“Don’t eat sugar, Don’t eat fruit. Stay away from red meat. Only eat clean foods. Don’t eat white bread. Never eat carbs after 4pm. Eat chicken breast, brown rice, and broccoli for every meal. Are you really eating pizza?!”
How many times have you heard these phrases? Whether on TV, in a magazine, or from someone you know. So many “don’t and do’s.” Sounds brutal! Let me tell you WHY restrictive diet’s don’t work..
They mess with your head
Restrictive diets put negative labels on foods, calling one food “bad” and one food “good.” This leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. When in reality, the foods they are labeling as “bad” are not necessary that in themselves, but can be if you are consuming more than your body needs. For example, ice cream. How many times have you heard people saying “oh I shouldn’t have any, I’m trying to lose weight.” Or “I cannot believe I just ate that, I feel bad.” Ice cream in itself is not a “bad” or “unclean” food. A whole gallon of ice cream, yes now that can be a bad thing & can leave you feeling sick for days. Remember, a balanced diet is the best diet and learning what your body needs will help you incorporate all foods into your diet and enjoy them, guilt free!
They make you want what you can’t have
So if you’ve ever been on a diet before, you’ve experienced cravings. Those cravings were for things that you “weren’t allowed” to have on your diet plan, correct? This is a HUGE psychological problem, we always want those things we “can’t” have. A lot of times this leads to B.E.D (binge eating disorder) and a cycle of beating yourself up and feeling bad.
Imagine this…no foods are off limits. You can enjoy a wide range of foods all the way from grilled chicken & sweet potatoes to a chocolate chip cookie with ice cream. However, your focus is more on balance. Not having 100% of your foods coming from what some people would call “unclean” or “junk” food and not 100% of your foods coming from only whole foods. It’s a balance and you get to enjoy what you like while fueling your body with the proper amounts of macronutrients it requires. Sound’s SO much better. Less stressful, right?
They are most likely depriving you from important nutrients your body needs
When you cut out major food groups, you might be depriving your body of essential nutrients. For example, say you go on the Paleo diet. You cut out all grains, dairy, most sugar, and you load up on meat, veggies, nuts/seeds, some fruit. If you don’t know what your body needs when it comes to getting enough protein, fat, and carbs in, you might feel sluggish, develop headaches, vitamin deficiencies, etc. Not all diets out there are “healthy” or “safe” for every individual. How we eat and what/how much we consume has to be based on our own lifestyle. How active or sedentary we are, our age, our current body stats, and our goals. Knowing our body and how it functions, is one of the first steps to implementing a balanced and proper nutrition plan for ourselves.
They aren’t maintainable
Restrictive diet’s just aren’t maintainable. Before you start any diet or nutrition program, the first question you should be asking yourself is, “Will this be something that I can maintain with my current lifestyle?” If you enjoy going out with friends, eating out, and going to social functions, a restrictive diet is just not going to allow the “flexibility” for that. Time and time again I see people “eating clean” and being super strict on themselves during the week, following their diet/nutrition program to a T and then the weekend comes and they feel like they deserve a reward, or they just say “screw it” and throw their diet plan out the window. This leads to a vicious cycle of re-starting every time monday rolls around.