The Weight Loss Industry is one big scam as they give you false hope, take your money, and don’t live up to their expectations. The problem isn’t just money down the drain though, dieting takes a major toll on our health as it comes with heavy mental and physical health risks, so before you commit to keto, hear me out!
Keto, Paleo, Low-carb, Atkins, and juice cleanses are some of the most popular dieting trends. Do you know what they all have in common? They all fail for sustained weight loss.
Diet trends are constantly in our faces promising results that are fast and easy. Many of them sound too good to be true and even odd to consider, yet we can talk ourselves into just about anything when it comes to dieting. From the grapefruit diet to cabbage soup and even fat bombs, we will try anything that could help with weight loss. However, if losing weight was as easy as sticking to a diet it should work, right? I wish, but diets don’t work for a number of reasons, and fortunately, your willpower is likely not one of them.
What Actually Happens When You Diet
Traditional diets are focused on restricting calories. Achieving a calorie deficit ideally would lead to weight loss, and in fact, it does, but only short-term. Let’s explore what happens internally when we restrict food. Fewer calories coming in means the body taps into fat reserves for energy, great! Only, after a few weeks, your body starts to send hormonal signals that fat reserves are being depleted too quickly. Leptin is a hormone that comes from fat cells and signals the brain to increase hunger to replenish fat storage. The brain signals the stomach to increase hunger by releasing Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which stimulates appetite and cravings. The brain also signals metabolism to slow down all system processes to conserve energy. More fatigue and less energy to exercise keep the body stable, which is the goal of maintaining homeostasis. Eventually, the weight starts coming back despite any changes in your diet and the cycle continues.
A restrictive diet, which is typical for most traditional diets, slows down metabolism, increases hunger, promotes fat storage, and ultimately leads to more weight gain.
We all know the show The Biggest Loser that raves about how much weight can be lost in a short amount of time. Contestants are put through rigorous training programs and strict low-calorie diets to achieve their goals. However, you’ll likely never see a reunion show because most of the contestants gain the weight back after the show because the human body wants to return to its target set weight when drastic weight loss occurs in a short amount of time. This is incredibly frustrating since this is no easy task, it’s hard work. Dieting is hard; the rules, counting, and tracking take a lot of effort. When it doesn’t work we feel overwhelmed with mental disappointments, but dieting also poses physical health risks.
Health Risks From Dieting
Dieting slows metabolism, increases hunger, promotes fat storage, and ultimately leads to more weight gain. Metabolism continues at a slower rate long after the diet has failed. This means after each diet, your metabolism is actually running slower to conserve energy, making it harder to lose weight and much easier to gain for months and possibly years.
Diets tend to be restrictive with certain foods or entire food groups. This can lead to physical health problems like gut disorders, food intolerances, and psychological issues that negatively impact your mental health.
On average, women try about 7-10 different diets in their lifetime. 7-10 times of a failed diet and weight regain impacts your health long after you’ve stopped the diet. Since diets have a 99% fail rate you are literally set up for failure, but when the weight doesn’t stay off or we eat that cookie and “ruin our diet” we put all the blame on ourselves and wreck our mental health. It’s a yo-yo cycle of dieting and weight regain, only it’s not your fault.
The Weight Loss Industry claims losing weight is easy while it simultaneously advertises low-carb food options and diet sodas. However, if these diets and diet-type foods worked, we wouldn’t be facing an obesity crisis. So it would seem that the Weight Loss Industry is actually driving the obesity crisis up to ultimately keep money in their pockets.
So what can we do about it?
A Diet vs. Your Diet
“A diet” and “Your diet” are not the same thing. A diet is restrictive while your diet should be filled with a variety of nutritious foods. So while the traditional diet trends will likely fail, improving your diet slowly over time will lead to sustained weight loss and overall better physical and mental health. Usually, the faster it comes off, the faster it comes back with typical dieting. Losing weight slowly over time is the secret.
Weight is affected by much more than just our diet. Genetics, race, gender, and age have a large impact on your weight that cannot be altered. This is why losing weight is a bigger challenge than just starting a diet and exercise program for 6 weeks. Factors that we can influence include stress levels, sleep routine, diet, exercise, environmental influences, medications, and more.
Weight is regulated by hormonal signals that are influenced by our food choices. Ultimately, the human body is what really has control over your weight so the focus should be on supporting all basic needs in life, and diet is only a portion of that balance. Lifestyle changes that include diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, and stress management should all be part of your weight loss plan.
Here are My Top 5 Diet tips:
- Eat Real Foods & Don’t fall for the ads! If the box is colorful, right in your face, and promotes low-calorie, fat-free, or anything else to sell, it’s probably not good for you. Kale doesn’t have ads but it is very good for you. Anything that’s unhealthy needs to sell you with marketing strategies. Instead, choose real whole foods like fruits & veggies in their natural state.
- Small changes- Don’t change your whole diet at once, you probably won’t stick to it. Instead of removing all the bad foods, start by adding good ones into your current diet. Focus on adding healthy foods to your diet rather than restricting current foods. In a few weeks remove something bad and add a new healthy food option to your diet. Small changes to your eating habits will last a lifetime and help with sustained weight loss.
- Add more colorful fruits & veggies- Fill up on fiber! Fiber helps with weight loss by slowing digestion, keeping you full longer, resulting in less fat storage from fewer insulin spikes, and helps with gut health. Try to have at least 3-4 colors on your plate for lots of variety.
- Be aware of your portions– Portion size is a great way to measure how much food you should be consuming. Keep in mind this isn’t just to keep us from overeating, but more importantly to ensure we are actually eating a good serving of fruits and veggies to balance out the typical high-carb American diet.
- Meal Timing– Insulin is a growth hormone that directly impacts our weight. Therefore, balancing insulin levels is a goal for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Insulin rises when we eat, especially with starches and sugars. Narrowing your eating window throughout the day will allow insulin to lower back to normal levels. Keep eating time balanced with non-eating time.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions without consulting your healthcare provider. Information used is based on experience and opinion, not 100% evidence. Always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Some links in this article may contain affiliate links.