Do you ever cringe at the word "diet"? It's like a gremlin that follows you around and takes away your fun, right? How many times have you tried to diet and either gave up or just didn't see results? Well, you're not alone. The weight loss industry is a 20 billion dollar industry, with 108 million people on a diet, and most attempting to diet 5 times per year. Yet we are still overweight and self-conscious. It's a confusing world out there, and to make it worse, we are thrown into the overcomplicated mess of diets with obscure names. The Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Ketogenic Diet, Whole 30, Paleo, 21 Day Fix, Vegan, Vegetarian, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Blood Type Diet, Low-carb, Low-fat, eat all the fat, high protein, IIFYM, you name it. Diets are everywhere. Along with these diets are a plethora of exercise programs such as Beachbody, yoga, crossfit, bodybuilding, Bikini Body Guide, yada yada yada.
So what gives?? Shouldn't we all be ripped by now??
You would think, but nope. Instead of being fit and healthy, we are overweight and confused, and I totally get it. Each of these programs contradict each other. One says not to eat carbs or you'll get fat and die, one says you can eat whatever you want as long as it "fits your macros", one is based around exact portion control, one says to eat avocados all day while another says to eat cabbage soup all day. Now let's look at the similarities, they are all restrictive, extreme, intense, and constrained to a certain amount of time. Yikes. If it sounds tough, it's because it is!
You may start to think that you're not losing weight because you're not doing it right, or you aren't working out hard enough, or your need to eat even less, or maybe that you just don't have the willpower! Girl, you've gotta have a whole lot of willpower to even consider going on a dreaded diet, so we know that's not the problem.
So why isn't your diet working?
1. Deprivation and restriction can lead to a cycle of under-eating, feeling starving, and then bingeing. Overly restrictive diets can put your body in starvation mode. Your body is smart, but it doesn't know the difference between an elective diet, and famine. All it knows is that it's not getting enough energy to support itself, so it holds onto every calorie (aka energy) that it can in order to survive, leading to weight gain.
2. Diets don't create sustainable change. They typically are short-term, 90 days seems to be the magic number, they don't teach you what to do when the 90 days are up. They are also very surface level. To make lasting change, you must look into your deep rooted beliefs, patterns, and behaviors.
3. They emphasize the wrong type of motivation. These diets and exercise programs typically focus on your outward appearance. This is called extrinsic motivation, and it's very short-lived. To see true change you need to establish an emotional connection by shifting your mindset toward deep rooted intrinsic motivation.
4. Restricting calories increases grehlin, the hunger hormone. The increase in grehlin means you're going to be more hungry, making your diet less sustainable, and making you more prone to over-eating. Ghrelin is also responsible for synthesizing fat cells-you know, those pesky things you're trying to get rid of! So an increase in grhelin means greater capability of storing fat.
5. When you experience is sudden drop in body fat your levels of leptin decrease. Leptin tells you that you're full. So when you have a reduced ability to know when you're full, you over-eat.
6. Dieting causes stress. Stress causes the secretion of cortisol. Cortisol is the fat-storing hormone. You may not feel stressed, but your body is stressed because it's being stretched thin. You're forcing it to work just as hard with less fuel. So in attempt to reduce the stress, it stores fat to use as an energy backup.
The research shows that diets don't work. so why do you keep torturing yourself? In the next blog post you will read about mindful eating (aka intuitive eating), so you can learn how to lose weight and achieve your goals without ever counting a calorie again.