7 Big Reasons Not To Diet (Again) In January

day-1891529_960_720Pardon me for being blunt, but here goes: Picking another diet for a New Year’s Resolution in 2017 is dumb, dangerous, and damaging. We didn’t know this in the 1970’s when we got excited about our first diet – but we know it now. This isn’t theoretical; the evidence is irrefutable.

Let’s look at a few of the many well-researched reasons diets don’t work:

1. Diets backfire. Most dieters end up actually gaining weight over their diet career – not losing. Restrictive dieting has a 98-99% failure rate.

2. Diets cause cravings. When you’re dieting, your brain and body work together to force you to feed yourself enough. Eating too little always leads to eating too much, eventually.

3. Diets crush self-confidence. The dieting industry says all you need to be thinner is enough will-power. This is simply not true. Human beings do have willpower, but it doesn’t apply to primary needs like food, water, sleep and air. Try using your willpower to hold your breath for two minutes or to stay up three nights in a row.

4. Diets cause guilt. Once food is (falsely) declared a good or bad substance, we begin to believe we are a good or bad person according to what we eat. Reality check: you are not a bad person if you eat a Christmas cookie. Making food a moral issue causes our relationship with it to become strained and emotionally charged.

5. Diets wreck metabolism. Restrictive dieting actually diminishes your ability to lose weight by slowing your metabolism. The more you starve yourself the harder your body fights to keep each pound.

6. Diets disconnect us from ourselves and our bodies. Dieting requires you to ignore your natural hunger signals, instincts, and appetite. You and your body are born to work well together, but years of dieting have eroded our connection to our invaluable body wisdom.

7. Diets side-track us from Real Life. Dieting takes a lot of energy and effort! We become scale-focused and food-obsessed. We can unwittingly put life ON HOLD until after we “lose this weight”.

There are many other reasons dieting is self-sabotaging. Continuing to attempt it is putting off the real life-changing work each of us must and can do: the work of recovering the intuitive, peaceful connection with our body we were born to enjoy.

Give yourself the gift of freedom in 2017…

You and your body and your food really can be friends again – and the payoff will last a lifetime.

 

At least 18 Things To Know About Weight Loss

For 60 years our American Dieting Mindset has looked at weight gain and weight loss in terms of calorie consumption alone – how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn up.

Turns out it’s not that simple.

scales 2There are other non-calorie factors that can affect our weight. Knowing this can help us work from multiple angles to reach and keep our best health and weight.

Certainly our lifestyle is the first place to explore and adjust. It doesn’t help to go looking for miracle cures, quick fixes or specialists if your lifestyle is making you sick – but – if weight release continues to be difficult after making consistent and reasonable lifestyle changes, then this list offers other variables to explore.

Here are some possible non-calorie reasons we might struggle with weight:

1. Sluggish metabolism – due to under-eating, under-moving, restrictive dieting, aging, etc.
2. Over-consumption of alcohol also lowers metabolism
3. Certain medications
4. Muscle to fat ratio – Muscle burns more fuel than fat tissue, by far
5. Poor digestion and nutrient absorption – recent research is showing that eating quickly and not experiencing enough pleasure from your eating experience can have an adverse effect
6. Not having a reasonable balance of macronutrients – fat, carbohydrates and protein.
7. Poor nutrition
8. Over-consumption of refined sugar and flour can affect blood sugar and insulin which affects the body’s ability to release weight.

Here’s what Dr. David Ludwig, endocrinologist and obesity researcher, has to say:

“Are we really to believe that, for someone on a diet, a cup of cola with 100 calories would be a better snack than an ounce of nuts containing almost 200 calories?

“New research has revealed the flaws in this thinking. Recent studies show that highly processed carbohydrates adversely affect metabolism and body weight in ways that can’t be explained by their calorie content alone. Conversely, nuts, olive oil, and dark chocolate – some of the most calorie-dense foods in existence – appear to prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease…

“All this time, we’ve been diligently following the diet rules, but the rulebook was wrong!”

9. Stress, depression, negativity and anxiety can affect cortisol levels which can in turn affect weight
10. Insufficient and poor quality sleep
11. Menopause and other hormone issues/changes
12. Health issues – hypothyroid, diabetes, Cushing syndrome, etc.
13. Certain food allergies
14. Getting too little physical activity
15. Genetics and family history
16. Insulin resistance
17. Leptin resistance
18. Chronic inflammation

As you can see there are many possible reasons to have mercy on yourself for not being able to lower your weight.

I’ve coached people who have reduced their calories to starvation levels and still haven’t seen weight release – very disheartening indeed. Once they understood that there are other factors at play beside sheer calories we could be about the good work of finding their unique and specific solutions. And so can you.

There is always a way through!

6 Things to Know If You Want to Be Thinner

Living in a thinner body means thinking and doing things differently, permanently. Here are 6 things that can serve as reliable compass points along the way…

war with yourself 1. Build a lifestyle you can maintain. Whatever it takes to lower your weight is also what it’s going to take to keep it off. Take time to experiment and discover what works for you.

2. Be Reasonable. If you want to be thinner than your body wants to be, you will live in a constant tug-of-war. Forget our crazy cultural skinny-obsession and listen to your body. You will know your “happy place” when you get there, if you’re listening. Dare to be more connected to your body than to your bathroom scale.

3. Be Patient. Stop thinking fast and start thinking permanent. Fast weight loss leads to fast weight regain. Quick changes rarely last. Your body and your mind need time to settle into your new reasonable way of living and eating.

4. Make Both “Fuel-In” and “Fuel-Out” Lifestyle Changes. If you only work on eating less (fuel in) it will be very hard to release weight permanently. Metabolism slows with age so the amount of food you need will decrease over time. Staying active keeps your metabolism “young”.

At the same time, if you control your weight by exercise only, all it takes is one injury, illness or burnout and you’re right back where you started—with a disordered relationship with food.

5. Be realistic. In order to maintain a certain weight you will need to take in the amount of fuel that fits a person of that weight, at your height, age, gender, and activity level. There is no way around this.

6. Eat enough and make sure it’s delicious. Remember why dieting never worked, and never will. Deprivation will lead to excess. Eating enough satisfying food is the only way of eating you can live with long term. Lucky for you and for me – fresh real food is delicious, satisfying, life-giving and exactly what our bodies are happiest running on!

2 Things About Carbs & Weight Release

nutIf weight release is on your mind here are a few powerful things to know about carbohydrates:

1. If you want to weigh less, choose unrefined carbohydrates

Carbs that are refined/processed (made in a factory) jack your blood sugar and insulin way up high then drop it low. When your blood sugar is riding this roller coaster you end up feeling hungry all the time and craving even more processed carbs.

Whole food carbs are hefty and take longer to digest so they don’t affect your body in such a dramatic way. The more “real food” carbohydrates you choose the easier it is for your body to release fat. Think fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts. An extra added bonus is that your cravings decrease too!

2. If you want to weigh less, pair your carbs with protein and/or fat

When eating a carbohydrate, have some fat and/or protein too. Think banana and peanut butter or pear and smoked mozzarella. Fats and protein slow down your digestion. This means your blood sugar and insulin are not on a roller coaster so you have more energy, you feel less hungry, you feel more sane and your body can burn fat.

This is NOT about good food/bad food.  This is about biology.

Making these changes will give you more energy, less mood swings, looser pants, and full satisfaction. These are delicious, filling foods; they will not lead to feeling deprived and hungry like we used to feel when we were dieting. This is powerful knowledge.

What hearty carbohydrates are you enjoying these days?

Can Eating Plans Work Well for Liberated Eaters?

teaRecently I was asked if following a specific eating plan (such as Bright Line Eating or the new book Always Hungry? by Dr. Ludwig) might have the same crazy-making effects on us as the disastrous diets of our past. That’s an interesting question.

The simple answer is no. These ways of eating are scientifically sound and designed with vibrant health in mind. They can be sustainable healthy lifestyles as long as they fit the needs, preferences and desires of the people adopting them.

Unlike the crazy diets we used to try, they do not deprive body and mind of needed fuel or slow our metabolism. Balanced whole food eating plans like the ones mentioned above can bring satisfaction, vitality, high energy, brighter mood and a comfortable weight. And for some people having specific guidelines is freeing.

That said, be aware that we humans have a propensity to turn even the best guidelines into strangling rules that take the fun out of life. So remember that you’re in charge of any plan you might explore or choose – not the other way around. 

I know many mindful liberated eaters who follow specific eating plans and thrive. For them it’s a powerful compass steering them where they want to go.

I also know many liberated eaters who have no formal plan. They are mindful, intuitive and informed about what their body needs and they thrive too. For them an eating plan would feel unnecessary and cumbersome.

That’s one of the many beauties of this path – as you walk it you discover a vibrant lifestyle that’s tailor made for YOU.