Almost every Road Warrior I know has gone on a diet. And it’s no surprise given the typical road warrior lifestyle. If your New Year’s Resolution is to go on a diet and lose some extra road warrior poundage, I want to urge you to break your resolution. Yes, I want you to NOT diet.
I know, I know…you want to lose weight. You yearn for the body you had before you spent hours of every week on a plane. And, you are desperate to have your rear-end look like anything but the plane seat it’s planted in. But I’m going to let you in on a secret: Dieting doesn’t work. You may be thinking: “But my friend lost 20 pounds on the Atkins diet!” or “I’ve heard fantastic things about Nutrisystem.” Yes, these diets work in the short term, but after the diet ends, most people gain some, if not ALL of the weight back.
This New Year, I’d like you to consider resolving not to diet. And, if you’re about to fall victim to Atkins or Jenny Craig, I want you to remember the following things about diets and why they don’t work:
- Malnutrition: Contrary to popular belief, most diets are not healthy and may actually border on malnutrition. Many urge us to do extreme things, forgo our favorite foods or cut major food groups in order to lose weight. Healthy eating requires ALL nutrients (carbs, fats and protein) and a minimum number of calories in order to maintain health and proper body function. For the New Year: Focus on eating nutrient rich foods of all types and stay away from those that are made up of “empty calories.”
- Energy Loss and Metabolism: Dramatically reducing your calorie intake can result in reduced energy levels and fatigue. Given their long days and travel schedules, this is especially detrimental to a road warrior. Instead, it’s important to understand which foods provide quality nutrition. For the New Year: Eat small meals often, even if it means packing healthy snacks in your suitcase. This strategy can actually stimulate weight loss, keep you satisfied and maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
- It is Unsustainable: Depriving your body of vital nutrients or calories can shock the body into losing weight. Once your body gets over the shock, however, it adapts: Metabolism slows, unhealthy physical states (such as ketosis) occur, and eventually, weight loss slows or stops. So, even if you mentally have the willpower to diet forever, your body doesn’t. For the New Year: Change from a mindset of dieting to one of eating healthy as a lifestyle. You’ll lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.
- The Pendulum Swing: Depriving yourself to an extreme, can result in extreme cravings. The pendulum swings from “being extremely good” to “being extremely bad” to compensate. For the New Year: Embrace moderation. Enjoy the foods you love and the treats you crave every so often so that your cravings aren’t extreme.
- Life Happens: Diets often require us to change our eating habits in such a way, that normal life gets in the way. As a road warrior, eating out can become problematic if your are on too strict of a “diet.” For the New Year: Find ways to fit healthy eating into every day life, even when you travel, so that you can live life AND be healthy. Discover which nutritious foods you love that make healthy eating delicious!
- Quantitative versus Qualitative: Although this is changing, many dieting programs don’t really teach you how to eat for the long term. You may be carefully counting calories, but the food you are eating may actually make you hungrier or cause you to crave more. For the New Year: Learn what foods are most satisfying and most nutritious. The more nutritious the food you eat, the less hungry you will be. You’ll make smarter choices and lose weight without focusing on every calorie you ingest.
- One Dimensional: In order to truly lose weight, you have to eat well AND be active. As we get older, our metabolisms naturally slow down, so the more active you are, the more calories you burn and the higher your metabolism will stay. For the New Year: Be active. Find activities you enjoy and make activity a normal part of your day: Take the stairs, walk at the airport instead of taking the people mover, park far away from your office, etc.
Make your New Year’s Resolution to Get Real! Change your life by changing your mentality towards health, nutrition and wellness. Stop dieting, start eating and start seeing the results that you want…for the long term!
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