Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I've read several posts in my groups lately from people who want to scrap whatever plan they are using because some small part of it doesn't work for them. If it's something big--you are doing Weight Watchers but you don't want to count points, you might want to consider a different plan. But, if something small isn't working for you, stop doing that particular something and see what happens. You don't always have to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
I've seen a lot of different diet plans. Some are just plain terrible, or worse, dangerous. But many others work well for different people. The trick is to find the one that works for you. Virtually all programs will say or imply that you must follow the plan exactly as written. Here's a secret: you don't! Make the changes you want to make and give it a few weeks. Are you losing weight in a healthy way? Great; keep doing what you are doing. No? Time to rethink.
I use information I've gotten from a number of different diet plans. I've taken ideas from The Eat Clean Diet, the McDougall Plan, Eat to Live, and Spark People and cobbled together a plan that works for me.
All of these diets, except Spark*, recommend a whole food diet. I eat a whole food diet with the exception of white rice. I don't like brown rice. I'm not going to eat it because I don't ever eat things I don't like. Nor am I going to give up white rice because I love sushi. Not gonna happen. However, I am thrilled to eat any other whole grain.
All of these diets, except Spark, do not recommend counting calories. And I don't. I don't want a "diet", I want to develop sustainable healthy eating habits that will regulate my weight automatically. I am not going to do anything while losing weight that I am not willing to do for the rest of my life: I'm not going to obsessively count calories (or points or whatever) every day for the rest of my life, so I'm not going to do it now either.
The Eat Clean diet recommends eating five small meals a day each containing both protein and complex carbohydrates. I love this idea and have found it much easier to make good food choices because I don't wait until I am starving to eat.
Spark gives me great support, tools for goal setting, and a place to track my fruit/veggie and fluid intake, as well as my daily exercise minutes.
Obviously there is much more to each of these plans, but it would take far too long to detail everything I use (or don't use) from each plan. And, it's unnecessary. I think my point is clear.
Find what works for you and use that. Don't be afraid to ignore recommendations that simply aren't going to work for you. Don't set yourself up for failure by choosing a plan that doesn't fit your lifestyle. Find what works for you and have faith in your ability to know what's best for your body and your life.
*To clarify: Spark does encourage the consumption of whole foods, but generally I find the recommendation in most articles dealing with this subject is to eat "more" whole foods, not to eat "only" whole foods. The other plans I mentioned recommend eating "only" whole foods.