It may be February, but the season for New Years Resolutions is still going on and for most people, that resolution is either to lose weight or to eat healthier. While reading up on the latest diet trends may seem like a good idea, most people have no idea what they're doing when it comes to dieting. So sit down and buckle up bitches, because I'm about to spill the tea on the real dieting truths.
1. Pick a diet you can actually live by
Yes, being vegan may sound awesome to begin with, but by your fourth Arby's commercial, you're gonna start losing your mind. Yes, it may be fun to go straight Paleo, until it kicks in that you don't have the time to prep and cook your own food. Going from 0 to Keto may be fun for a quick second until you realize almonds are $20 a pack and you only have a $40 budget. My point? Pick something you know you can actually live off of. If you can't afford it, don't do it. There are plenty of ways to get healthy without breaking the bank. If you know coffee is a primary part of your life, don't force yourself to quit. If you can't live without meat, pasta, chocolate, etc. It's only a little bit of time before you break down and ruin your diet.
Pick something like Weight Watchers or the Atkins diet during your busier, more stressful semester, and maybe leave the vegetarian/vegan/Paleo/Keto diet for summer when you have the time.
Despite the diet, also make sure you give yourself a break. Not necessarily a cheat day but a cheat meal once a week isn't going to do much harm. For example, Swedish fish are my weakness, and by allowing myself a small portion of them on a Saturday during math homework, I’m doing myself a solid and staying sane.
2. Buy what you’ll eat
I fucking hate zucchini, I hate everything about it. So you’ll never see me eat zucchini even though it’s a 21st-century vegan “superfood." I don’t like it, which means I’m not going to fuss around making zucchini noodles, zucchini brownies, or anything else zucchini related. I’m not going to spend precious money on that goddamn vegetable, and if you don’t like something, you shouldn’t have to either. If you hate salads, skip the traditional salad and go for the soup, the fish, or a non-traditional salad. You don’t have to suffer for this to work.
3. Buying it won’t make you actually do it
Take it from someone who loves meditation and procrastination, it doesn’t matter how many fancy recipes you pin, or fitness Instas you make. It doesn’t matter how many smoothies you “plan” to create with that huge bag of frozen fruit stuck in your freezer for half the semester. It doesn’t matter how many appliances or diet you plan to get, you’re not getting anything done by planning it all out. If you’re not doing it, nothing’s gonna happen. Unless you’re making a smoothie for breakfast every day with that new appliance and you’ve already done it for a week, guess what sweetie, nothing’s gonna change. If you want change, you gotta do it.
4. For the first two weeks, you’re gonna be bffs with your toilet.
Haha, yeah I found this one out the hard way. When you suddenly add fiber to your diet, eat a lot of fruit and veg, or drink more water, your digestive system gets a huge wake-up call. For the first week, I'd recommend taking it slow, make sure you're always somewhere where there's a bathroom or at least a toilet. Also, make sure to gradually increase your water intake, otherwise you'll be missing 80% of class by always going to the toilet. Trust this girl, you don't want to be missing a lab because of a new kind of enrichment.
5. Do your research before trying anything, because most of the time, it’s all B.S.
There's a hell of a ton of health myths out there that many people believe in, and most of the time it's just like any fad diet: it's all B.S. Here's a short list of my favorite busted diet myths:
*You cannot detox your body with water and fruit, it’s impossible and super bad for you. Google it.
*Most of the time, “superfoods” are just regular healthy foods with an extra 0 added to the price tag.
*A crash diet won’t make you lose weight, it’ll starve you for a couple of days and make you gain weight when you go off of it.
There is no diet pill, no magic trick, no "Accio weight loss" that will make you lose weight instantly, okay? So save the $30 on those Amazon Prime "weight loss" capsules of crap, and put it towards something that will work, like some freaking fresh salmon.
6. If you’re gonna just diet, give it some patience.
Just like anything else, practice makes perfect, but it also takes time. Ever see those 30-day abs images on Pinterest? There's a reason it takes 30 days to get to those abs. It's not going to happen overnight, and it might not even happen within one week. There's no need to get frustrated sweetheart, you will get there, okay? Sometimes it's the diet, sometimes it's the amount of activity you get, sometimes it's something else that might be causing the weight to stay on. This is why it's super important to let your primary care physician know before you take on a big weight loss challenge.
I'll give you a real example: I take medication that makes it hard for me to lose weight, my diet isn't great, and I workout twice a week on average and take the bus to class.
Here's how we can help this situation: Keep taking the medication but discuss other options with my doctor, improve my diet with meal prep (it works best with my schedule) and snack on fruit and veg, try to workout three to four times a week and walk to class. Will this help with weight loss? Heck yes it will. Will it change overnight? Nope, but weight loss is all about persistence, and if you really want it, YOU WILL GET THERE!
7. If you are gonna diet and go to the gym, make sure you know the right way to workout
Most of the time when you go to the gym, you gain muscle. Muscle adds numbers to the scale, we wanna lose weight not go insane. So if you're new to the gym, go up and ask someone who works there, because they usually know exactly the kind of exercise you need. If the gym makes you nervous, there a bazillion other ways to workout without the anxiety attack. Go on Pinterest and find exercises that target your abs or your butt. Go to YouTube some of my favorite channels are Blogilates, Rebecca-Louise, or POP-SUGAR Fitness
8. For the love of all things good, get yourself a decent scale
Please do this, for the love of sweet Swedish fish, do yourself a huge solid and get a good scale. I was using a cheap, old thing for years and it was telling me I was 10 pounds bigger than I actually was. Skip the confusion and hurt and go get your butt a nice one. You can find a list of decent scales right here.
9. Actually, read the labels
Calorie counting is all fun and good, but if you read the labels of your favorite health foods, you might be surprised how much fat, sugar, and sodium is in everything. Want a good kick starter to being healthy? Water is your soulmate, carbs aren't the enemy, avocados actually have a lot of fat, sodium is everywhere, and cut out as much high fructose corn syrup as possible. That shit is the biggest cancer in your weight loss journey.
10. Don’t lose weight if you don’t want to
I don’t give a flying Swedish fish who else wants you to lose weight. It could be your parents, your friends, your significant other, heck it could be your doctor. See, I’m supposed to tell you to lose weight and suck it up and eat that shitty salad because you’ll be so beautiful blah blah blah. Look, if your heart isn’t in it, you’re not gonna lose weight. But more importantly, you’re not gonna enjoy your change. You’ll hate working out, and eating awesomely healthy food, and setting goals for yourself. And you shouldn’t, you should find a workout that works for you, you should figure out if zucchini noodles are better than pasta (they’re not, but you get the point), you should see for yourself if this is something you want to dedicate yourself to, on your own.
Here’s the thing buttercup, you should love yourself no matter the size. As someone who has had a weight struggle her entire life, it’s been hard to love myself and accept that I’m a decently wonderful person. If you love yourself the way you are right now, throw up the middle finger to anyone else and love yourself. If you hate the way you are right now, live differently. Because only you can make that change.