Last week, I talked about how life-long-term health is about your life. Not just your diet. This week is the sequel. The diet part. Because it takes both. Diet alone does not solve why the refrigerator is open when you are not hungry, so to speak. But on the flip side, to focus on life balance alone in hopes to cure stress, boredom or loneliness eating, underestimates the power of food.
This is such a big topic. I'm trying to figure out how to narrow it down. Ok - here is how I want to approach this... Why I believe so strongly in meal replacements as a transitional tool.
When you focus so much on the diet, all you learn to do is diet. No seriously. You learn to shop, chop, pack and track - and deprive. To diet. So once you reach a healthy weight (which rarely happened where I was concerned), in order to maintain, you have to continue to diet at a maintenance calorie level because that is all you know.
Here is the beauty of a partial meal replacement, partial whole foods program - as part of a comprehensive program - where you also have learning tools, community and coaching support. Not just a bunch of shakes and a "good luck with that" send off. With nutritionally-sound meal replacements eaten throughout the day and a simple well-rounded meal you make for yourself:
1) Your body gets the message "I'm getting what I need now you can let go of the reserves!" And, your blood sugar gets managed - which means your cravings go away. My whole life I thought I had a willpower issue, when what I had was a blood sugar issue.
2) Instead of your time and energy being spent on the shop, chop, pack and track activities - you have a tool that is very simple, very convenient and that frees you up to focus on the real stuff... why you eat. So that once you do reach a healthy weight, you are able to stay there.
3) You build habits in layers. While you use meal replacements as a tool, and while you lose weight and enjoy more energy - you create a few critical, foundational habits. You learn eating rhythm - the habit of eating every few hours (this is how often babies eat, how we were intended to eat, we just screw it up.) You learn planning ahead - about groceries, dinner, social outings, etc. And you learn how to make one (or two) healthy meal(s) a day without being overwhelmed all day long. These three habits, realistically, are usually enough to focus on the few two months. Then once these habits become "habit" we peel the next layer. Then, once you are at a healthy weight and have a few layers of habits under your belt, you transition back to whole foods throughout the day. I find this brilliant, because once you know how great healthy feels there is a whole lot more motivation to stay there, versus trying to get it right all day long from the get-go while you feel like crap and lack hope.
Make sense? So, if you are trying to go it alone - the old fashioned way - just stop. Give yourself a break. You are not a failure. You are just trying to create a masterpiece without any tools.
Of course, you can imagine, I have an opinion on which "fuelings" or meal replacements - along with a comprehensive program - are better than the rest!! If you want to know more. Just ask. :)
I have yet to have a client create health who wishes they had waited.
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