Everyone’s saying it: “Don’t make it a diet, make it a lifestyle”.
The health and beauty industry is lucrative, making billions feeding on our insecurities – hide your grey hairs, remove wrinkles, lose weight to boost confidence, to find your prince charming, and to maybe even become a millionaire. However, they also understand that some people are fed up with diets and their high failure rate. In fact, it looks like long-term weight loss fails in 50-95% of dieters, with many regaining more than what they originally lost.
If we look closely at one study called the LOOK AHEAD trial, people lost about 6% of their body weight after 8 years, which was about 6 lbs. They were followed by a dietitian, psychologist, and exercised. They did everything we promote for weight loss; eat less, move more. They did initially lose more weight, but gained some weight after the first year. All that work for a 6lbs weight loss. 6lbs! Other studies show similar results.
Is it worth it?
Let me work it
I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it (shoutout to Missy E!)
Does this mean you can’t lose more than that? No. But I can’t guarantee I can help you do that. No one can actually. I wish I had better news. I wish I had the miracle cure. I can understand it’s easier to change ourselves than to change our environment. It’s like someone wanting to change their ethnic, difficult-to-pronounce name in America so they get fewer comments.
Rebranding: Instead of creating new diets, companies (and coaches) are now rebranding their diets as “lifestyle changes” to lure more people in. Consumers are more likely to try a something called a lifestyle change rather than a diet.
That new lifestyle change that asks to cut sugar = DIET. Controlling hunger = DIET. Smaller portion sizes = DIET. No eating after 8pm = DIET.
What are signs of diets in disguise?
Below are some examples of diets, even if the companies don’t give them that name. But remember, anything that ignores your hunger and fullness cues, sets rules, promises quick weight loss, or doesn’t fit with your life (financial, social, cultural, etc.) is a diet or pseudo-diet.
- Counting calories/protein/carbs/fats/steps
- Eating before or after a certain time
- Compensating for eating a food that doesn’t fit your plan
- Constantly judging your choices
- Eating only low-fat or low-calorie foods
- Certain foods aren’t allowed at all or only in certain quantities
- Cutting down portions (what if you’re still hungry?)
- Fearing any food
- Basing your choices are whether they will help you lose weight
- Anything that causes stress around food or the eating experience
I can already hear some of you saying “I do this and enjoy it, there’s nothing wrong with this”. And you’re right. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. I just want to show that this might not be suitable for everyone. You always need to follow something you enjoy.
The only thing I want you to consider is, do you enjoy this because you’re doing something good and feel accomplished, or do you genuinely enjoy what and when you’re eating because it’s nourishing, gives you energy, improves your mood, doesn’t make you feel deprived, lets you attend all social events, fits your budget, and reduces stress?
What can I do now?
Plain and simple: invest in something that will make you feel better about yourself, not worse. I want you to feel good in your skin. I want you to have more confidence, more self-esteem. I want you to be in charge of your body. I want to empower you by providing you with the information to navigate our diet-culture centered world for you to be able make decisions that’ll improve your well-being. In turn, you will be able to empower your daughter, sister, neighbor, colleague – everyone around you!
I use an intuitive eating and weight-neutral approach, which I have outlined here and here, as well as on my Facebook page and Instagram.
Eating shouldn’t be an added stress to our already stressful lives. What do you think?
For more info about the Look ahead trial and other diet-related info, head on over to this document created by Fiona Willer and Louise Adams. It’s a great read, I highly suggest it!