Unraveling Diet Myths
Dieting is a multi-billion dollar industry. It seems that a large percentage of our population, male and female, young and old, are in constant search of a diet that will take weight off and keep it off.
If diets worked we would only ever have to use one diet, or one pill or one magic bar. Our worries would be over. We wouldn’t have to seek out new diets after we stopped our prior diet and gained back all our weight, and then some.
What’s going on? We are an intelligent society that understands that nutrition is important. We have all but eliminated hydrogenated fats from restaurant fare and we are all in agreement that cream filled pastries are not very good for us. Why is obesity at an all time high? Why are our kids developing type 2 diabetes before they reach puberty?
There are so many diets out there. Some limit or eliminate carbohydrates. Some tell you to eat for your blood type. Some demand that participants eat only pre-packaged meals. Do they work? Yes. But let me ask you this – if they worked to help you lose weight, why did you stop and then gain back the weight you were trying to lose in the first place? The answer is that diets are temporary. We make sacrifices for a short term thinking that when it’s over we can go back to our old ways. It doesn’t make much sense – spending all that money and depriving yourself temporarily so you can lose weight that you are eventually just going to put on again.
I know many people will practically starve themselves in order to lose weight quickly. They definitely do lose weight quickly. But you can only starve yourself for so long and then of course you become famished and once you finish your ‘diet’ you pour yourself into your skinny jeans. You go out for the night looking pretty darned good (even though you can’t breathe). You eat everything in sight. Chicken wings, fries, ribs, pizza. The next morning – well you know it’s not pretty. So my point is this – why did you go through all that? Just for one evening of tight jeans and high-fat food. I like chicken wings too but it just doesn’t seem worth it.
If you want to lose weight you need to resign yourself to the fact that it took longer than 2 weeks to pack on the pounds. Good nutrition is not a diet. It is a lifestyle – a lasting method of eating nutritious foods in sensible quantities. Coupled with exercise it is the only way to keep obesity at bay.
Diets can wreak havoc on your metabolism. When you starve yourself your body tries to protect you and slows down in order to conserve energy. Chronic dieters often complain that they eat less now than they ever did and yet their weight just keeps increasing.
Not a day goes by when I am not asked about the validity of some kind of diet. It seems that we are still clinging onto the mistaken belief that there is some diet out there that will miraculously and quickly disintegrate our fat and replace it with a firm, toned, fit and of course slender body.
If you have added exercise to your daily routine – congratulations. The majority of people would much rather not have to put actual physical work into losing weight and keeping it off. I believe this is the main reason we turn to diets – we would rather temporarily adjust our food choices and quantities than add work outs for the rest of our life. Let’s face it – they don’t call them ‘play’ outs!
Here are the facts: you can’t lose weight and then maintain your optimal weight by dieting alone. A diet has a beginning AND an end. Healthy and lasting weight loss can only be attained through proper nutrition and exercise as a lifestyle not a temporary fix. Proper nutrition consists of eating a balanced diet with correct portioning.
You will need to resign yourself to the fact that eating habits alone will not completely satisfy your healthy weight goals. People that don’t exercise but lose weight through portion control and eating healthily will not achieve good muscle tone or a healthy cardiovascular system. Exercise is absolutely paramount.
If you’re on board and you want to get started but you have never exercised, check with your doctor first. Start slowly and progressively build up both your cardio and your strength. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Go for a walk, and aim to build up to 30 minutes if possible. How often? Everyday! Try to perform a strength workout two to three times a week on non-consecutive days. Stretch at the end of every workout. Don’t forget that prior to every workout whether it is strength or cardio you should warm up for at least five minutes.
Some diets will advocate no exercise. Why in the world would we want to leave out cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength/endurance which help to improve metabolic processes and overall health?
If this sounds daunting, or it is just too hard initially break up your exercise bouts. Try ten minutes of cardio like walking or cycling done three separate times throughout your day. You might be surprised at how much more energy you will have. Oh and by the way – I know that some people will tell you that you shouldn’t break up your exercise because it is better to do it all at once. My opinion is that if you won’t do 30 minutes all at once but you will do 10 minutes at three separate intervals, guess what? The intervals are a better bet! Do what feels right for you and as your fitness level increases you can try doing longer bouts.
Start to exercise, but do it gradually so that you enjoy it and it doesn’t make you feel over-tired or extremely sore. Eat nutritiously and guess what? All of a sudden your body realizes that you mean business and that you’re not just going to do this for a few weeks. Your weight loss will be slow and steady and LASTING. Let’s call it the End of Diets Diet.