Today, is the day. It’s the day when more than 45 million people resolve to lose weight in the New Year. In every article on losing weight I have come across in the past week either promises weight loss or blames you for not losing weight. The ten mistakes you are making when trying to lose weight. It’s interesting because we are so quick to blame the person who can’t lose weight rather than the notion that losing weight and keeping it off isn’t supported by research. 95% of diets fail and weight gain happens within 3-5 years.
Truth be told our bodies fight back against weight loss. Our bodies don’t understand we are intentionally trying to eat less, they just know it’s “not enough.” So, our bodies do what they are meant to do in times of starvation (yes, dieting is starvation in the eyes of the body) and try to conserve energy.
I usually describe it like this…it’s our bodies safety mechanism for survival. If you were hiking in the woods by yourself and hurt your ankle. You could survive in the woods with just water for at least 3 days. The reason being the body recognizes starvation and slows down the metabolism. The problem lies in being the body knows it can live longer preserving fat and so it holds onto fat for fuel while burning muscle as a fuel source. Do you see the long term problem here? Muscle drives our metabolism, so burning it for fuel only slows down our metabolism. On top of that the body fights the restrictions and deprivation by kicking in hormones to crave high energy food. Yup, that is why you crave those chocolates, ice cream, chips, and fried foods when you are dieting.
Now, you eat more because your body is hungry. The only problem is your body is confused and you are eating all the food you restricted. Your body is trying to renourish you and that means gaining weight.
While I don’t support the biggest loser, the research that has come out the show says it all. Check out this study, it shows even six years after the show almost all the participants have regained their weight AND their metabolisms are still slower than when they started the program!
In a nut shell, our body fight against restrictions! It’s not your fault or your lack of will power.
This can be hard to swallow when all you’ve done your whole life is try to change your body to be smaller or if you have been trying to fit into what society considers a “normal” size body. Believe me, even as a dietitian it’s hard to swallow. I mean let’s get real, my job title even has the word diet in it (“diet”titian).
It’s important to just sit with your thoughts before you make your next move.
When you’ve decided to reject the diet mentality, you will need support. This support can come in the form of books, podcasts, and even counseling. You can check out my last blog post on How to Start a life without Dieting for all my recommendations to get started!
What will you get accomplished if you aren’t spending your precious brain space and your free time on dieting, counting calories or excessively exercising? Will it free up space to enjoy more time with your family, start a new hobby or even enjoy food more?
Please let me know by commenting below, I look forward to joining the conversation too!