The word diet means “to restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.” Why is it that the first aspect of the word deals with restricting? Why do we need to cut back or remove something in order to lose weight? Research has shown that people who have lost weight dieting will gain it all back within 5 years, except for 5% of the population. Those odds are the same as surviving metatsic lung cancer. If you’re thinking what I am thinking, those odds are scary. There is no cookie cutter nutrition program that works for everyone. When it comes down to specifics like certain foods and amounts we need, we are all very individualized. What stays the same is the fact that we all need fats, carbohydrates, and protein for our body to function properly. So, if we need all of these macronutrients to keep the body moving and functioning properly, what is it that we are really restricting ourselves from when we diet? Our happiness, our peace of mind, our favorite indulgences? Successful dieting isn’t about restricting and cutting foods out, it is about balance and lifestyle changes. There is no quick fix to lose weight and reach goals. It is a very long, hard, and drawn out process that takes hard work and determination, and that is why people fall short. Let’s talk deeper about the specific reasons the new Fad Diet is not sustainable for the long term.
Cutting Food Groups
Most diets on the market now deal with cutting out a specific food group or type of food that is “bad” for you. The most common action people take when dieting is cutting carbs. Please, for the love of God, do not do this. Cutting out all carbohydrates from your diet is not going to magically make you lose weight, and if you do this, as soon as you stop dieting and start eating carbs again, all the weight you lost slowly creeps back into your life. Check out our blog on demystifying carbs to learn more! Our body uses all 3 macronutrients to complete body functions, and therefore cutting one out is like losing a piece of the puzzle. When we lose a piece of the puzzle we cannot finish it, and if we can’t finish it, we aren’t successful. Cutting things out of your diet like refined grains, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods will give you more of the results you are looking for without depriving yourself of nutrients. And let’s be honest, although it may taste good, there’s is no nutritional value to food that is over processed or artificial.
Bad Relationships with Food
Food is not the enemy. None of us would survive without food, and therefore we cannot blame it for out weight gain. Many diets out there use point systems or calorie counting as a way to keep you on track. When you begin to see food as “200 calories in” or “3 points” or “a purple and a green”, you have started down a road towards a bad relationship. I am not saying that this isn’t a great way to start your journey, but when you feel you can easily determine how much a serving is by eyeballing it, then you need to give up the constant tracking. We need to have a relationship with food that is sustainable. Food is fuel and that it needs to be perceived if we are going to be successful at reaching our goals. We cannot blame ourselves and get worked up when we eat that piece of cake or an extra tablespoon of peanut butter. We need to use it to power us through that extra hour at work or the final few hours before putting the kids to bed. Food is not meant to be constantly counted and tracked, just enjoy it and put it to good use.
Take the Joys out of Eating
Nobody gets excited about going out to dinner with friends or celebrating a milestone when they are dieting. You just begin to stress out about what you’re going to eat and how far off track you’ll be after. Dieting puts the mind in a tunnel, and it is very hard to get out of that mindset once you’re in it. Flexible and sustainable nutrition is all about treating yourself here and there with your favorites. You cannot miss out on fun with friends and family because you are too worried about how much food you’re going to consume and how much cardio you’ll have to do tomorrow to burn it off. Enjoy yourself, enjoy good company and enjoy good food. There are always healthy options where ever you go. Just because you are going out to dinner doesn’t mean you have to eat 2,000 calories in a burger and fries. Be smart, be conscious and be happy.
Generalized for the Public
The new fad diets out there are created based on an idea or one piece of scientific research someone found. That does not mean it will work for everyone, even though they tell you it will. We are all different, our bodies and needs fluctuate among individuals and therefore one diet that works for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for the next. If you find an article on the internet saying “Drop Fat in 1 Week,” or “Lose that Stubborn Belly Fat With This Money Back Guarantee,” I can promise you it didn’t say To: (insert your first and last name). These diets and fixes are created to target as many people as possible, without you seeing the small print that the company is responsible when it doesn’t work. You are better off doing deep research on scientific-based studies and creating your own plan than you are following something that someone else created for the general public.
Cause Long-term Weight Gain
Research has shown that yo-yo dieting is linked to insulin resistance, heart disease, and high blood pressure; which mean you are likely to gain even more weight after a series of dieting. Not only do your body functions begin to spiral out of control, so does your mind. When you are constantly worried about what you’re eating and when the brain is kicked into overdrive and begins to release extensive amounts of stress hormones. Stress hormones (specifically cortisol) causes the body to store extra fat in the abdominal region. This is because cortisol acts as a vehicle for substrates (carbs/fat/protein) and brings it to locations that are in demand for energy. If extra cortisol is released (like when we are stressed) it doesn’t know what to do if there is no tissue that needs energy, so it begins to take fat cells to the abdomen as well as aiding in baby fat cells to grow into mature fat cells. With all that being said, strict dieting takes a toll on your brain and anything out of your ordinary diet routine is going to cause you to stress out, which is going to cause unwanted weight gain. Not to mention how mentally exhausting it is to be continuously counting calories or planning your day around when your next meal is going to be.
After all of this, the one message I want you to take away from this…the next time you think about dieting: stop and the next time you want to use the word diet as a verb: stop. Instead, think of the changes you plan to make to your diet (as a noun) as a lifestyle change. Making healthier choices, and still indulging in your favorites here and there is what is going to make you successful at losing weight and being healthy. A lot of our weight loss comes from our brain activity and signals it sends to the body, and that we cannot control. What we can control—-exercise, nutrition, hormones, stress, will help us to reach those goals and hope the brain follows suit. There is no quick fix when it comes to weight loss. The process is slow and grueling, but it is as much mental as it is physical.
Get in the mindset of a sustainable lifestyle change rather than a “diet” and you will be much more successful at reaching your weight loss goals. Please contact us today if you are interested in a tour or ready for your comprehensive Evaluation!