No Diets Allowed

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Health, Healthy Tips, Nutrition
Tags: , , , ,

I hate diets. And really the word “diet” itself has this negative connotation associated with it due to pop culture and the focus on “thin” being “in”. Ick. Diets are a temporary solution to permanent challenge. Here is a secret that the weightloss industry does not want you to know: Diets don’t work. The latest diet fad out there may produce dramatic results in the short term, but the stark reality is that the majority of dieters are going to gain back their loss and in many cases will gain more pounds than they initially lost. There are many reasons why this happens and I think it is important for you to know what is happening to your body when you “diet”. You need to know what you are doing to yourself so you can then make better choices based on knowledge, and not on fear of gaining weight.

First, there has been much research lately on body chemistry when dieting. Recent studies find that dieting—especially the kind of dieting that produces rapid weight loss—messes with your body chemistry in ways that make it extremely difficult to maintain that hard-won weight loss. Abrupt changes in diet trigger an almost immediate surge in appetite, which of course is the exact opposite of what is wanted. That is strike one. Strike two, it’s been confirmed that sustained calorie restriction lowers your metabolism so that you burn fewer calories as you go about your daily activities. This lowered metabolism can continue for a year–or even longer–after the dieting stops. And, most of you have probably heard once or twice before that water loss accounts for the first few pounds of weightloss, which is true. But, how many of you have heard that the next pounds that will be lost next will be from your muscles. BIG frowny face!!!!

Think of muscles as being our own personal, built-in, calorie incinerators. The more we have, the more muscles we have, the more potential we have to burn the calories we consume. This is why I think it is very important for me personally to build muscle. Since I have started really focusing on that, I truly feel like my body has changed for the better.

Getting back to dieting. Most dieters start out strong. They’ve just read the latest celebrity diet book or seen the latest and they’re convinced that this diet—this latest combination of foods, or a certain prescribed eating schedule, , or the strict avoidance of meat, wheat, sugar, white foods, blue foods, or foods beginning with the letter “g”–is going to be the breakthrough that releases the lean, mean physique they know is lurking in there somewhere. This is what the marketers want you to believe. Sadly, their success is solely based on the fact that over 90% of diets fail. And, you better believe that if you are a part of the majority in this statistic, and you find yourself back at squareone, those marketing gurus will be ready to sell you another bigger and better solution to your same problem. I can’t tell you how angry and frustrated this make me. I know people who have cut out entire food groups because they heard that Dr. So-and-So says that this is the root of the problem. Dr. So-and-So is only looking out for Mrs. Dr. So-and-So, and all the Little So-and-So’s that are running around LA somewhere…. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Don’t be a victim! Empower yourself, read REAL scientific studies and talk to your doctor (your REAL doctor, not one found on afternoon TV).

Here are a few real tips that I have gathered from REAL studies and articles.

1. Losing weight is easy (on paper). Calories in must be less than calories burned. Plain and simple math. This is why “food diaries” are so valuable to real weight loss. Here you are able to track the calories you consume and compensate them with workouts/activities – with the ultimate goal of achieving a calorie deficit at the end of the day. If you have a Smart Phone there are many FREE apps out there that can do this for you. My favorite is Lose It!. And if you do not have a Smart Phone, you can use this program on the Lose It! website on a computer.

2. Follow the 80/20 rule. Limit your intake of sweets, refined carbohydrates, and fried foods. It is not necessary, and actually may be detrimental, to completely eliminate these from your diet. There is no one out there that can be 100% good, 100% of the time. You can start off with the best intentions but more often than not, this plan backfires in a big way.

3. Don’t eat in front of the computer or television. This leads to “mindless eating”.

4. Eat fruits and veggies!!!! A lot of them! It is my personal philosophy that I can eat any veggie and any fruit whenever I want. We go through bunches and bunches of bananas and barrels of apples in my house. If I could have these fruits shipped to my door weekly by the truckload I would, and not a piece would go to waste. Cauliflower and broccoli are always cut up in my fridge with a Greek yogurt dip. Fruits and vegetables are full of water and fiber which fill you up and calm hunger pangs, not to mention all of the awesome minerals and vitamins that they pack!

5. Eat smaller portions, always. More often than not we take more than our body needs. Stop when you are full and don’t feel guilty when you don’t finish your plate. I don’t. This is why I have a dog 🙂

6. No soda or fruit juice! Cutting soda and calorie loaded fruit juices out of your diet can produce a dramatic weight loss in and of itself.

7. Don’t eat out. In my opinion, I don’t see the time saver here. You go and wait to be seated, wait to be fed, wait for the check…. and ultimately end up with who-knows-what in the food that you end up eating. I just assume grill me up a chicken breast on my handy-dandy Foreman Grill and open a bag of chopped lettuce and call it a night!

8. Start up a workout routine that you like. There are so many options out there right now – establishments that exist just to motivate you and get you moving. Join a class. Buy or rent a DVD. Start a run/walk group within your work. The point is to DO something instead of EATING something.

9. My least favorite “rule” – stop at one glass of wine or cocktail…. whatever….. 😉

10. This one is interesting, and I think could be the most important of them all – “Think like the person you want to be”. Simply, picture yourself as you ultimately want to be. What activities do you think this person does on a regular basis? What foods does this person eat? What does a typical day in this person’s life look like? Skip the dieting all together and go right to living the life that you envision. The very same things that you’d need to do to maintain that healthy weight are the things you need to do to get there in the first place.

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