Is your Diet TOO Restrictive?

We are a society that loves quick, fast, and in a hurry. That’s how we move. Hurried and [mostly] ineffective. The best thing I ever did was [slow down]. The moment I slowed down… I got more things done. Why? Because I was able to move with clarity and intention.

How does this relate to the task at hand; our diet and weight loss? Because the impatience that comes with hurried movement affects how we approach eating. We jump into new diets because we see people get quick results. We see people lose their first 20 lbs and we ask them how instead of asking them if they’ve been able to keep it off. We want instant gratification.

But would you rather lose 20 lbs in January that you gain back by 2020 (and appease your instant gratification) or 50 lbs over the course of the year that stays off for a lifetime?

To answer this honestly, you have to check your intentions. Are you trying to lose 10-20 lbs to simply fit into a dress for an event? Or are you trying to really change your health and physique for a lifetime? Either is fine. Don’t feel guilty about wanting to fit into a dress. It’s your life. But if you are trying to make lifetime changes, you have to stop making temporary moves. Often times, our actions aren’t aligned with the desires we have for our lives. And this usually isn’t intentional but that’s because we are moving hurried without the clarity and intention that I mentioned above.

But it’s not your fault. You’re surrounded by health gimmicks more than ever. Keto is a multi-million dollar industry and I hate that. The health and fitness industry has turned something medically useful into a marketing exploitation tool.

We are also in an age of information overwhelm with the good ol world wide web. You don’t know what to believe. We are also impatient so we don’t take the time to do proper research. We just trust. And unfortunately, many of the experts traded our trust for bucks a longgggg time ago.

So, what are you looking for? Right now, who are you? The temporary results kind of gal (not concerned as much about the future)? Training for a show or trying to look a certain way for an event or moment like a wedding? Or are you looking for long-term sustainable life changes? If you are in it for the long haul… keep reading!

So, let’s talk about why major restriction doesn’t work.

So when I say restriction, I mean diets that eliminate large food groups or food types and really restrict you to a small pot of things you CAN eat. For example, keto eliminates carbs keeping you under 20-30g per day. To put this in perspective, 1 cup of blueberries would get you to your daily carb limit while keto-ing. That’s it. Diets like Whole 30 and paleo eliminate entire food types like dairy and grains. Now, I want to be clear. These diets aren’t useless. For example, Whole 30 is great to test out food sensitivities. And historically, keto has been used to help treat type 2 diabetes.

There are benefits and they do “work”. But they work because they assist you in the only true weight loss rule there is; the caloric deficit. The simple definition of a caloric deficit? When your body is in a state where it burns more calories than you consume resulting in…… weight loss. It’s that simple. However, fat loss and other specific physique goals past losing pounds on the scale are a bit more complicated. And when it comes to losing pounds on the scale, any diet “works” if you are in a caloric deficit.

So, while all the above approaches may be effective in some sense, they are not sustainable for many long term. Additionally, restriction typically leads to binging and reinforces our unhealthy relationship with food.

So, to determine if an approach is too restrictive for you, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1.      Does this approach produce results? Whether you found this from your own research or trusted testimonials, is there some form of evidence that it “works”?

2.      Will this approach aid in short/long-term health issues? Is there an element outside of the physique that this approach will help with? Energy, digestion, skin health, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

3.      And can you sustain this diet long-term? Can you make this a permanent part of your life in some capacity?

*While answering questions 1-3, also consider your history with food. Do you have a history with disordered eating? Binge eating? Emotional Eating? Anxiety or Panic disorders?

Did you answer YES to all 3? GO FOR IT. Did you answer NO to any of the 3 questions? Probably should avoid it and find something more sustainable and manageable FOR YOU!

For those that answered no, let’s talk about why restriction may be so difficult for you. More restrictive, advanced diets require a certain skill set that the every day person hasn’t acquired (or had a reason to acquire). It’s not just discipline. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase you have to walk before you run. It definitely applies here. If you aren't eating clean on a regular basis stress-free, you probably shouldn’t take on something that requires you to restrict even further? It sounds crazy doesn’t it? But that’s what we do. We struggle to eat less-processed, whole foods in our every day lives and switch to something that further limits the type of whole foods we can eat; narrowing the scope even further and increasing our overwhelm and stress around food. How can you count macros when you struggle to eat protein with each meal or eat a balanced plate? That would be like trying to learn how to write a full sentence before you even learn to spell. There are skills required. Some learn them along the way or hire a coach to assist but most don’t. And that’s okay!

1.      Protein with Every Meal

2.      Eat Slowly (15-20 minute meals)

3.      Eat at least 4 servings of colorful veggies

4.      Develop and Implement a Solid Sleep Routine 7-8 hours of sleep)

5.      Eat Healthy Fats (including essential fatty acids from fish, fish oil, algae oil)

The answer to your problems? A habits-focused approach. Before jumping head first into something restrictive, make sure you’ve got some basic habits down. Below you’ll find the best habits to start with.
These 5 habits would undoubtedly create a solid foundation to try more advanced techniques; like macro counting. But one month in to 2019, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the changes you are trying to make you may want to consider switching your focus to your habits.

And as always, if you have any questions feel free to email us @info@powerhealthandperformance or give us a call at 914-384-3301.

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