Is Your Diet (Lifestyle) Too Restrictive?

Photo credit: Stefan Kovac

Photo credit: Stefan Kovac

When I tell someone that I don’t know very well how I eat, the common response I get is “That sounds too restrictive. I could never do that.” I’ve been doing really well with it for many years, but I also consider myself fairly disciplined when it comes to food. So, it got me thinking – Is the way I eat too restrictive? Maybe, but isn’t every “diet” restrictive? Vegetarians and vegans restrict meat. For anyone who eats meat, wouldn’t that seem too restrictive? But vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat, just as paleo/primal folks choose not to eat grains, legumes and dairy (primal folks include some dairy). Both groups choose to restrict certain foods.

Another common response is, “I could never eat like that because I would feel like I’m depriving myself.” Depriving yourself from what? When someone says that they don’t want to feel deprived I hear, “I want to be able to eat what I want, when I want, without consequences or repercussions.” Basically, they want to have their gluten-filled, high fructose corn syrup cake and eat it too.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. There has to be some personal responsibility and self-discipline. You have to make real, permanent lifestyle changes in how you approach food and the decisions you make regarding what you put into your body. That’s why you shouldn’t even think of the way you eat as a diet. To me, a diet implies a short-term change in your food intake generally for the goal of weight loss. The way you eat is a lifestyle which implies long-term and permanent changes, not a quick fix.

Meat, veggies, and good fats. It’s that simple. To make it even simpler: plants and animals. It does sound really limited and restrictive until you’ve reprogrammed your brain to come back from the dark side. It takes some time, but eventually you realize that you don’t need, or even want, most of those other foods because you’ve seen the light and know how problematic they will be. And what it eventually comes down to is if the treat is worth it or not. If you’re going to do some damage, it better be worth it.

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