Thanks for the support on my struggles with breastfeeding and running. I’m feeling more positive about it today, but it’s definitely not easy!
For today, I wanted to talk about diets and why they fail so often. I was thinking lately about the cyclical nature of diets… have you ever noticed this?
According to John Douillard, it began when we started to understand calories and low calorie dieting was in. The quality of food was less important.
Next came our attempt to limit fat and replace it with “healthier” versions like margarine, which of course we now know is much worse than good old butter.
As Americans attempted to restrict fat, the body rebelled with more cravings, binges and fat-storing. So we tried to replace sugar with low-or-no-calorie artificial sweeteners. Besides the many dangerous side effects and addictive nature (I’ve worked with many diet coke addicts!), fake sweeteners made sugar cravings worse and led to excess binging elsewhere.
Several high protein diets were introduced. Some people lost weight- others began to crave carbohydrates and couldn’t maintain it. Enter the high carb diets that told us as long as we stuck with complex carbs, we could eat as many as we wanted. But the continued growth of processed, convenient food in our culture soon led to a high sugar diet.
We then began to cut out animal fats to try to lower our cholesterol. But again, dieters felt restricted and binged on fat and sugar. This led to an emphasis on exercise rather than diet, followed by the fear of red meat, the rise of vegetarianism, an emphasis on small meals and grazing, the Zone diet and an addiction to coffee for energy.
And this brings us full circle again to the calorie limiting diets, low-fat/high-carb diets and high-protein diets that are rising and falling in popularity again.
Dieters jump on each new fad with enthusiasm, hoping for the magic answer. There is no shortage of diet books available yet most dieters still don’t feel like they have the answer. (If they did, these books would stop selling, right?)
The problem with restrictive diets:
1) They make us ULTRA focused on food
2) We become less in touch with what our body wants and can no longer tell when it’s hungry or full
3) Yo-yo-ing can mess up our hormones and cause the body to store more fat in fear of starvation
4) Dieting adds to the stress in our lives (raising cortisol and fat-storing)
It should be simple.
De-stress, eat real food, learn to listen to your body and know what it needs to be full AND satisfied, sleep well, move your body, and get a few deep belly breaths- it sends powerful messages to the para-sympathetic system to relax.
It really shouldn’t be so difficult. But it is difficult!
Few of us can eat whole, real foods 100% of the time, and when we begin to read labels and compare ingredients on packaged or convenient foods, there is all sorts of savvy marketing and confusing, mixed messages. (Not to mention the refined and hydrogenated oils, processed corn products, and GMO soy that is in so much of our processed food and messes with our metabolism and hunger/fullness cues.)
Ideally, we should be able to eat real food without it feeling like a “diet” and learn how to intuitively determine what works best for our unique body.
Have you ever tried to follow a “diet” successfully?
How would you describe a healthy, balanced way of eating for you?
PS- I’m going to dive into how to find what works for YOU in a 3 month group program, starting March 1st! If you’re interested in joining this group of savvy, health conscious women check out all the details here.