I don’t recommend that you ever go on a diet. Does that make sense from a nutrition specialist? Yes, and most nutrition practitioners would agree. This doesn’t mean that we should be eating in an unhealthy way and expecting to feel great (you won’t).
It just means that going on a restrictive diet is NOT the best way to reach your goals. Sure, you can lose some weight on a diet, but the rates of keeping it off are dismal. So, stay with me and read on to learn what I recommend instead.
According to the 2014 Canadian Community Health Survey, over 5 million adults have obesity and according to the 2015 Canadian Health Measures Survey over 30% of them will require medical attention for diseases related to their weight.
One of the ways we have traditionally tried to address this issue is by going on a diet. However, in 2016 nearly half of Canadians went on a diet specifically to lose weight. And most of those people will regain more than two-thirds of the weight they lost within two years of losing it.
There’s no denying that today’s society doesn’t make it easy to be healthy with our fast-paced life and lots of convenient (but unhealthy) options available at a moment’s notice. But going on a diet isn’t the answer. Here’s why that is and what does work instead.
3 Reasons Diets Don’t Work
Restrictive diets that focus on reducing calories to lose weight quickly result in increased incidences of overeating. The human body registers food restriction as starvation, so after following a strict diet for an extended period, your body adjusts in a number of important ways.
- Once you reach your goal weight and go “off” your diet, your body sends you the signal to seek out extra food so that you don’t suffer from starvation again. This is the reason that the majority of people end up gaining their lost weight back.
- Restrictive diets lower your metabolic rate. This can result in dieting plateaus or the regaining of weight lost. This is the case even if you continue to restrict calories.
- Finally, restrictive diets that don’t include a mindset component will never keep you at your goal for long. There is an underlying belief-based reason that you gained the weight in the first place, and if that is not addressed, you will end up back where you believe you belong.
The mindset piece is the most important part of the process and the vast majority of people skip it. This is mostly because they are not aware of its importance and/or don’t have the support they need to work through it.
These are the main reasons why I don’t recommend that you ever go on a diet. And here is what I recommend you do instead.
What Actually Works
Getting told what to eat/not eat through a meal plan with recipes and shopping list is great, but it only scratches the surface of what you need to do to integrate a new way of eating into your life. You may have read that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. But to integrate that habit into your routines so that it doesn’t take any thinking and is second nature takes much longer. This article discussed a study that reveals that it takes up to 254 days to make that new habit second nature.
Those who are successful do the following:
- Set realistic expectations of the length of time that is needed and bumps along the road that will happen. They realize that this is not a diet, but instead a lifestyle shift.
- Get the support they need that aligns with their life philosophy (make sure you know what you need and find a provider that you can connect with to get it).
- Do the mindset work. This is without exception. When you are interviewing a coach, nutritionist etc., make sure you ask them what level of support they can provide you with on the mindset or if they can give you some referrals.
Would you like to learn more about how I work to see if it aligns with your goals and philosophy? Please book a free time to chat with me here.