Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Half-Way Diet

My boss went to her check-up and discovered that falling off her diet has caused her medical problems to worsen.  I'm still on her diet, even though I don't have the same conditions, because it's a generally healthy way to eat: low salt, high fiber and potassium, moderate meats, fats, and sweets.

The reason people fall off diets is because they see them as temporary from the start.  They think that they can fix whatever motivated the change of eating patterns and go back to their old ways.  A diet is an ongoing thing.  It's what you eat on a regular basis, and a lifestyle.  Returning to the eating patterns that caused the original problem is only going to bring them back.

The second reason dietary changes fail is because people miss the foods they used to eat.  "Cheat days" only remind you what you can no longer enjoy.  I don't believe in cutting out anything unless it's a matter of life and death.  Just have it in moderation.  Frankly, after six weeks of indulgence over the holidays, I'm beyond ready to go back to my usual light and fiber-rich life.  Oatmeal is starting to look pretty good.

So, for at least a while, I'm experimenting with a half-way diet.  One time I cook, it's Mediterranean, vegetarian, or a similar healthy cuisine (like the above salad and falafel pie).  The next time, I'll make something with meat and maybe a less healthy side dish, but still not overly fatty or salty.  By alternating, you can ease yourself into a new routine.  After a month, maybe cook "healthy" twice for every one indulgent dish, then three to one.  By easing yourself into a new lifestyle, you may be less likely to get a craving for something really bad, like the greasiest burger you can find and a large fries.  There's nothing like denying yourself something you enjoy to make it stand out as the only thing you want.

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