Diets don’t work. Sure, you might lose some weight initially, but having it last longterm is unlikely. Weight loss programs often make steep claims, unrealistic promises and they do it at the expense of your health.
They frequently include low calorie diets that shift your body into starvation mode or complicated weight loss programs that make dinner time more of a math equation than a meal. Then there are the product-focused weight loss programs that work to sell you low-calorie, or low-fat diet foods leaving you not only low in calories but low in nutrients as well.
The truth is, your weight or the number on the scale, is not synonymous with whether or not you are healthy. Of course obesity and excess weight can contribute to chronic diseases and impact your health in various ways, but it’s more complex than that. Health is about the quality of food that you eat, how much water you drink and the way you move and think. Just making the numbers on the scale go down, isn’t enough.
Stop dieting, and make a lifestyle change instead. It’s definitely not the easy route. But it’s necessary for your health.
4 reasons most weight loss programs don’t work
1. The diets are unrealistic to maintain
A lot of weight loss programs include strict diet protocols that are unrealistic to maintain. In most cases you’re eating far less than a healthy normal caloric intake, or you’re having to count and calculate too much of your food. There’s two problems with this.
Firstly, if you’re not eating enough calories in a day, you’re going to be starving. If you feel hungry and deprived all the time, you won’t be able to maintain that style of eating. You’ll likely end up binging, overeating, or giving into unhealthy temptations.
Secondly, if eating every day becomes overcomplicated by planning, counting calories or calculating points, you’ll spend too much time stressing about what is okay to eat versus what isn’t. Doing this every day for every single meal is exhausting. You should be looking at food as nourishment and nutrition, not as math calculations and numbers.
2. They create a negative relationship with food
Unhealthy weight loss programs can contribute to negative relationships with food. Think about it. If you’re looking at food as good or bad and applying that same process to how you eat, your emotions become entangled with your eating habits. You may feel good or confident after eating foods that you’ve labelled as “good”. And you may feel negative, self-loathing, or depressed when you eat foods that are labelled as “bad”. The relationship becomes something of a punishment and reward mentality giving food power over your emotional state of mind and as well as your confidence levels.
3. You’ll slow your metabolism and gain weight longterm
Any weight loss program that cuts your calories down to the point where you are hungry all the time will shift your body into starvation mode and slow your metabolism. The slower your metabolism burns the more likely you are to gain weight longterm. Starvation is never the key to healthy weight loss. Instead you want to find ways to boost your metabolism, such as eating more frequent meals and exercising.
It’s also essential to remember that different people require different caloric intakes depending on their size. So while creating a calorie deficit is important for weight loss, getting there doesn’t have to mean eating an unhealthy range of calories for your body.
4. They create false expectations with no real results
Many weight loss programs like to make unrealistic promises to draw you in without ever following through on those results. The truth is, if you’re looking to lose weight, it’ll take time, hard work and consistency in your efforts. A quick diet to cut calories won’t provide lasting weight loss or the body transformation that you’re after.
Changing the way your body looks isn’t a one step process. It’s neither just about exercise, or just about what you eat. There’s a complex synergy between how you eat, move and think that deliver quality results in a healthy, achievable and lasting way. In short, a healthy weight loss journey involves a healthy lifestyle change.
What to do instead:
1. Eat smaller more frequent meals
Eating to feel nourished and satisfied is essential to seamlessly shifting your lifestyle. I recommend eating smaller more frequent meals to keep insulin levels stable. Insulin is an important hormone in your body that helps to balance and regulate your blood sugar control. Dips and spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels can affect your energy levels and contribute to food cravings, while too much insulin can contribute to fat storage. Eating more regularly can help to balance your blood sugar levels, and reduce cravings that would otherwise lead to over-eating or binge eating.
2. Set your mind on longterm results
Getting your mind on board with the goals you have for your body can help keep you motivated towards your results. Set your sights on achieving a maintain-able healthy lifestyle longterm, rather than short fixes which can lead to feelings of disappointment.
3. Exercise regularly
Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle is an important part of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Not only does it help to create the overall calorie deficit you need to lose weight, but it helps to build muscle, shape your body, and stimulate your metabolism.
If you tend to make a lot of excuses, try to find something that you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s group fitness, an at home workout program, or joining a sports team. There are countless ways to fit exercise into your new healthy lifestyle.
Love your #innerbabe
I don’t believe in fad diets, calorie counting or regimented eating styles. In my opinion, they’re unhealthy for both your body and mind. Adopting healthy habits is a form of self care, so to make it happen you need to love yourself.
Regardless of where your body is or what your goals are, the one thing that matters most is patience. It takes time to get to an unhealthy stage in your life, and it’ll take time to come back from it too. Self love doesn’t happen when you reach your ideal pant size, it should happen right now.
Join our inner babe community online to get motivated and feel supported by other like-minded women.
What has your biggest struggle been in your fitness journey? Tell us in the comments below.