycle.  For those of you currently making changes to your diet, observe what types of changes you are making.  

Are your changes very different to what you do regularly?

Can you sustain this in the long run or should you make less intense changes which you can keep to?