Diets Don’t Work
Social pressure in relation to body image, the quest for the perfect body, and the fear of gaining weight, has led people to drastic diets without considering their health.
People engage in repeated cycles of weight loss/regain, as they fall victim to the myriad of myths and fallacies surrounding weight loss.
Some of the common ones are; sugar makes you fat, carbs make you fat, gluten makes you fat, eating after 6pm makes you fat.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have; Paleo makes you lose weight, clean eating makes you lose weight, meal replacer shakes makes you lose weight, detox teas make you lose weight.
It’s all lies. An excess intake of calories, be it in the form of protein, fats, carbs, or a combination of, makes you gain weight. And your ability to adhere to a calorie deficit makes you lose weight.
“Diets” that encourage conscious restriction of food have been proven to be unsuccessful in the long-term, and ironically, have been shown to be a strong predictor of future weight gain.
Not only are faddish extreme diets ineffective, they’re physically damaging and promote psychological distress and unhealthy eating behaviours.
Eventual persistent thoughts of deprivation and restriction, if you’re constantly thinking about food and monitoring intake, will kick in and the body will start to think it’s being starved.
This can lead to an irregular menstrual cycle, affect your chances of becoming pregnant, lead to higher levels of stress, which has been linked to decreased bone density and higher blood pressure, and put you at a higher risk of poor health in general.
Ditch the Diet
“Dieting” is as much about psychology as it is physiology. With the right mindset and approach we may never need diet again.
The first step is to stop worrying so much about what you eat. Shift the focus away from bodyweight outcomes and instead focus on improving health, psychological well-being, and building a healthy relationship with food.
Focus on improving eating behaviours to abandon unhealthy weight control behaviours and restrictive dieting, increase body satisfaction, and improve psychological health, self-esteem, and quality of life.
Clear your mind of what you perceive as healthy and stop reading about bogus diets on the internet. Instead, learn how to eat intuitively. Retrain your brain and listen to your body’s internal cues.
Eat when hungry, stop when full. Eat slowly and mindfully, in a relaxed state away from computers and TVs. Pay attention to how food tastes, smells and how it makes you feel. Learn how to make food choices based on your body’s response to it.
Choose to eat nutrient dense foods such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, potatoes, whole grains, legumes, and some dairy. Also allow yourself fun foods from time to time. Food should never be associated with guilt, so when you choose to have a treat, make sure to enjoy it.
Don’t eliminate whole food groups. An “all or nothing” approach is the basis of most fad diets and invariably leads to failure. This is a demeaning way to live and encourages low self-esteem due to a constant perception of failure. Give yourself the freedom to choose and feel the mental struggle disappear.
Be who you are and learn to accept the body that you have. Rid yourself of unnecessary expectations. If you slip up from time to time regarding food choices then that’s ok. Give yourself a break and strive for progress, not perfection.
Finally, find a physical activity that you enjoy. Exercise should never be seen just as a means to burn calories, or it’ll shortly turn into something you see as punishment. Instead, focus on the positive. Remind yourself why you’re exercising – to improve health, to get strong, to enhance quality of life. Go for a walk with the dog, roll around in the grass, lift something heavy up and down, just do something to move the body in a way that you enjoy.
To sum it up, find a healthy maintainable balance that works for you. It might take some time, so be kind to yourself and give yourself the time, love and patience that you deserve to get there.
Create a positive foundation that will influence the outcome of your behaviours, and you will be more confident and happier than any magic diet pill will ever make you.
Chase your health. The body will follow.
Thanks for reading,
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