Diets Don’t Work
You’ve tried at least 17 different diets (who hasn’t?) ranging from Atkins to maybe that fad diet of eating only grapefruit. Each time thinking, this is the one. This is the one that’s going to work.
You did well for the first week, maybe two. Then motivation started diminishing or it got boring, or perhaps you like you were starving yourself.
Cookies started slipping back in. Maybe a slice of pizza here or there. Before you knew it you were back to square one — perhaps even further away from your goal than you started.
Then the guilt starts to creep in and tangle you in it’s gnarly grip. The thought of yet another failed diet adds up onto the other 17 that you’ve gone through.
This is a vicious cycle AND it needs to stop.
From a nutritional standpoint, the word diet simply means what you habitually eat.
Yet, in our modern day world, the word has become skewed. It’s often associated with guilt, severe calorie restriction, and a strict set of specific foods.
Diets by nature are:
● Require perfection
When you set finish lines for yourself, such as a “diet,” you set yourself up for potential failure.
According to Gretchen Rubin, author of Better than Before:
“A finish line marks a stopping point. Once we stop, we must start over, and starting over is harder than continuing. The reward of the finish line has a particularly bad effect for people on a “diet.” Despite it’s popularity — in 2012, about one in five American adults was on a diet — dieting has an abysmal track record. According to a review of studies of the long-term outcomes of calorie-restricting diets, one-third to two-thirds of people who dieted eventually regained more weight than they initially lost. Why? Perhaps because people are encouraged to set a goal weight, and once they’ve hit that finish line they slide back into their old eating habits. Maintaining a healthy weight requires us not to follow a temporary diet, but to change our eating habits forever.”
Diets inherently consist of temporary changes with a hope for a specific outcome and once that outcome is reached, you revert back to your old ways, gaining everything back.
In today’s society, when you want something, you wanted it yesterday. And we apply that thinking to our health as well.
● I want to lose 10lbs before my vacation in 2 weeks.
● I want to reverse my Type 2 Diabetes in a month.
● I want to my thyroid to be in normal ranges after 2 months.
These results can potentially happen, but rarely do things play out that way. It’s important to remember that these things took time to develop (often years & years) so they won’t be resolved in 2 weeks or a month.
As Einstein once said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Diet’s are often about external change, not internal. You focus on the techniques and rules of a specific diet that produce the results, not you.
You may think that if you are follow the diet perfectly it will lead to happiness. That if you count every calorie, log every morsel of food that enters your mouth, that at the end of it all, there will be weight loss and happiness.
Let me ask you a question: Are you truly happy when you have to agonize over every calorie you ate? Trying find the exact thing you ate in your MyFitnessPal. “Well, I asked for no dressing on the salad, only ate 3/4 of the salad, and added olive oil — should I select option a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k….”
When you are on a diet, you are simultaneously told you are not enough and you can’t have more. How is that for building up you self esteem?
Have you ever been on a diet that encouraged you to focus on the foods you could eat? Or was it all about the foods that you couldn’t?
Did you find yourself craving those forbidden foods? Even if you normally never craved them?
The thing is, humans often crave the very things we can’t have the most. These cravings often escalate into an obsession where that’s all you think about and you just have to have that piece of pizza or that pint of Ben & Jerry’s — ruining the diet, ruining your self esteem.
Why set yourself up for failure by telling yourself you can’t have these foods, even it is just temporary?
What if instead of trying diet after diet with various failed results, you shifted your perspective that food nourishes your body, mind, and soul and include nutritious foods as a part of your daily lifestyle?
Lifestyle changes by nature are:
● Long term
● Involve continuous improvement
Long term thinking
Eating for a lifestyle change means eating consistently the same over a lifetime with small tweaks and changes to optimize along the way; there are no finish lines.
Overtime your idea of eating well will change as you make small changes here and there. What I thought was healthy 10 years ago, is not my definition of “healthy eating” now. This realization occurred to me without even processing it and these slow changes build over time.
Nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy. ~ Unknown
Eating healthy as a lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to be perfect 100%. In fact, I doubt that there is anyone out there who eats well 100% of the time…
AND that’s okay.
The lifestyle mentality means eating well 85-90% of the time and indulging occasionally and being okay with it.
It also means that when you are starting out, you don’t have to be perfect. You start where you are at — working to build each day, each week, each month, each year on the foundations that you are laying in the now.
Drastic changes, such as a diet, work for a select few, but for many it doesn’t.
When making a lifestyle change, it’s best to focus on what you can eat instead of what you can’t eat. When you focus on what you can, you start to realize that there is an abundance of things you can have.
You begin to celebrate what you can have, focus on all the new wonderful recipes you can try, and aware of new exciting foods.
By doing this you’re focusing on abundance, not scarcity — which sets you up for success.
Functional Medicine advocates lifestyle change, not diets.
It’s extremely difficult to know what health information to follow. In the media and on the internet there’s someone promoting every imaginable type of diet saying “this is the cure all” “this is the one that will answer all of your dreams and problems.”
So how do you know what to do or who to follow? That’s where a trusted Functional Medicine clinician comes into play. Functional Medicine personalizes care for the individual.
At Omnia Health, we recognize that everyone has different starting points. Perhaps you almost have the right formula down and need help making a few tweaks. Or perhaps you find yourself at a fast food joint most days of the week.
Wherever you’re at in your health journey, our job is to help you find the right starting place that’s challenging yet attainable. During office visits, we will discuss your health concerns, goals, and lab results to determine what changes will help you the most.
We prescribe lifestyle changes, not diets.
In fact, after working with us, many of our clients have an aha moment during their journey. They say, “Ahhh I get it now. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.”
When we hear this, we know we’ve done our job well. Because when it comes to our health (and most things in life), it’s the journey, not the destination that matters.
Share with us one “aha moment” you’ve had while on your health journey.