I will be the last one to tell you diets are easy. Diets are hard.
There is no wand that will magically make it easy.
You may be coming to “dieting” because you:
- Are trying to lose weight
- Have been experiencing indigestion, stomach troubles and leaky gut
- Have an auto-immune condition that forced you to change your diet
- Know your diet is crap and you want to change it before your body starts to give you trouble
I love food and I hate having to give up foods I love. For me, the idea of going on a “diet” makes me angry, annoyed, frustrated and wanting to binge on fried calamari, pizza and sliders. There is also the reality of being tired, defeated and not having the energy to take care of your diet – and going down a spiral of eating like crap and not caring about it. It’s especially difficult because every body is different, and it’s hard to know what you’re reacting to, which diet you should try, and why some things that work for others don’t work for you.
But the reality is sometimes you have to give up what you love to become healthier. To lose the weight, to stop the bloating or gut pain and to just feel better.
At the risk of trivializing how difficult it is to change your eating habits, there are some things that will make it easier.
Here are some ideas on how to change eating habits without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
1. Have a plan
When I was first diagnosed with Candida – not only did I have to avoid my newly found food sensitivities, I had to switch to low fodmaps AND avoid sugar.
Even as a chef, I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to eat and food gave me anxiety. The only thing that relieved this anxiety is having a meal plan. Knowing what you’ll cook helps release the stress of what to eat – so that you can focus your energy on healing.
That said, if writing a meal plan with simple recipes feels difficult to you, follow the next step.
2. Get help
A realistic meal plan has to be based on both your dietary requirements and food preferences. Using a diet plan from a website or book is unlikely to stick because it’s not based on your specific lifestyle.
For most people, writing a meal plan is an overwhelming task – especially around navigating a new diet.
You may need help writing a plan or learning how to cook simple but healthy meals based on these new guidelines. Food can still be enjoyable but it will learning some skills to upgrade these meals.
If you can afford it, having a personal chef cook your meals could be the best way to stick to the plan. Since that’s not sustainable for everyone, a food coach can help you figure out what to cook and eat based on your new diet. At White Apron we offer both options. After having personal experience with what it takes to change your food life after getting sick, I know how important it is to get support to navigate the logistics and difficult emotions involved.
3. Reframe the word “diet”
I prefer the word “reset” to “diet.” I believe you can still eat gourmet quality food regardless of how restricted you are. You may have to spend more time in the kitchen and eat out less. You may have to take a cooking lesson to improve your skills. This isn’t without effort, though you will find it gets easier over time, especially if you have support.
Over time, you will lose the weight, seal your gut, and feel better. It’s not an easy road but worth every bit of effort.
You may even find that cooking, over time, becomes your therapy.