WEIGHT LOSS SHOULD BE FAR SIMPLER THAN WHAT WE ALLOW IT TO BE
Diets aren’t anything new; in fact, the first recorded diet was by William the Conqueror. Unlike the rest of the population of that time, King William lived as royalty did, lavishly with a side of gluttony.
William’s diet was so bad that he wasn’t even able to ride a horse, which was quite a dilemma at a time when horses were the standard means of transport.
King William came up with a strange idea to go on an all alcohol diet. He managed to stay on this diet for about one year, but sadly, it wasn’t all that effective.
Shortly after completing his diet, King William was killed in a horse riding accident and still needed to be squeezed into his casket at the time of his burial.
The reasons for King William's weight loss failure might seem obvious; however, his diet protocol shares many similarities to the diet programs we subject ourselves to today. There are many reasons why diet programs fail, and we're going to look at 7 of those below.
1. They have a short-term focus
Just like King William's diet, our modern diets are based around getting a 'quick fix.' Was William really going to live on alcohol for the rest of his life to shed the pounds? The answer is obvious – no.
We need to approach our modern-day diets with the same question; is this diet something I can practically sustain for the rest of my life? If the answer isn’t yes, then there is no point in starting.
Starting a diet with a purely short-term focus will only lead you down the path of failure. These diets produce rollercoaster results, meaning initial success, before rebounding back to your old lifestyle of poor nutritional choices when the restrictive diet leaves you emotionally unsustainable. This can easily happen when you're putting in a lot of effort, but not getting ongoing satisfaction from the results.
What we need is a long-term mentality, that this diet is the 'new you' and it's not something that's going to change. This sort of thinking leads us into our next crucial point…
2. Diets Don’t Focus on Creating Habits and Building a Lifestyle.
A study of 96 participants by the University College London found that on average, a habit takes 66 days to form. However, the most important takeaway from this study was that not all habits take the same amount of time to develop.
For example, easy habits like drinking a glass of water after breakfast only took 20 days to form; however, the more difficult health-related tasks took longer than the 66-day average.
The short-term approach of diets means they don't allow for the necessary time to develop a habit, and if it's not a habit, then it certainly won't turn into a lifestyle.
As Aristotle famously inferred, “we are what we repeatedly do.” In other words, our habits are a reflection of who we are, and who we are is a reflection of our lifestyle.
To change our physical appearance, we need to change more than just our diets. First, we must change our habits and create a new, sustainable lifestyle.
For such significant personal changes to stick, they need to be enjoyable, engaging, and most importantly, fun! This leads us into our next point…
3. Diets Are Not Fun!
Why would you want to do anything that isn’t fun? It is human nature to avoid things we don’t like, and a major reason for avoidance is a lack of fun.
The crazy thing is, a nutritional lifestyle change can be fun! In fact, food should be fun, and it’s something we focus on heavily with our Tropeaka products.
Here are a few ways you can put the fun back into eating healthy:
- Research great recipes! Here are a few links to fresh, tasty and delicious recipes to get you started – Minimalist Baker, Chef Amber Shea and our own Tropeaka recipes.
- Take a class in healthy cooking. Raw food classes are a great place to start!
- Find a friend who is also interested in healthy eating, and have cooking catch ups with them.
The key here is to make sure that any change in your lifestyle is fun! Don't calorie-restrict and starve yourself; just replace your unhealthy calories with healthy choices that are full of flavour.
4. They Restrict Calories
People hate restricting calories; it's human nature to indulge. Diets tend to prescribe caloric-restriction to counteract our tendency to indulge. However, simply eating an abundant, whole-foods diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and slow-release carbohydrates will not only keep you satisfied, but it will also help you stay lean.
Research is now revealing that our modern obesity problem is due to malnourishment. It sounds strange, but highly processed junk food offers very little in the way of essential nutrients. It's clear that we should be focusing on nourishing our bodies and satisfying our hunger with real food, rather than opting for calorie restriction and nutrient deficient food choices.
5. They Don’t Fix The Underlying Emotional Issues
Weight gain is a result of more than just our diets. Emotional eating is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic in our fast-paced, high-stress world.
The issue arises when we try and change our diet without changing the underlying emotional issues that cause our weight gain.
It's important to first identify the stressors in your life that are contributing to weight gain. Common stressors include work stress, relationship conflicts, financial stress, fatigue, and even untreated health issues.
Identifying these underlying issues means we can put a plan in place to eliminate or reduce them. Left unidentified, your stressors can lead to an uphill battle when it comes to losing unwanted weight.
This is precisely where most diets fail. They don't place enough emphasis on the emotional side of weight-gain, and most people begin a diet without considering this crucial factor as part of their weight loss plan.
6. They Overlook The Importance of Water
We are made up of 55-60% water, so it goes without saying that water is the key to life. Research also suggests that adequate water intake is critical to a successful weight-loss plan. Berlin's Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center demonstrated that the rate at which calories are burned rose by up to 30% when sufficient drinking water was consumed. This is known as water-induced thermogenesis.
Water also plays a vital role in digestion and nutrient absorption, ensuring that we get the most out of the healthy food we eat.
Another great benefit of staying hydrated is that it ensures we don't "confuse thirst with hunger." This a common mistake that can lead to overeating, so experts recommended we have a glass of water when we feel the urge to eat, and see if we're still hungry in 30 minutes. If the urge to eat passes, then we are probably mistaking thirst for hunger.
7. Diets Don’t Address Underlying Food Allergies or Intolerances
Food allergies and intolerances are a major underlying cause of weight gain that is often overlooked
We often associate food allergies with severe, life-threatening reactions, such as going into anaphylactic shock after being in the same room as peanuts. However, there are many people with low-grade food intolerances, and weight gain is a common symptom.
The two biggest culprits are gluten and dairy, says Dr Mark Hyman, a global leader in functional medicine. Both of these are closely linked with insulin resistance, which often leads to weight gain, among other symptoms.
Dr Hyman recommends that gluten and dairy should be removed entirely from your diet for at least 6 weeks to determine if there are any hidden food intolerances.
If you're looking to lose weight than we'd encourage you to take some important steps before considering any particular diet so that you don't make any of the mistakes listed above.
If you suspect you may have underlying emotional issues or stressors, we encourage you to seek help from a counsellor or psychologist.
Please avoid 'diets' in general, as they are short-term fixes that rarely succeed in the long term. Instead, focus on a lifestyle change. Take gradual steps and develop positive habits to help you achieve and maintain your weight-loss goal.
Look into any underlying food intolerances by eliminating dairy and gluten from your diet, while ensuring you drink enough water.Finally, make it fun! Choose fresh, healthy and fun recipes that make choosing the healthy option easy, and most importantly, surround yourself with a positive environment. This includes the food available at home, as well as the people who will be supportive of your healthy lifestyle changes.