Ask any one of your friends, family members, coworkers, or acquaintances if they are on a diet and most of them will say they either are on a diet currently, or have been on one (or many!) in the past. Most of them will also tell you that they lost weight initially, but after they stopped dieting, they gained all of the weight back – plus more. According to an article on sparkpeople.com, only 5-10% of “weight losers” manage to keep the weight off over time. So what gives? Here are 4 reasons why formal “Diets” don’t work and what to do instead of going on one.
1. You are a unique, one-of-a-kind individual.
Just because someone else you know has had success eating a certain way, or following a certain diet, doesn’t mean you will, too. The Institute For Integrative Nutrition calls this concept, “bioindividuality.” You may be lactose intolerant or maybe have an allergy or sensitivity to any of the six most common offenders: wheat, corn, soy, gluten, dairy and eggs. The only way to truly tell what may be an issue for you is to go on an elimination diet. To do this, you cut out all of the foods that contain these ingredients for 7 to 30 days and then add them back in one at a time to see what affects you and what doesn’t. Another possible reason for difficulty losing weight is a medical condition. At Strong Weight Loss, we check for common issues such as thyroid levels or insulin resistance, which may hinder your weight loss efforts even though you are doing everything right.
2. Many diets are too restrictive.
They will tell you not to eat meat, cooked food, carbs, fat, or whatever food they think is the reason for obesity. The problem with this concept is that when you tell yourself you can’t eat a certain food, that becomes all you can think about. You think you NEED to have it. You may be able to stay away from it for a while, but as soon as you reach your goal weight and stop the diet, you go right back to your old habits. Unfortunately, there is much more information available about weight loss, than weight maintenance. When you concentrate on using food as fuel for your body – not as comfort when you are sad, mad or stressed out, you will be better able to maintain your goal weight for continued success.
3. Diets can be EXPENSIVE!
When I went on Nutrisystem (one of the many diets I tried – and failed), it cost me over $300 per month and I still had to buy my own fruits, veggies and dairy! Wow! I could only eat “my” food and my family continued to eat everything I couldn’t. Not only was I STARVING, but I was broke and felt like I was missing out on real food. You might think eating healthy is expensive; however, when you factor in the cost of premade food including shipping, packaging, advertising, etc., it makes more sense to eat real, whole food. You can get healthy, great tasting food at any local farmer’s market or in your own backyard garden for much less than at many stores.
4. Figuring out what to eat is CONFUSING!
We are bombarded with information about food, nutritional data, health benefits and health risks; often by special interest groups. Food advertising is everywhere and food companies spend a lot of money on figuring out what makes us buy more of their food. It is no surprise you often wonder how you are supposed to know what to eat.
So what on EARTH are you supposed to do?
The answer is simple: whenever you can, eat whole foods. It’s that easy. What is a whole food? Anything that walks, crawls, swims, flies, grew from the ground or had a mother. This means any food that is in its natural state and is not processed in any way. A good way to find these foods is to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. The processed stuff is mostly in the middle of the store. As a general rule, anything that is advertised is probably not good for you.
That’s where I come in. As a Health Coach, I help you reach your health and weight loss goals on your own terms. I am your Accountability Partner. Together, we figure out what foods are good for your unique body, what type of exercise you are willing, and able, to do, and then we set attainable goals that you choose for yourself. Only you know yourself inside and out – nobody else does. You know you need to exercise and eat right. I help you get there. I will cheer you on, smack you upside the head when you need it (figuratively!) and I will be there with you every step of the way. Find out more about Health Coaching here or visit my website to sign up for more health and wellness tips. I can’t wait to hear from you!