Discover The Truth About Dieting (And Why It Doesn’t Work)Dec 28, 2022
Ever participated in a fad diet? You probably have. There are a lot of them out there. The problem is, they don’t actually help you reach your goals.
Why Diets Fail ❌
Fad diets are easy to fall into. Maybe you’ve been there yourself. You hear about a great diet from a friend or online, and you can’t wait to try it. Maybe this will be the one that finally answers all your questions and gives you the body you want. You try it, but realize that even if you could stick with it (which is incredibly hard to do), it’s not actually giving you the results you want. In the long run, you either wind up right back where you started, or hate your life because you only have four things you’re allowed to eat.
This struggle isn’t uncommon. We’ve all been there at some point. It’s sad, after months of planning and logging your food and limiting what you eat, to wind up either back where you started, or unhappy. You get to the end of a diet, and either have very little to show for it, or lose weight only to gain it back in a few months or years.
Some people just start another diet if they gain the weight back, but this is a bad idea for two reasons. First, following a lose-gain-lose cycle is unhealthy for your body. Your weight fluctuating that much can cause serious health issues nearly as bad as obesity. Second, the mental strain of following diet after diet takes its toll on every area of your life. The bigger question is, why follow a fluctuating weight cycle when you can enjoy a lifetime of health, and not hate everything you put in your mouth? While this might sound impossible, it really isn’t. We’ll take a look at why below.⬇︎
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The Ugly Truth About Weight Loss 🙀
Here’s the thing about using weight as a health metric—it’s a bad metric.
Weight certainly has a role to play in your health. The problem is when we use weight as the standard for if we’re healthy or not. For example, say your doctor says you need to gain a few pounds because you’re underweight. It sounds like the solution is to simply add on a few pounds, and you’re good to go. But what if you proceed to consume exclusively candy bars and milkshakes? I can guarantee you’ll put on some weight, but it should be obvious that the “how” matters.
The same goes for how we lose weight.
Shedding a few pounds feels good, but the two questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Is the method I’m using to lose weight sustainable?
- Is the method I’m using to lose weight healthy?
And this is why diets fail. Most diets don’t offer a long-term solution for weight management, and they don’t help you lose weight in a way that is natural for your body.
Despite these facts, as humans we’re attracted to quick, novel solutions to problems, and diets fill the bill perfectly. They promise incredible results in record time, and appear to deliver on that promise—until we take a closer look.
One other thing we can’t forget is that there’s a multi-billion dollar industry driving diet trends and taking advantage of this quirk in human nature. The marketing around diets isn’t neutral. The industry is pushing fad diets, and pushing them hard, regardless of the negative side effects.
Health Risks Of Dieting 🤒
Let’s zoom in closer to some of the downsides of dieting.
Fad diets aren’t the natural way to lose or maintain weight.
Diets can lead to hormonal imbalances from the stress of starving your body and the mental strain of meticulously tracking your food. Your body likes gradual. Your body likes safe. When you take away the food it needs to function, you force your system into survival mode, and each pound you shed comes at a price to your health and well-being.
Here are some physical health risks of dieting:
- Loss of normal system function as your body enters survival mode
- Faster weight gain down the road
- Irregular, fragmented sleep
The body was made to do things gradually. A quick burst of anything can have adverse effects. Weight loss is no exception. Losing a large amount of weight in a short time is a serious stressor on the body, and can put it into survival mode. For all it knows, you’re starving to death, and it needs to be extra careful to conserve energy to help you survive. In this situation, your body often slows your natural, healthy functions while it tries to pull you out of emergency mode. As mentioned above, your sleep and future weight are often the biggest victims of this process.
On a psychological level, the mental adverse effects of dieting can be even worse than the physical. First, the mental strain of following a diet on top of everything else going on in your life takes a toll. Dieting is hard work no matter what commercials say, and it takes your attention away from other areas of life that may honestly be more important.
Second, when there’s a list in your mind of what you can’t eat (and it’s a long list), not only will you find yourself drawn to the foods on that list (because that’s human nature), but you’ll feel guilty any time you even think about eating any of those foods. Shame and guilt will be your constant companions as you try to navigate this new diet and avoid the meals you enjoy.
Diets Are Never A Long-Term Solution ⌛️
When weight loss is the focus of a diet, it’s automatically doomed to fail. Why? Because there’s only so much weight you can lose before it becomes unhealthy. Say you reach that “perfect” weight. Now what? Diets that just focus on helping you lose weight don’t have what it takes to help you manage weight, which is truly what’s important.
Consistency is one of the most foundational principles of life. To build something truly incredible takes time, effort, and thought (think a magnificent building, a thriving marriage, an Olympic athlete). Important things are worth putting the time and effort into. And your health is one of those important things.
To avoid simply losing weight, we need to change the way we think about diets, and how we interact with them.
If Fad Diets Don’t Work, What Do I Do Instead? 🤔
If we ditch diets, how do we manage our weight and reach our health goals? Here are two things to focus on moving forward.
Change Your Mindset About Dieting 🤯
The first thing to remember about your diet is that it’s part of your life. A quick, drastic change in what you eat may help you lose a few pounds, but it leaves your body traumatized and more vulnerable to weight gain down the road. A longer, more gradual journey is a more guaranteed option for healthy, sustainable weight management. This isn’t about a quick fix, because your health isn’t a little problem. It’s an incredible machine that needs to be managed, maintained, and invested in over its entire lifetime in order to function at its peak.
This is a big shift from what the culture is telling us, but if we look at the stats, it’s clear that fad diets don’t solve our health problems in the long-term, and that something more sustainable is needed to give us the results we’re looking for. Here’s where a Lifestyle Diet comes in.
Lifestyle Diet 🙂
A lifestyle diet is a longer-term, sustainable nutrition plan that you can follow indefinitely. It encompasses a wide range of foods, and focuses more on ingredients and eating a balanced diet than hyper focusing on certain foods that will only help you lose weight, but disregard the rest of your health. A lifestyle diet is about choices and lifestyle habits that will give you great results year after year. To sum up, a lifestyle diet isn’t really a diet. It’s normal, everyday eating that focuses on changing how we interact with food on a fundamental level.
The goal is to find delicious foods and ingredients that support your health instead of tearing it down. Then, you couple this healthy diet with a Movement Mindset, healthy lifestyle habits that support hard work, lots of fun, and relationships, and you focus on living it out day by day for the long haul. It’s not quick. It’s not extreme. It just works. No more jumping from fad diet to fad diet. For maybe the first time, you can settle into a healthy, enjoyable relationship with food that will last your lifetime.
Weight Management Vs. Weight Loss ⚖️
As we’ve talked about above, the diet industry focuses exclusively on weight loss. However, losing weight is like taking out a loan. It’s a temporary solution that can often leave you worse off down the road. Managing your weight is like working to build a steady income stream. It’s harder to do up front, but the payoff is much higher over the long-term, and it gets easier and easier the longer you do it.
Long-Term Solutions 🏆
There are a number of factors to consider when trying to reshape your lifestyle into a healthier, more sustainable model. Each is a major subject on its own, but here are a few highlights from the top 4 to focus on to get you started with your new lifestyle.
- Food: What you eat plays a huge role in your long-term health. Diet is the single biggest factor to consider when trying to manage your weight. The key here is to make sure you’re eating healthy, real food at least 80% of the time. With that 80% as a foundation, you can enjoy the other 20% of less healthy food on special occasions or weekends without feeling guilty. Your now healthy body can handle the occasional less than ideal meal, and largely neutralize the normal negative side effects. But again, it will take 80% of your time eating healthy, real food and getting plenty of rest and exercise to counteract the odd fast food meal or large serving of surgery dessert. (If you want to learn more about this 80/20 rule of a healthy lifestyle, check out our blog on staying healthy while traveling here).
- Exercise: Exercise or movement is another critical factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Leading a sedentary life dramatically increases your chances for major diseases, and lowers your body’s ability to utilize the healthy food you’re eating. Having a Movement Mindset allows you to turn everyday activities into mini workouts, which gives your body the extra support it needs to function at its peak.
- Mindset: Changing your mindset from diet quick fixes to a longer term lifestyle change isn’t easy. Anything you take on for the long haul requires focus, intentionality, and a healthy dose of perseverance. Hopefully what you’ve read above has given you the information and inspiration you need to make this vital change, but sometimes it’s hard to make a positive decision and stick with it. Especially a few weeks or months from now when fad diets come knocking on your door with renewed promises of quick and easy weight loss. Staying strong requires a steady diet of ideas and material that supports your decision, and reminds you of the many benefits of why you chose this harder, but more healthy path. Sticking with your decision is also much easier when you immerse yourself in a community that supports your lifestyle direction.
- Community: Finding a community that has discovered the same truths you have and wants to move in a healthier direction will be key to you sticking it out for the long-term. The fastest way to stop your health journey before it begins is to surround yourself with people who are obsessed with dieting and quick fixes instead of long-term solutions that require more time and effort to enjoy. By finding the right community, you’ll automatically be upping your chances of success, and will feel more supported and excited as you move forward.
Change Your Lifestyle Habits And Get The Lifestyle You Want 🎯
The way you build the life you want is to implement habits that will get you there. That’s easier said than done, and that’s the journey each of us is on.
Every habit starts with a decision, and continues by making the right follow-up decisions every day. This is a lot easier when you have a community surrounding you that supports your choices and encourages the lifestyle and habits you’ve chosen.
To start down this path, make your first step to start eating healthy meals each day. A few steps to help you do this are:
- Look into more of our blogs, or other blogs online that outline good, wholesome foods and ingredients
- Make a list of the healthy foods that appeal most to you, and that you could incorporate most easily into your diet
- Slowly start replacing the less healthy foods in your fridge and pantry with more nutritious options that will give you more energy and support your body
- Make these foods more easily accessible than the less healthy options. Experiment with making large batches of healthy snacks that are easier to grab than chips or cookies from the store. Try making a batch of healthy cookies and leaving them out for you and your spouse to enjoy. (You can find 3 healthy comfort food ideas, including chocolate chip cookies, here that you can try in order to start shifting toward a more healthy lifestyle diet. You’ll also learn more about how to shift to healthier ingredients in the food you prepare.)
- Pay attention to the ingredients in the food you buy and eat, and grab more healthy options whenever possible
- Enjoy yourself. A lifestyle diet isn’t about depriving yourself of the joy of eating. It’s about going back to healthier options from an earlier time when people could eat almost whatever they wanted and still enjoy good health. So get the right food and ingredients in your house, and indulge in the endless line of meals you can enjoy, and still support your body and health.
Instead Of Yo-Yoing Through Life, Be Able To Predict Who You’ll Become
There’s no reason to keep drifting through life at the whim of the culture, or even your own impulses. You can choose what kind of person you want to be, and what you want to accomplish.
I know you’re the kind of person who wants to take good care of your body, and enjoy many meaningful years with your spouse and children. I know you’re the kind of person who’s willing to put in the work to accomplish that goal. You just need the right tools and support system.
By taking consistent action on what you know to be true, you can experience the kind of results you’ve only dreamed about, and leave the dabblers and band-aid solutions behind.
Take Action! 💥
🥕 Start by eating real food
🐾 Move a little more
👓 Take the Simple Fuel & Eats program
SUPPORT YOURSELF WITH THESE ITEMS
It’s time to flip the diet script. You don’t need to keep hopping from one diet to another. You can build something real that will last. You don’t need to dread dieting anymore, or obsess about every calorie you put in your mouth. From now on, you can enjoy eating, and be healthy while doing it. It just takes a mindset shift from short-term to long-term, and consistent action to make a Lifestyle Diet a reality.
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