When we hear the word diet we often think of food deprivation, bland meals and unpleasant periods of semi-starvation. Thinking like this is completely wrong as a diet does not have to mean any of the above. Throughout this article you will learn how you can replace this way of thinking with a sustainable long-term healthy eating plan allowing you to eat normal foods without restricting yourself and learn the reasons why diets do not work.
There are many fad diets out there and each is said to be able to help every single one of us, but what they do not take into consideration is how we are all physiologically different and how all of our bodies need different foods and requirements. This may explain how you and your friend have both been following the same diet but she has managed to loose 10lbs and you only 2lbs.
When a calorie restricted diet is followed over a prolonged period of time your body will go into famine mode and start to hold onto the calories that you eat and the stored body fat. It can even start eating into its own muscles for fuel (becoming catabolic). Chronic under eating tends to lead to binge eating and feeling bloated. Bloating often happens after a binge eating session as your body has consumed foods it is not used to, alongside the increase in volume. Shocking the body like this is not sustainable.
A diet is often perceived as a quick fix and something you can dip in and out of when you want to lose weight for a certain event or time of year. Ultimately most people think that these diets are unsustainable as they are not suitable to be followed over a prolonged period of time. The most efficient change you can make is in experimenting and finding out what will work for you, eliminating any foods that cause you irritation and monitoring your calories in and calories out. Be sure to add in lots of protein, good fats, vegetables and salad. Don’t forget that you can also have treats, but in moderation.
Don't turn your treat into a daily habit - it is not a treat then!
Many of us have to come think that “diet foods” are the best and most effective way to lose weight. In fact they may even be hindering your weight loss progress as these low fat, fat free products are all highly refined and processed containing virtually no nutrients whatsoever, so aim to avoid these wherever possible.
The cycle of deprivation and binge eating mentioned earlier can lead to weight gain and not weight loss, so you could become your own worst enemy. The most effective way to find a sustainable plan is to find real foods that are nutrient dense helping to keep you fuller for longer and aiding your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function.
Promote unhealthy relationship with food:
Following a calorie-restricted diet and depriving yourself of foods which you deem to be bad can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, leading to cycles of deprivation and binge eating. The most important point to take on board here is to focus on eating good fats, proteins and vegetables allowing nutrient dense foods to nourish your body, helping you to build a good relationship with proper food.
When restricting calories your body will become stressed and a unfavourable hormonal environment can be created. Changes such as raised cortisol levels, thyroid dysfunction, impaired detoxification and altered energy production can make it much more difficult for you to burn fat and lose weight.
Using functional medicine testing (which we offer at pH Nutrition) you can identify where and what is affecting your metabolism. FIND OUT MORE HERE.
For all of the reasons above it is suggested that following a “diet” is not the best way to lose weight and become healthy, in fact following a sustainable life-long healthy eating programme is.
Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
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