Tale of Two Houses: 2 Approaches to Healthy EatingLet's try a different strategy: I want you to imagine a house. (Let's call it "House A".) The people in that house have relatives coming over, so they freak out. They wash some dishes, spray some Febreeze or favorite air freshener, and hid everything else in a closet or under the bed. Now let's imagine another house. (Let's call it "House B.") The people in this house follow a regular routine of cleaning every night. When they learn that relatives are coming, they don't freak out, since they're prepared. They just make the guest bed and they're done.
I focused on these 2 scenarios because they represent the two basic approaches to healthy eating.
Which house do you think will be cleaner over the long-term: House A or House B?
- "House A" represents the traditional diet approach. With this approach, we have a problem with our body that we want to fix (too much fat, too little muscle, etc.), so we "go on a diet".
- "House B" represents a nutritional approach. With this approach, we maintain a certain pattern of eating the majority of the time. We might deviate with an occasional snack or two every now and then, but we stick to a general pattern of eating that works for us.
Which approach matches your current lifestyle?
The Secret about DietsOn paper, diets work. If you follow almost any diet down to the very last detail, you will see results. The problem is that diets are specifically designed for short-term goals. People "go on" diets because they want to see a smaller number on the scale or they want to fit their clothes or look good in a bikini. Diets don't solve the long-term problems, though. Eventually, your body will get used to a diet and you won't see the progress you once did. Eventually, you'll get tired of all of the foods that you can't because you're "on a diet". Eventually, old habits return. Then you're back at the beginning again.....until the next diet that promises to fix what the last diet didn't. It doesn't. See the problem?
Moving Towards a New Method of "Healthy" EatingThe lure of diet is the "shortcut". With a diet, you don't have to plan your meals or exercise routines. The downside is reality. Eventually, you will get in a situation where you have to figure out how "eat healthy" by yourself. That's where diets fail miserably. They don't develop you. They only temporarily fix parts of the outside. The nutritional approach to healthy eating focuses on long-term goals. With this approach, you have to plan out your meals, learn how to cook, and learn how to do a proper exercise routine that works for your body. The upside is reality. By following the nutritional approach to healthy eating, you will have the skills to eat healthy wherever you happen to be.
So, if you have a short-term goal, you might consider a diet (once you get a doctor's clearance), but realize that it won't fix your long-term problems. Only you can do that.
Our biggest problem in "healthy eating" is that we choose the shortcut (aka diet) over the long-term solution (aka eating for our nutrition).