When I was younger, I always equated dieting with a healthy lifestyle.
I thought diet foods were health foods.
I thought it was healthy to restrict my calories or severely limit food groups.
I thought feeling deprived and hungry were normal and the way it had to be in order to be fit and healthy.
It never occurred to me, until recently, that the things I was doing to my body to lose weight weren’t healthy and were actually detrimental to my health.
And not just physically detrimental, but mentally and emotionally detrimental.
Constantly hopping from diet to diet left me feeling guilty about what I ate. It lead me to feel frustrated and even depressed when I couldn’t stick to the diet program. I thought about food constantly. I felt deprived and often would binge between diets. I even started wondering if there was something wrong with me.
Even a Fitness Trainer Struggles
After all, I was a fitness trainer. I had the knowledge around “eating right” but even then I couldn’t seem to stick to the latest diet program long enough to get or keep the results I wanted.
But little did I know, the reason I struggled is because what I was doing wasn’t healthy and just knowing what to do isn’t always enough. I was fighting my body’s natural inclination for healthy foods and ample calories it need for fuel. I also didn’t have mindset strategies in place to deal with emotions around food and tempting situations.
For instance, diet foods are often full of artificial sweeteners, colors, refined sugars, or artery clogging hydrogenated oils. They fill your body with toxins and are void of nutrients. They leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
Severely restricting calories may seem like the best way to drop pounds, but going too low on calories actually causes you to gain weight in the long run. It can also interfere with necessary hormones that regulate fat burning, feelings of hunger, or feelings of fullness. This leads to weight gain and confusing signals form your body about when to eat or how much to eat.
Furthermore, counting calories, protein, carbs, and fat becomes a chore and a very time consuming pain in the ass.
Limiting food groups leaves your body starved for necessary nutrients. Nutrients your body needs to grow, repair, keep you feeling energetic and looking young, as well as vitamins and minerals your body needs just to function properly. So of course, you’re going to feel deprived and have cravings!
However, when you feed your body properly, you shouldn’t be hungry and you definitely shouldn’t feel deprived. Because when you feel deprived you eventually give up and overeat unhealthy foods. This leads to feelings of guilt, unhappiness, and even depression.
And not only are these things detrimental to your health, but often the weight comes right back (with a few extra pounds as well) after the diet program. So even if you found some weight loss success, it never lasts for very long.
So the biggest mistake that I made around dieting was thinking that dieting strategies were healthy!
That DIETING was a healthy lifestyle.
I Was Wrong!
I was wrong and I was mislead.
And chances are you have been mislead too, but it’s not your fault.
On a daily basis we are:
- Mislead by companies that encourage instant results, rather than lasting results.
- Mislead by companies and individuals that are more interested in making money than your health and wellbeing.
- Mislead by research that is backed by those very companies. Companies that pay researchers to “find” specific results to back up their claims.
- Mislead by marketing that is deceiving and confusing.
- Taught to be instantly gratified by magic pills or diets that keep weight off temporarily, rather than taught how to create habits that keep the weight off FOREVER.
And it’s all beyond confusing!!!
The truth is that half of those on a diet gain the weight back after a year.
And according to Baumeister and Tierney in their book Willpower: Discovering the Greatest Human Strength, going on a weight loss diet, is actually a significant predictor of weight gain.
Turn It Around
What I’ve learned is that dieting, deprivation, and restriction are not healthy, nor is it sustainable or the way to go if you want long lasting results. The cycle of frustration and guilt are not worth it, and better yet, you can still get the same results with healthy strategies that leave you feeling good about yourself!
So you’re at your computer reading this post.
You get that you’ve been mislead by the media and marketing companies.
And now you know that dieting isn’t equated with being healthy or doing something good for your body.