Wait, did you say “a” diet or diet?

We all laugh at those grammatical errors we see on social media. Punctuation in the wrong place or misspelling of a word can give a sentence an entirely different meaning! Well, guess what? The use of that little “a” can do the same thing!

I will tell you all day long that your goals are directly connected to your diet. But, I’m not going to tell you to go on “a” diet. Wait, What? “A” diet is not usually a sustainable way of life. “A” diet usually consists of a caloric reduction of some sort or some trendy eating plan that is all the rage at the moment. When someone goes on a diet they make a quick and drastic change to their eating habits. Although “a” diet may yield some immediate or quick results, those results are often very short lived. Diet on the other hand, “Diet” is what you fuel your body with, regularly, consistently, sustainably, as part of your lifestyle. I’m not on “a” diet and I never will be again. In fact, when I sat at the table on Thanksgiving Day my mom said “Wow Angie, Thats a heroic plate!”. My diet is balanced, and my body needs fuel, so I can eat like a hero now and then – Lol!

Think of food as fuel. Your body has a job to do and you need to provide fuel for your body to do it’s job. Are you fueling your body to work efficiently? Or are you clogging up the system with pollution?

It’s not sustainable to diet and exercise. But, it is sustainable to fuel and train your body. Success will come when you create a sustainable lifestyle. What’s the key word there? Sustainable. Look at your goals. Make a plan to get there. Then evaluate your plan. Is it sustainable? Can you do it for the rest of your life, happily? If not, you’ll revert right back to where you are now so create a new plan.

Bodies are amazing! And I a mean Ah-Maz-Ing. Do you know what bodies are REALLY good at? Adapting and achieving homeostasis. It’s survival. Our bodies have to be able to adapt and reach a state of homeostasis to function efficiently. That adaptability and efficiency was the key to survival before all of this modern day stuff. It still is the key to survival for animals in nature.

So how does all of that relate to “a” diet? You can’t sustain a lifestyle on 1000 calories a day for the rest of your life so why train your body to survive on 1000 calories a day? I tried it. I was working out intensely 2-3 hours a day and living on 1200 calories a day. I was on “a” diet. Why? I didn’t know how much I was harming my body living that way. I had no energy. I wasn’t getting stronger. Just thinner, more sunken in, more deflated. I was slowly starving myself and I didn’t know it. I was too afraid of gaining weight to see anything else. It was not a good idea!
This is is why you need to look at your diet and not go on “a” diet. What are you eating? And how can you find a balance? You need days when you eat more and days when you eat less. You need days when you eat less carbs and days when you can carb load (Hello Pizza!). Why? So your body doesn’t know what to expect. So your body cant reach homeostases. If your body reaches homeostasis you’ll stop seeing results.

But, I’m not going to lie to you. To maintain a sustainable healthy lifestyle that aligns with your goals, the vast majority of your diet has to be clean food in appropriate portions. And yes, if you want to lose weight you have to take in less calories than you expend per day. But drastic reductions in calorie intake isnt sustainable. What is sustainable is finding a caloric number that matches your goals. Remember, not all calories are created equal. 1800 calories of fried foods and processed “junk” is not going to give you the same results as 1800 calories of clean foods. You can’t out exercise a bad diet, no matter how hard you try. But do you know what’s great about clean food? The portion size in relation to calories is HUGE! So for those of us that like to eat (…. me!) its a win-win!

I’m all about keeping it simple, like really simple. The less ingredients your food has, the “healthier” it is. It’s that simple. Eating clean is easy. There are not any special food lists to avoid or add. Just eat clean, whole unprocessed food. Foods that don’t have an ingredient lists are the best! But, to maintain a balanced and sustainable lifestyle we are all going to have manufactured foods as part of our diet . So just give it some thought. When you choose manufactured foods, what are you choosing? Some choices are better than others. Remember, you are trying to create a sustainable lifestyle, not a habit and not “a” diet. Most importantly, you want to enjoy your lifestyle. If you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? This is why finding a way to achieve balance is key.

I happen to have an insane sweet tooth. I love my sweets. So I have found a way to live in balance keeping sweets in my diet. I can enjoy sweets by adding “good” stuff to them. Instead of Little Debbie snack cakes I enjoy Kodiak Protien Brownies. Or even better, a Whoopie Pie Recipe I created using Kodiak Brownie Mix and Fage Greek Yogurt. Whoopie Pies are my absolute favorite! The Whoopie Pies I made have 237 calories (some calories are worth it), 2g of fat, 7g carbs, and 17g of PROTEIN each!  So even though I am eating something sweet, I’m making it just a little bit better for me. And, I’m living in balance. I won’t eat 6 at a time, but 1 satisfies my sweet tooth, while keeping my lifestyle in balance and helping me stay on track with my goals. Ive learned to make my favorite foods in a “healthier” version instead of giving them up totally. It takes some time (research) and creativity, but I am worth it. And so are you. If I was on “a” diet, I’d have to give up Whoopie Pies…. not going to happen!

The key to sustainable change is to make small changes and adjustments. If you wake up one day and decide you are going to eat all fruits and vegetables after eating fast food for years, you will likely struggle. Habits are hard to break. But, If you make one small change at a time, the change is easier to sustain and build on. You will have a higher rate of success. And you will have an increased chance of creating a new sustainable lifestyle. What does that mean? You don’t have to think about lifestyle choices. Now that I have created a lifestyle, I don’t walk through the grocery store considering a purchase of Little Debbie Snacks. It doesn’t even cross my mind. Why? It’s not part of my lifestyle. That makes it SO easy! It all started with one small change at a time. And all of those small changes created a whole new lifestyle.

So, if it’s so easy…. why do so many people quit? Or fail? For many, it’s mistakes. We are all going to make mistakes or mess up. So many people give up because they made a mistake. Let me tell you mistakes will happen! A mistake is not a reason to give up. Your day isn’t blown! Your lifestyle isn’t blown! Your goals aren’t blown! I promise! Instead, just think of your next snack or meal as an opportunity to get back on track. Whatever you do, please don’t quit or give up. Even if you make mistake after mistake after mistake, you have thousands of opportunities to get back on track. Every moment is an opportunity to start over or get back on track.

In addition to mistakes, there are obstacles that will inevitably arise. Having a plan ahead of time to deal with this obstacles is important and something a Health & Wellness coach can help you with. Your list of perceived obstacles will differ from mine. This is why you need a plan specific to YOU. The most common obstacles are social situations, holidays, and travel, among others. We are a culture that shows appreciation and love with food. We are a culture that has been taught to use food as enjoyment or to “medicate” our emotions, instead of using food for fuel. That can be a challenging obstacle to overcome. But, it’s not impossible. Not even close to impossible. There are techniques you can use to face these obstacles and live in balance.

Remember though, your goals and choices are yours and yours alone. They may not be the same as your spouse or your friends, so be prepared ahead of time to make a choice that is best for you. Even when those around you may order a pizza with extra cheese or an extra glass or two of wine. This is about creating YOUR best lifestyle. And the one thing I can promise you is this: Once you get to the point where you’ve created a lifestyle (90 days)… the choice wont be as hard anymore. It will start becoming easy, I promise, I really do! Remember, these words are coming out of the mouth of a girl that ate pizza and a donut every day for years. Your mistakes will become less frequent. You will have replaced old habits with new habits. You will have created a sustainable healthy lifestyle. It’s all in your mindset. Mindset through this process is HUGE. But, we’ll save that for another post!

So, I think today is a great day to make that first small change, don’t you? What’s it gonna be?

#FageYogurt #KodiakCakes