I’m 51 years old and have been on approximately 1,209,390 diets. (I may or may not be exaggerating.) Even when I didn’t need to diet, I did. Started on Monday, finish on (perhaps) Monday night… Start again the following week. Read a new magazine with another 2 week plan – and again quit.
I’m not going to preach what I do – because the bottom line is that you can take what I eat and plug it in to any of the top rated “DIETS” and it might match. It doesn’t matter which one you pick.
What matters is that you keep an open mind; that you give yourself permission to mess up; that you forgive yourself; that you may say that at one time one plan is good for you but due to different situations (health changes, family changes, etc.) it might not continue being good for you. I know that at some times I made decisions for my diet based on what my husband and/or my kids wanted or didn’t want. Sometimes I didn’t even start something when I wanted because of them. How do you pick? Do you always go back to what you liked before? What worked? What the family liked? What matters is that you do something sustainable.
Helen Keller said, “We can do anything we want as long as we stick to it long enough.”
So let’s dissect this. I’m sure Helen won’t mind. And although I believe the quote applies to more than just food, for the sake of this blog, I’m focusing on food.
“We can do anything we want…” You must know what it is you want. Do you want to lose weight? How much? Do you want to be strong? How strong? Do you want to drop your cholesterol? By how much?
“As long as we stick to it….” This is one of those subjective lines because people’s versions vary. I hear all time, “I stuck to it and it didn’t work.” When you put the phrase “stuck to it” in past tense, what does that tell you? Did you allot a certain amount of time to know whether or not you’re successful? Is that time reasonable?
“…..long enough.” This is the most important part of this quote. Long enough for what? Is there an end? I quit many diets (see above number.) I did many things multiple times. Now think about that. Each time I told myself that I quit because I wasn’t ready, I didn’t do it right, I didn’t like how I felt, couldn’t stay on it, it was too hard and a host of other reasons, but for each one – it was my fault. So I’m going to say something here. I don’t care why you quit what you were doing in the past, what plan, what program, what article, what book you followed. It’s NOT YOUR FAULT YOU STOPPED. Whatever you were doing (not the plan itself but what YOU WERE DOING!) wasn’t sustainable. It might have been your choice but it’s not your fault. It took me years, but I had to figure this out before I found something I can live with. I chose to start and stop. I chose to eat or starve. I chose to make bacon or salads. I chose to drink water or soda. I chose to stop and start whichever diet I was following. So know it’s not your fault. You’re not weak. You’re not faulty. You’re not lacking.
You have to ask yourself why you couldn’t sustain whatever plan. Was it too much work? Planning? Diety? Did you deprive yourself? Did you crave the foods you weren’t allowed? Did you gain? Did you get opposition from your family? Were you happy, sad, frustrated? Successful doesn’t mean you lost. Successful means you stayed on course.
Now I’ll say another thing. If you want something to change, you have to change something. You can do this from program to program or within a program you’re already following. But expecting what worked before to work again when it consistently doesn’t, is insane. It worked before. Great. Try it again. If it doesn’t, stop blaming the fact you’re doing it wrong and change something. You get to.
So figure out what it is you want to see happen. Then figure out what it will take for that to happen. Then do it. And here’s a tip. Don’t think too far ahead. Remember that we increase our chances of success when we take baby steps. We start by crawling. Then we can walk. Then we can run. And you know what… if you crawl the whole way, you’re still going somewhere.