If years of yo yo dieting have left you feeling totally desperate and you still believe that the next amazing diet will be "The one." Unfortunately you are kidding yourself and false hope syndrome is taking over!
Constantly dieting with weight fluctuating leaves people feeling desperate and constantly searching for the next new weight loss regime. In January many people will embark on yet another diet. Only to find several weeks down the line they have failed yet again!
In this blog I will discuss issues around the dieting industry and why dieting does not work for the majority of people. Dieting can cause both physical and psychological distress to your body, cause hormonal disruption upset your metabolism and cost you a lot of money!
Some interesting stats!
Every 15 seconds "How to lose weight" is entered into google.
55% of adults in the UK are trying to lose weight.
19 days is the average time people stick to a diet.
The UK dieting industry is worth an estimated £2bn a year.
Research suggests that roughly 80% of people who shed a significant portion of their body fat will not maintain that degree of weight loss for 12 months; and, according to one meta-analysis of intervention studies, dieters regain, on average, more than half of what they lose within two years. In my book that's not successful weight loss.
The dieting industry gives people False hope- If you look at adverts for weight loss foods, weight loss diets, weight loss clubs, they all show blue skies, happy smiley people skipping along holding hands often with a little cute dog. Making you believe that if you lose weight you will be happy. Losing weight may well make you happier but it will not improve your job, your children's behaviour will not miraculously change for the better. You will not have blue skies and sunshine wherever you go.
The consequences of repeated dieting may cause weight fluctuations, mood swings, irritability and fatigue. Plus, a constant obsession with food. The overconfidence at the start of every new diet quickly diminishes with the restrictions diets set. On top of this, the stress on the body that dieting causes (both physical and psychological) can have a profound effect on metabolism, hormonal dysregulation and nutrient depletion which can lead to weight management issues! With weight loss goals focussed on a magic number- the number of calories and the number on the scales- numbers that have been made up by humans to make other humans miserable!
Recent events with the Covid pandemic have shown that people who are obese- a BMI above 35 have up to a 40% greater chance of complications and death if they catch Covid! There is now even more pressure for people to diet and lose weight.
BUT. Dieting still does not work!
There are many reasons for this and I hope to share with you here some tools and strategies to help you (if you want to lose weight) to move away from calorie counting and weighing to looking at a long term health and vitality strategy.
I have already discussed Last Supper syndrome in a previous blog post
Key success strategies for weight loss management.
Losing weight is easy- restrict, restrict, restrict. Its managing and maintaining weight loss that many people find difficult. So here are some tools that may help.
1) Plan your meals and not your calories! Plan to eat amazing nutritious food., Don't just focus on calories.
Very often yo yo dieters have chaotic eating patterns. Often skipping meals or leaving no time to prepare and eat nutritious food and so grabbing whatever they can or getting a take away.
Use a shopping list. Include in the plan foods that you love.
Plan to serve and eat your meals mindfully focussing on the food.
Having structure to daily meals.
Planning what you eat just as you would plan:
A Project at work
An Evening out
In my opinion planning what you are feeding your amazing body is essential.
2) Problem solving
Educate yourself about nutrition not about calories. I support and coach my clients on the fuel we call food for the amazing machine called the Human body. Providing them with Knowledge about nutrition not just about calories. Knowledge is power. It will help you gain control over your food rather than allowing your food to control you.
What are you problems?
Finding out initially what the key health problems are often has nothing to do with calories.!
do you always crave sweet things at 4pm?
do you miss breakfast because you get up late.?
Are you over fed but under nourished?
Do you have Leaky gut?
Does you need additional liver support?
Are you perimenopausal?
Who are your supporters ?- For my clients I am their number 1 supporter.
Who are your saboteurs? You will have them and you will not even know!
What pitfalls and obstacles are you likely to encounter on your journey?
Most weight loss diets treat the symptoms- weight gain rather than the cause and the cause is not always what you think it may be!
By using nutrition to help you with not only your weight issues but other health problems such as gastrointestinal and skin health, hormonal issues and stress and finding the underlying cause rather than just treating the symptoms the chances are you will not need to carry on yo yo dieting for the rest of your life.
3) Make small changes
This is all about habits and looking at your goal- If your goal is to lose weight take some time to stand back and observe your behaviour.
Is your behaviour congruent to your end goal?
Tiny daily habits that you do not even think about can be linked with long term outcomes. Habits take time to embed and so rather than embarking on another restrictive diet which gives so many changes that you set yourself up to fail before you have even started, begin small and once one change has been embedded start on another.
4) Having no specific weight goal
Most weight loss diets have weight loss as an end goal and celebrate this.
Rather than celebrating weight loss, look at celebrating the behaviour changes you have made and celebrate with something totally unrelated to food or drink. We put too much emotion onto the food we eat rather that treating it as fuel.
I have not added an image here as all the ones I looked at when I searched the word "celebrate" were linked to food or drink. Interesting!
5) Always have breakfast
Research suggests that most successful weight management strategies include a good protein based breakfast. Ditch the cereal bars, ditch the weight loss shakes, ditch the special diet club breakfast cereals. Have a good breakfast that you can enjoy and that is naturally nutritious.
6) Change lifestyle to move more
This can be difficult for many people especially those with sedentary jobs. Its not about blasting it out at the gym or running a marathon but increased daily movements - using the upstairs loo or the one furthest away, walking, dancing like no one is watching, housework gardening, chopping logs!
6) Have a very nutritionally dense diet full of natural foods.
Many people over the world are over fed but undernourished. Those who are avid dieters are regularly in this category. Restricting nutritious foods for diet drinks and diet shakes and diet meals and diet bars. All full of additives and chemicals. - But only x number of calories!!!!!!!
Eating natural foods with natural fats, and bright coloured fresh fruit and vegetables with good sources of protein and avoiding manufactured foods that we have been told we need is a great way to reduce cravings as well as over time gradually lose weight.
7) Look at your sleep hygiene too. It has been estimated that the hormones leptin
( the satiety hormone) and Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) which control hunger and appetite are in-balanced in poor sleep. Sleep deprived people have been shown to consume more energy and motivation to exercise and move decreases.
8) Watch your portions
In Ayurvedic medicine, the sister science of yoga it is suggested that meals should be the size of your cupped hands. That massive bowl of pasta for dinner is great if you intend to run a 3 hour marathon. Your body does not require so much energy for 3 hours in front of a marathon of box set viewing.
There is so much more to weight loss and weight loss management than can be covered here. It is not just calorie counting. It is a combination of slow steps of behaviour change with attitude change to the food we eat. Being prepared to take on board knowledge and understanding of the amazing human body and looking realistically at long term strategies rather than quick fixes.
If you would like more information on how I can work with you to achieve optimal health and wellbeing and remove constant dieting from your lifestyle, book a discovery call and start the journey to being your own Hero.