From originally describing the kind of food humans or other organisms eat, the word “diet” has eventually evolved into describing the course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. We all want to feel good about our bodies and for most, we must look great in order to feel that way.

Having worked with clients (mostly women), I understand how we as humans, look to a set of rules that may serve as a guide to keep our diets in check. After all, when you learn how others are able to get immediate results, it must be worth a shot. I’ve been there and I’ve tried that. Here’s why I don’t follow diet plans:

  1. They’re often restrictive and require extra time and effort.

The occasional indulgence is part of a healthy diet. But most of the diets out there today consider this “cheating” which gives the idea of allowing yourself to enjoy once in a while, a negative connotation. There are also diets that limit you to a certain number of calories, often too low to even sustain. While these may work in the beginning, the body is smart enough to tell when it is given such a small amount of calories to work with and therefore goes into self-preservation mode, burning less calories than it usually would. To top it off, counting calories, macros or anything similar teaches you to pay more attention to the numbers or quantity of food you are eating versus the QUALITY. 

Tip: Focus on how much nutrients (micros) you are getting from a variety of whole food sources and you’ll automatically fuss less over calories and macros. You don’t have to cut out rice from your diet, just choose whole grains (ie. Black, red or brown rice, millet, quinoa, etc.) These will keep you fuller longer so you don’t end up eating more than you need too.

  1. They’re not sustainable and tend to backfire in the long run.

Plenty of diets, especially those developed for quick weight loss, are designed for use in a clinical setting. Think of sprinting towards the goal, when it’s a marathon you need to run. Because of the restrictive nature of most diets, we tend to fall out of it, which often leads to overeating or simply gaining most, if not all, of the weight back eventually. Not everyone sees it this way, however, and only remembers how much weight they’ve lost during the diet. We then blame ourselves for falling out of it and re-gaining the weight when the truth is, the regain is a form of retaliation from the body after being subjected to duress from dieting. Until we learn to eat better and smarter, we’re stuck in a vicious cycle. Our willpower can only take us so far, after a while, the body’s natural biological flow will have to take over making it such a feat to stay on track.

 Tip: Practice mindful eating. Start with empty calories or junk food. Chew slowly and do nothing else while eating. Have just enough to satisfy cravings and then stop. Eat more whole foods, less of those that do nothing to nourish your body.