We all know the effects of "bad" food. I'm not talking about the gradual ones, gaining weight or ill health. I mean the immediate ones - the indigestion, wind, bloating, feeling sick, headaches etc. The ones that tell us that even though eating 3 creme eggs in a row might seem like a great idea, the reality is rather different. And much less pleasant.
When in the throes of these unhappy symptoms, we're uncomfortable enough to think about doing something about it. Where do we look? Diets!
There are lots of them. Crazy ones, like the cabbage soup diet or the baby food diet (I know. Baby food!). Others which gained traction but aren't great for your health, like Atkins (leaching calcium from your bones is not a good look) or any of the crazy calorie restriction ones. There are some which are healthy (arguably) and do bring results but you need to be something of a zealot to follow, like Paleo.
It always reminds me of the saying "water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink". Because there's a zillion different ways to diet but do any of them really offer the golden solution we're looking for?
It makes sense that we like to put our eating into some kind of structure. That we like to have some rules to follow that help us navigate our way through all the billions of possibilities to do with food.
But if we're looking for a magic bullet - the thing that, if we do it right, will cause body fat to melt away effortlessly - we're barking up the wrong tree. We're in the wrong forest altogether.
The key question to ask yourself, if you're fed up of eating rubbish and you want to change it up but don't know how, is this:
How can I see myself eating for the rest of my life?
What can I live with forever?
Remember when you were a kid and you decided what you wanted to be when you grew up? You were making a decision about what you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life. And then (assuming you didn't choose "spaceman" or "the queen" :0>) you set about working towards that so you could spend your life doing something that made you happy and chimed with your values and who you felt you were. Right?
It's the same with this. You know how "bad" food makes you feel - bad, in a variety of ways. You want to feel good. That requires changing how you eat, either a little or a lot, and so you need to figure out what changes you can make that you can see yourself holding onto for the rest of your life.
If you adopt changes that you can't live with, they aren't going to stick and neither are the results they bring. However good those results are.
But not only will they not stick, they may well cause a massive compensatory reaction. When we make changes like that, we are (unknowingly, clearly) on a swingometer.
If our changes are too extreme, like "no carbs for the next 30 days" the liklihood is that when we're done, we'll swing back - but not into the middle. We'll keep swinging till we hit the other extreme where carbs are eaten to excess and every day.
Restriction and deprivation most often straight to binging and overcompensation. Extremes seem tempting because we like to make big, sweeping, expansive changes. But they will always be short lived. Too different and too challenging to make permanent.
The more temperate road is the one that leads to your goal, because it's easy to walk for a indefinite period of time. If you think about it, isn't that more infinitely more exciting?
Article by Tracey Reck (http://www.exuberanthealth.co.uk/