It seems like everyone I talk to is doing some sort of diet. One is doing a juice cleanse, another is doing no-to-low carb, and someone else is doing some sort of shake-only diet.
The problem with all of these diets is that they are cutting out key nutrients that your body needs to thrive.
A diet that has you eating little to no carbs, no fat, and hardly any protein is one that you should stay away from. That's the problem with diet culture: it brainwashes those who want to start to live a healthier lifestyle into these shake-only, low carb, no sugar diets.
Last year, when I started getting serious about losing weight, I thought the only way to do it was low carb and no sugar. Absolutely miserable, I continued on with it for almost two months. One day, my body had had enough. I had never felt so weak in my life and I knew something had to change. After doing further research, I learned that for my height and weight I should be eating at least 160 grams of carbs a day to lose the amount of weight I wanted! Hesitant, but wanting nothing more than to lose weight and getting back to feeling good, I upped my carb intake and BOOM! I instantly started losing weight, alongside working out 5-6 days a week. The problem with being on such a low carb was that I had no energy, which then meant my workouts were never what they should be (not to mention, I was always starving).
More recently, I am in a maintaining phase. If I do happen to lose or gain a few pounds, I am fine with that. While I am happy with where I am at, it's hard to feel happy and confident with where you are at with yourself with seeing so many "perfect" Instagram models posting about their most recent trip to Maui in their bikinis only they would look good in.
So what did I do? Try a "21 day reset."
Even though I was already happy with myself and didn't need to do a reset, I did it anyway, because I saw other girls that were "better looking" than me try it, so I thought "why not?" The reset is actually following food combining, which is basically the times you eat certain foods (example being you can only eat fruit on an empty stomach) and that way you combine food (example being if you do choose to still eat animal products during the reset, you can't combine say a burger with fries).
To me, I looked at this as a lifestyle change, not a diet.
Halfway through the 21 days, I felt horrible. Little to no energy, I was living off of pasta and vegetables, and I actually gained a few pounds. I also found myself constantly bingeing at night time all the foods I wasn't "allowed" to eat such as peanut butter and ice cream. Around day nine, I stopped and asked myself not only, "Am I happy?" but, "Is my body happy?"
I realized I never cared to ask my body if it was happy, it was always about me. It was at that moment I learned how important it is to listen to your body. During this reset, it was not just a coincidence that I was dealing with major self-confidence issues and felt down all the time. It was due to cutting out many foods I loved and felt like they were "bad" since they were not reset approved. I am not knocking this way of eating, but for me, it felt too restrictive and it was important to not ignore the signs my body was telling me.
In a world full of "quick fixes" and magazine headlines that promise you to lose 15 pounds in two weeks, it is easy to be drawn in.
I have been there, and you probably have, too. But, if there is anything I want you to take away from this, it's to resist being drawn in. Be the change. Don't diet (yeah, you heard me), just live the healthiest lifestyle the way you can. After trying what seems like every diet out there, I can attest that there is NO quick fix. There is NO way to lose 15 pounds in two weeks (in a healthy way).
The way to become healthier and happier is to eat real, whole, nutritious foods. Stay close to foods that have minimal ingredients, but keep that box of cookies closer. Anyone who tells you that you can't treat yourself to the foods you love while living a healthy lifestyle is someone you shouldn't listen to! I have a cup of lemon tea and some chocolate EVERY NIGHT before bed, plus if I want another sweet treat I WILL. Restriction will just make you go crazy. There is no way to cheat the system, and even if there was, why would you want to? You only get one body and you NEED to take care of it. Exercise daily (even if it is a quick walk), nourish your body, drink water, take time to destress, get enough sleep and most importantly, eat the damn cookie if you want it!