I used to think that the “eating clean” philosophy , which classifies certain foods as clean (good) or unclean (bad) was a simple way to explain what people should or should not be eating. I figured if it was easy for me – it was easy for anyone, not true. Not only is it not true it can be damaging.
Adherence is the number one factor that determines whether a diet is successful or not. If we limit food choices and create a very rigid plan which requires suffering and sacrifice, the likelihood that we can adhere to it for an extended period of time goes down. Then, when we can’t adhere to it we believe we suck and that we are failing – NOT TRUE. The plan sucks, it’s too rigid. OF COURSE we are going to fall off and cheat, it’s not sustainable and we haven’t learned anything. The plan we thought would fix us created a bigger problem, it made our relationship with food worse.
I am constantly asked to create these type of rigid meal plans, but I refuse. Why would I waste time or take money to create something that makes the problem worse. I prefer education. Unfortunately, most people want a quick easy mindless solution but, if it hasn’t worked up till now there is no reason that it will work this time.
Rigid diets are associated with:
- Less weight loss
- less weight loss maintained
- More food focus
- Higher BMI
- More common overeating
- Higher levels of depression, anxiety and mood disturbance
- More frequent and more severe binge eating
- More symptoms of eating disorders
- Poorer Body Image
No foods are good or bad. Foods can be optimal or sub optimal based on your goals.
My advice is to start where your feet are and make small changes in habits. Start by observing yourself and your own patterns. We have to swim in the shallow water before we jump into the deep end.