“Alright. I will finish this box of brown sugar cinnamon Poptarts and start my diet tomorrow. Armed with only good intentions and a bible of dieting rules, there is nothing that can stop me. I will finally lose weight, get healthy, feel confident…”
With all fad diets, we go in with a purpose in mind. Yes, the purpose is to lose weight. But there are often other deeper reasons. Here are a few more examples.
Need to be Loved
Need for Appreciation
Want to Fit into Better Clothes
Want to Feel Confident.. Naked
So great. This is all I’ve ever wanted. I am so pumped to pack up my rice and broccoli in pre-portioned containers and snack on flavorless almonds for what feels like an eternity.
Sure, cutting out frozen yogurt towered with saccharine toppings twice a week might be in my best interest. And maybe ordering those cheesy enchiladas with flour tortillas was not the brightest idea. However, dieting is not as simple as we seem to think.
After years of sorting through what’s true and what’s not and what works and what doesn’t, I am here to share what is wrong with the weight loss industry and what we should actually be doing instead.
It’s preached relentlessly. Count your calories and make sure your burning off more than you are consuming. If you have an X number of calories deficit, you will lose X number of pounds in X number of weeks. Simple math, simple concepts, and simple rules. Don’t eat sugar. Cut out refined grains. No dairy. No meat. You’ve heard it all before.
But.. if it’s that simple to lose weight, have you ever questioned why the weight loss industry is still making billions of dollars every year? Weak willpower, poor self-control, laziness, and the-next-diet-will-work-mentality are all common explanations. However, if you take a look at the actual research on dieting and weight loss, you can find some real explanations. That is, there really aren’t any.
The truth is that we really don’t know very much at all about how humans lose weight. Study after study show how complicated the human metabolism really is. The human body is built to maintain its natural weight. That number is not dictated by society’s standards or the size of jeans you want to fit into. It’s nature.
The oversimplified “calorie in-calorie out” concept misleads us into believing that not only can we lose weight, but we can also achieve all of these other problems like lack of self-confidence, loneliness, or need for appreciation. So, we end up watching TV with a box of Poptarts planning the next phase.
Clean eating, paleo, sugar-free, low carb, no carb, and juice cleanses sift in and out of our lives and result in nothing but dangerous weight cycling, disappointment, and an unhealthy relationship with food. These are not exactly the changes we look for out of a new weight loss program.
The reality is that the best way to eat, sleep, move, and live to the fullest extent is to eat intuitively. Food itself is just food. Healthy, fattening, good-for-you, and bad-for-you are all terms that we give to food. It’s subjective and judgmental. That food hasn’t done anything to you.
Learn to accept yourself where you are at. Eat foods that you enjoy and nourish you but be gentle with yourself. If you can’t live without Reese’s peanut butter cups, by all means, eat them. Stick to mostly nourishing foods that taste yummy to you, but don’t arbitrarily cut out nutrients like carbohydrates because Pinterest told you to.