You can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with America’s hottest obsession: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions luring you to try the latest (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution—your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or 10 years of age.
Our culture touts pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. America’s populace has reached its highest weight in history. About half of Americans are overweight; one-third are obese. Diets steer us away from our common sense and dip deeply into our pocketbooks while eliciting few, if any, lasting results. There is a staggering statistic that has been around since 1951 without much change: 95% of all dieters will regain the weight they lose within one year!! That is insane!
• Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle.
• Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off.
• Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.
• Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diets as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances.
• Our body experiences dieting as a stressor. When we’re stressed, we produce high-levels of cortisol and adrenaline (our stress hormones). These hormones cause our body to slow down the rate at which we burn calories.
In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with the people we love. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting.
There is no such thing as a quick fix; although there are ways to jumpstart weight loss. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.
Sources and Additional Reading:
http://psychologyofeating.com, June 2017.
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, May 2011.