I used to be so sick of hearing this. It's a lifestyle, not a diet. Blah blah blah. But you know what? It's true. Although it doesn't mean it changes overnight either.
I had a great conversation with a dear old friend today. It was about her wanting to eat better, take better care of herself. For health, for esthetic, for trying to have a baby. She's struggled with eating well and exercsing. Motivation and execution. She told me "eating better" and getting healthy just seemed like such an overwhelming task. Too much to learn and know. Wished it could be as easy for her as it's been for me.
It never was just easy. Still isn't. I never learned overnight how to eat well and exercise and so on. It started with learning a little bit at a time, research, some trial and error and finding what I like and don't like.
But I get it. That feeling like no matter where you look there is advice and then just as fast someone telling you another way is the right way. Eat breakfast, don't eat breakfast. Run a lot; don't do cardio. Eat less, eat more, eat clean, eat whatever fits! No wonder so many of us give up before we start.
I'm no expert, but it's also no secret I love nutrition and exercise. I even plan to start schooling to become a Holistic Nutritionist next year. So here is the advice I shared with her.
We took her hardest hurdle. Breakfast. She never eats it. Now I will side with suggesting it should be eaten. So I told her to spend the next week focusing on breakfast. Pre-make smoothie packs and put in the freezer, then pop them out, blend with milk in the morning and go. Gave her a vague recipe to follow and told her to play with until she liked the taste. But to include carbs (fruit), protein (powder we bought together) and healthy fat (flaxseed). And a bit of spinach for micronutrients.
I know she has struggled so hard, but I know she will do this. Because we took away the perfection of it. I said, eat what you normally would each week. Burgers after ball practice, beers on Friday night, hangover pizza the next day. Whatever. Just focus on the smoothies for breakfast.
Why not give her a meal plan to follow and say "eat only this"? Because thats not changing her own opinion on foods, not helping her know the "why?". Removing the daunting task of changing her entire life. Thats just it. Changing your life overnight won't make it stick. Bit by bit, day by day, meal by meal is how you change how you view food.
Something she told me she struggled with was feeling guilty after eating a food. My response? "It's just food! You ate it, so what. Forgive yourself and move on. Doesn't mean the rest of your day, week, month is ruined and may as well restarting the diet on the proverbial Monday. Get right back on the horse the next meal, if not, the next one after that.
Pushing through a diet or new plan isn't the way to change how you are with food. Gradually learning things and applying them that suits your needs is. It's not a diet, it literally is a lifestyle.