By Sonia Salfity
It doesn’t really matter what plan we each follow because different ones work for different people. However, if we fail to plan, then we plan to fail, and this is true for all of us.
With the arrival of springtime, it seems natural to have a plan to spring into action, especially for a desperate dieter; however, there’s only one problem.
What plan should we spring into?
Every friend I talk to is on a different programme. Every article I read boasts the success of yet another new strategy. If it’s not the protein plan, it’s the Keto plan. If it’s not the vegan plan, then it’s the vegetarian plan. Then there’s the South Beach Diet, the intermittent fasting plan and the Whole 30 detox plan. So how do we spring into action when we’re not even sure which programme is the best fit for us?
We obviously need to have a clear strategy with a realistic, achievable goal. When you consider that most people regain the weight they lost using restrictive diets you should think twice before being impressed by the quick weight-loss some plans boast. This is important for us to remember before we decide which method we want to use. For many people, weight management is a lifelong struggle. A quick fix is only going to achieve short-term success and lead to yoyo dieting which has been proven unhealthy and dangerous.
Research shows that you’re better off staying at the weight you are than to yoyo back and forth multiple times. Keep that in mind when you choose your plans carefully and remember, you’re in the long race, not in the short sprint.
Sound and balanced nutrition?
There’s nothing wrong with being vegetarian or vegan as long as you’re getting the nutrients your body needs and you don’t just consume simple carbs and then wonder why you have no energy. Be smart when you’re choosing any plan and make sure it fits your lifestyle.
The bottom line is this: Never let the plan sabotage your health by allowing it to prevent you from consuming the necessary nutrients your body needs to function at its optimal. Basic rules like cutting out processed foods and simple sugars are a no brainer for a desperate dieter; however, some things are more difficult to decipher. For example, bananas are packed with nutrients, yet I find more and more people staying away from this healthy fruit because they want to lose weight. The Atkins Diet prohibits eating any fruit at all. You may end up losing a lot of weight quickly by packing the proteins into your body, but the amount of saturated fat that you’ll consume will most certainly wreak havoc on your heart health. Would you rather be a few kilos overweight or develop heart disease just so you can have a small waist?
I think it is a waste of our time if we are going to follow plans in the long term that are not giving us sound and balanced nutrition.
Nutritional Psychiatry studies the link between the food we consume and what it does to our mental and emotional health. Research shows us how the food we eat can affect our mood and even increase symptoms of depression. People who eat a high carb and sugar diet tend to feel fatigued and express symptoms of depression because the body reacts to those foods by releasing less serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and secretes more of the ‘feel bad hormones’. So not only does that kind of food keep you feeling sluggish and tired, but it also causes you to feel depressed and want to stay isolated.
The positive side is that we can reverse these effects by making better choices one meal at a time. It’s never too late to start taking care of ourselves and my personal plan right now is the one that takes care of our brain.
It’s a plan you’re all familiar with…
The Mediterranean Diet
This diet provides healthy nutrients to help us function at our best. Fish, nuts, olive oil, fruit and vegetables feed our brain, and they also keep us healthy physically, mentally and emotionally by stabilising our mood states and this is good news! Reaching this kind of balance is essential for a long-lasting plan that turns into a lifestyle without depriving ourselves of the excellent and tasty fresh foods our bodies deserve.
It’s also a plan that reduces our cravings for the processed foods and empty calories not to mention the sugar that causes so much chaos in our systems.
Here’s to a happy and smart Spring to each and every one of you as you find what plan works best for you! Whatever you do, don’t exchange nutrition for losing an extra few kilos. Your brain will thank you for it!
You can contact Salfity at [email protected]