First, let me start by saying this is not for people who have allergies or medical conditions that cause you have to cut food out. That is different than what I’m addressing now.
A lot of times we equate getting healthy with misery and needing to cutting things out. Look at keto, we cut out carbs. Whole 30, we cut out processed foods. The cabbage diet, we cut out basically everything lol. Vegan, we cut out foods that come from animals. With all of these we are just cutting foods out. And 95% of the time we don't stick to them and a few weeks or months from now we're back to old eating habits.
Now, Should you be eating nutrient dense foods? Apples, broccoli and your green beans? Yes. the vitamins and minerals are very important for your overall health. But a lot of times we end up cutting foods out which can cause a lot of things but specifically here are a few. One, It could cause you to not eat enough. Two, You could put yourself in a binge and restrict cycle. Or three, you will eat this was for a time then right back to old habits.
I actually had all of these things happen to me.
When I was in my senior year of high school I dove into the Fitness and diet world. I didn’t do a lot of research. I looked at what other people were doing and hopped on whatever wagon that was at the time. When it didn’t work for me I would hop on another wagon. That created a dieting cycle for me. I did the Apple cider vinegar, weight loss teas, carb restricting and a few more in between. I did it all.
I can remember the cycles that brought me to binging. I would be so strict during the week not allowing myself anything that I craved. There was no rhyme or reason I cut everything I thought I had to out. I wouldn’t have sugar I wouldn’t have carbs. I would limit a lot. I would be tired, super irritable, all the things. But I thought that was the price I had to pay.
But, then on the weekends when I would have a “cheat meal". Which would usually turn into a cheat weekend, I could not control myself. I can remember going into my parents cabinets and eating handfuls of granola. Or scooping out as much ice cream as I could in the 30 seconds I had the container open. I remember crying to my parents about it and at the time my fiancé (now husband). The time I cried to Peter is when I knew I had to make a change.
It was not a quick change but a slow progression in the right direction each day. That’s when I came across macros. I figured out my body actually was needing and craving carbs for the amount of exercise I was doing. I actually needed the carbs. Find out how important carbs are, here. No wonder I was tired and irritable. And with all my restriction I found I wasn’t eating enough. So, because I was restricting so much during the week my body was lacking and thats why I was craving so much. A key we all seem to miss out on is protein. If we took the time to eat adequate amounts of protein A LOT would change for a lot of people. Find out why protein is so important here.
A huge factor I was missing in my life was balance. I didn't know how to find that and still be healthy and fit. A few things I had to change to get out of this cycle was:
Not label food as good or bad but instead recognize how it made me feel. We know that apples are a more nutritious choice than a donut but it doesn't mean we can never have a donut.
Educate myself on what was actually beneficial. I did that by listening to professionals in this field that had been in it for a long time.
I paid attention to how I felt, that has helped me even now. How did certain foods make me perform and function during the day.
I reached out for help, I didn't keep it to myself.
Tracking my macros helped me work in foods I loved all the time. I didn't limit myself to a day or meal that I could eat certain things. All foods were ok at all times. I'm not saying its a free for all. I like to go by the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of my food being nutrient dense. 20 percent I can fill in how I'd like too. But also with tracking macros you can't eat crap all day because you'll effect other numbers by that. So tracking helped me create a beautiful freeing balance. With macros I learned what to ADD IN not CUT OUT. What a lovely shift in focus.
I ignored the scale and its fluctuations. Too much of me was controlled by that. I stopped weighing myself all together except for the annual doctors appointments.
So why don't I restrict? Because it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and cause this viscous cycle. I can't imagine thats what you'd want your kids to mimic and learn growing up. What we need to find is balance. Not all or nothing. Not temporary fixes. But actual changes to our understanding that can lead to long term sustainable success. What habits, routines and ways of eating can we add in a change not remove?
Also, as I mentioned above, you restricting could actually be harming your progress.
A lot of times we see a plateau or no change in the scale because we are either over eating or under eating for too long. By not calculating anything and focusing on staying away from certain things it could actually be causing you to under eat. Which if you've been doing that for a long time could cause your fat loss to stop. Your body could be going into a starvation mode and holding onto the fat you have. Or eating your muscle instead. I'm not saying that if you're not losing weight that thats why but it could be the case.
So to recap. Cutting food out can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. It also is such a temporary fix that will not benefit you in the long run. Again, unless directed by a doctor. I listed 6 things above that can help you develop a healthier relationship with food and help you find balance. Keep in mind, it takes time.
The next step you could take is beginning to track your macros and learn what your body actually needs. You can do this by downloading this app and selecting me "maria Imperato" as your coach. Or join the MIFIT community here to get your feet wet in a sustainable, balanced fit lifestyle.