Why Learning Skills Works and Diets Don’t

Most of us know the importance of eating mostly whole foods to stay lean and healthy – protein, veggies, healthy carbs and fat. So, if we know what to eat, why is starting and stopping diets (aka dieting) such a strong force in our culture?

In the last 30 years many of our foods have become preserved, more convenient to-go and served in larger portions. We also read, watch and listen everyday about the newest, best and most supposedly effective dieting plan to lose weight.

It’s understandable. I used to be an on-again, off-again dieter. Years ago, I moved into the administrative side of my fitness career substantially reducing my class training schedule. I didn’t adjust my food intake, my stress went up and I started to gain weight and excess body fat. I finally realized I wanted to stop always thinking about losing weight. I knew there had to be a better way.

With some exceptions, most diets are basically pretty good. What is missing are our food and eating skills, such as planning, adjusting for our busy schedules, shopping, food prep, cooking, eating just enough, reducing snacking and emotional eating that connect our diet to our goals – and long term results.

I knew what foods make my body feel best. I knew if I am overtired, I want to snack more. I knew I often forget to drink enough water. I knew I had a big appetite. And so I started to practice skills around these areas of nutrition and wellness. I became leaner and healthier.

Now, I practice my personal skills around nutrition and fitness on a continuum. I adjust them like I adjust my daily lifestyle. What I choose to focus on depends on what I am doing and how I feel. My priority is to eat what I want, when I want, anytime, anywhere. To do this, I practice the skills my body needs to stay lean.

It’s not about dieting. It’s about having skills that connect to both my diet, my goals. And sustainable, long-term results.

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