I spent my 20’s yo yo dieting.
I have tried them all, the Dukan diet, low carb, low fat, raw food, a strict diet with powders and calorie restriction from the Naturopath and more! And they all worked. In fact I believe that almost all diets can help you lose weight in the short term. But if you can’t maintain the weight loss long term then did the diet really work?
Now looking back it amazes me how I always gave the diet the credit for the weight I lost and then blamed myself for the weight I regained. And I know there are many others out there that can relate. Failing to lose weight or regaining weight again over and over again is crushing to your self-esteem. I know!
So why don’t diets work?
Researchers at UCLA reviewed 31 long-term studies on the effectiveness of dieting and concluded that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of weight gain. Up to two thirds of people regain more weight that they lost. So why doesn’t dieting work?
You Try To Use Willpower Instead of Working With Your Biology
If I experienced a craving or ate more than I thought I should it would be my fault. I should’ve been stronger. I should have been able to resist. But what if we think of cravings as information from our bodies and instead of using willpower we start to think about what our body might really be asking for? Are you tired? Stressed? Bored? Do you need some fresh air? A different perspective? See if you can work with your body to give it what its actually asking for. It’s amazing how much this shift in perspective can significantly reduce a craving or take some of the stress out of eating.
Also there are powerful biological processes that are set up in your body to help prevent starvation and so diets can lead to increased hunger and decreased metabolism. You can only hold your breath for so long and likewise you can only diet for so long.
So instead? Drop the guilt and eat more food (as long as it’s real food). Think about what you are really hungry for and work on stress.
You Have An All Or Nothing Mentality
This was a big one for me, I used to think if I didn’t have an hour or two to work out in the gym then I wouldn’t exercise at all. If I slipped up with some chocolate then I’d ruined the whole week. Better start again Monday.
But that’s not how it works.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
In fact it’s the everyday actions that determine your health, not the things that happen every now and then. So live by the 90-10 rule – 90% real and healthy food and 10% for indulgences. And remember that guilt is not a vitamin so avoid it and enjoy your 10%.
Also move whenever you can. Walk as many steps in a day as you can, get small amounts of exercise whenever you can. It all adds up!
Just choose one new healthy habit per week or even per month and make them small. Twelve small maintainable new habits after a year would lead to massive results so take your time and start with changes you can sustain. You need to see your diet as a lifestyle change not a temporary fix. Work on accepting where you are now as you move towards the future you want. It’s the only way to actually get the results you want.
You Have No Plan, Support or Accountability
Most of us know things that we should be doing to help us get closer to our health goals. But it’s the following through and actually doing these things that get results. And everyone is different. What works for someone else might not work for you. Set yourself up to win with an achievable plan, support & accountability to actually meet your goals. You don’t have to do it alone. Losing weight is hard and it takes time. So do it in a way that is sustainable so you don’t have to go through it all again. Set up your environment for success. Jim Rohn once said “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” and this is relevant to your health too. So join an online community or get together with some friends to walk instead of that coffee and cake and start making fun changes that turn into lifelong health habits.
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To your health