We’ve all heard of the latest diet, right? “Lose weight in 10 days!,” “Cut out these 10 things,” “Count calories and only eat natural, gluten free, vegan, GMO free organic natural… blah blah blah.” It’s always the same thing: Eat this food and lose weight.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my past today, and one of the things that really gets to me is the fact that it seems impossible to stick to these “diets” for weight loss. In fact, I have seen a lot of stories (plus personal experience) that shows that starting fad diets may help for a few weeks, but after you fall off and go back to old habits, you end up weighing even more than before, and feeling even worse about yourself.
The issue there is the vicious cycle: Start diet, fail diet, gain weight, look worse, want to change, start diet… and the cycle continues.
But why do we keep giving up? Why do we feel like we are never going to improve because nothing works? Here’s my list of why diets always seem to fail:
1 – Diets tell us to eat less, count calories, and eat only certain things:
Look, we are trying to make a massive change in what we eat, our bodies are going to react negatively. If we decide to eat less calories than what our body is used to, we are going to be hungry. If we keep up with this diet, our bodies are going to feel starved for that much needed energy. We break down, we fail, we drive to the nearest buffet and stuff ourselves.
Eat when you’re hungry, but choose better options than a bag of chips or some cookies. Fresh fruit or nuts are always great. Also, don’t overdo it!
2 – We fear the word “fat” and look for low-fat alternatives:
Yes, the form of energy called “fat” is the same word we use to describe someone who is overweight, but that does not mean that fat in foods are what is making us fatter as a nation. We look at packages, like dairy, and see the fat content. We think “No way!” and put it down, then grab the nearest “low fat” chips.
Truth is.. there are much worse things than fat in our diet that are really killing us, such as sugar and artificial sweeteners. Nuts, seeds, chicken and fish are great, filling foods that keep us going.
3 – Human nature is to look for instant gratification: We look to change our behavior in order to have a certain outcome, but we want it NOW. The problem with losing weight that we have gained over the years is that is takes time. In fact, it can even be dangerous to lose a lot of weight all at once anyway!
You have to train your brain. Success isn’t built overnight: it’s something you have to work towards and earn on your own.
4 – Mindset, mindset, mindset: If you are on a “diet,” then you are following someone else’s program, attempting to do so to the T. However, changing your diet in small, incremental ways are what we really need to be working on.
Maybe something small, like saving that bottle of soda for just the weekends instead of every day, or opting for water with your meals when you go to restaurants (at $2.50 a pop, it’s highway robbery anyway!).
Something like replacing cakes and ice creams at dessert for Greek yogurt and fresh fruit with chocolate granola..
It is the small changes, things that we can manage over time, and keep in our brain when we are offered something that we know are bad for out bodies, that improve our help.
Most of these concepts that I’m sharing are things that I’ve learned over the years of learning about health myths, and trying to get myself more healthy. I have adopted a few small habits that have helped me maintain stasis when I wasn’t going to the gym, so we will see where this takes us, now that I am working to be more active than before.
Remember that our bodies are the only ones we have, and we need to take care of them. As an obese individual myself, I couldn’t be considered the most credible source for weight loss advice, but I am aware of my problems, and I’m working towards a healthy lifestyle.
I have to.