Weight loss should be far simpler then what we allow it to be
Diets aren’t anything new; in fact, the first recorded diet was by William the Conqueror. Unlike the rest of the population of that time, King William lived as royalty did, lavishly with a side of gluttony.
William’s diet was so bad that he wasn’t even able to ride a horse, a pretty tough situation for that time when horses were the standard means of transport.
King William came up with the strange idea of going on an all alcohol diet, which lasted around one year, and wasn’t all that effective.
Shortly after his diet, he was killed in a horse accident, however, his size still remained and when it was time to be buried in his casket, he still needed to be squeezed into his box.
The reasons for King William’s weight loss failure might seem obvious; however, it still shares similarities to diet programs of today. There are a number of reasons why diet programs fail, and we’re going to look at those below.1. They are Short-Term Orientated
Just like King William’s diet, our modern diets are far too short-term orientated. Was William really going to drink alcohol for the rest of his life in order to shed the pounds? The answer is an obvious – no.
In the same way, we need to approach diets with the same question. Is this diet something that I can practically sustain for the rest of my life? If the answer isn’t yes, then there is no point in starting.
Starting a diet that is purely short-term orientated will only lead you down a track of failure. These diets produce rollercoaster results, meaning initial success, before rebounding back to your old lifestyle of poor nutritional choices, when the diet becomes emotionally unsustainable (e.g. too much effort, without enough ongoing satisfaction from the results).
What really needs to occur is a long-term mentality, that this diet is the ‘new you’ and it’s not something that’s going to change. This sort of thinking leads us into our next crucial point…2. Diets Don’t Focus on Creating Habits, Which Ultimately Don’t Turn Into a Lifestyle
A study of 96 participants by the University College London found that on average, a habit takes 66 days to form. However, what was important to note from the study was that not all habits take the same amount of time to form.
For example, easy habits like drinking a glass of water after breakfast only took 20 days to form; however, more difficult tasks which were health related took longer than the 66-day average.
Therefore if diets are too short-term orientated then they don’t allow for the necessary time to form an effective habit, and if it’s not a habit then it certainly won’t turn into a lifestyle.
As Aristotle famously inferred “we are what we repeatedly do” therefore our habits are a reflection of who we are, and who we are is a reflection of our lifestyle.
For us to change our physical appearance we need to change more than just our diets, we need to change our habits, our lifestyle and ultimately who we are as people.
And for such big personal changes, it requires things to be enjoyable, interesting and most importantly, fun! This leads us into our next point…3. Diets Are Not Fun!
Why would you want to do anything that isn’t fun? It is human nature to avoid things that we don’t like, and a major driving reason behind avoidance is a lack of fun.
The crazy thing is a nutritional lifestyle change can be fun! In fact, food should be fun, and it’s something we focus on heavily with our Tropeaka products.
Here are a few ways you can put the fun back into eating healthy:
- Research great recipes, in fact here are a few links to get you started – Minimalist Baker, Chef Amber Shea and our own Tropeaka recipes section. All of these are fresh, tasty and delicious.
- Take a class in healthy cooking. Raw food classes are a great place to start!
- Find a friend that shares the same desires as you for healthy eating and cook with them.
The key here is to make sure that any change in your nutritional lifestyle is fun! Don’t calorie-restrict and starve yourself, just adjust your unhealthy calories for healthy choices which are full of taste and flavour.4. They Restrict Calories
People hate restricting calories, it's human nature to indulge. However, diets always seem to address overconsumption by calorie-restricting when in reality eating a healthy raw, wholefoods diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and slow-release carbohydrates is what is going to effectively fill you up while helping you stay lean.
Research is starting to show that our modern obesity problem is due to malnourishment because of the nutrient-depleted foods we eat. This leads us to the obvious conclusion that we should be focusing on nourishing our bodies to a state of feeling full or satisfied rather than calorie-restricting our current diets.5. They Don’t Fix The Underlying Emotional Issues
Weight gain is a result of more than just our diets. Emotional eating is a big contributor to our obesity epidemic in our fast-paced high-stress world.
The issue arises when we try and change our diet without changing the underlying emotional issues that cause our weight gain.
It’s important to first identify the stressors in your life that are contributing to weight-gain including, work stress, relationship conflicts, financial stress, fatigue and other unaccounted health issues.
Without first identifying these issues and then putting a plan in place to eliminate or reduce these stressors it can become a real uphill battle to shed the pounds.
And this is exactly where most diets fail. They don’t place enough emphasis on the emotional side of weight-gain; therefore most people begin a diet without even factoring this important key into their weight-loss plan.6. They Don’t Emphasise Enough The Importance of Water
Adults are made up of 55-60% water, so it goes without saying that water is the key to life. Research is now also suggesting that water is critical to a successful weight-loss plan.
Research undertaken by Berlin's Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center, showed the rate at which calories are burned rose by up to 30% when sufficient drinking water was consumed.
Water also plays a vital role in digesting our food as well as nutrient absorption, ensuring that the healthy food we eat takes maximum effect on our bodies.
Another great benefit of water is it ensures we don’t “confuse thirst with hunger”, a common mistake people who tend to overeat make states Keri Peterson, M.D., a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Peterson encourages us to drink a glass of water when we feel an urge to eat during the day and then see if you’re still hungry 30 minutes later.7. Diets Don’t Address Underlying Food Allergies or Intolerances
One major underlying cause of weight-gain which is often overlooked is food allergies or intolerances.
We often associate food allergies with severe reactions to certain foods such as; a child going into anaphylactic shock after exposure to peanuts. However, the reality is that there are a significant number of people with low-grade food intolerances that as a result gain weight.
The two biggest culprits are gluten and dairy says Dr Mark Hyman a global leader in functional medicine. Both these are closely linked with insulin resistance which as mentioned earlier leads to weight gain.
In fact, a 2002 article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Celiac sprue” by Farrell, RJ, and CP Kelly listed 55 diseases that can be traced back to eating gluten. While the negative effects of eating and drinking dairy are now starting to become widely known.
Dr Hyman recommends that gluten and dairy should be completely removed from your diet for a period of 6 weeks to determine if there are any hidden food intolerances.
If you’re looking to lose weight than we’d encourage you to take some important steps before considering a particular diet.
Take the necessary steps to avoid making any of the mistakes above. If you have underlying emotional issues or stressors we’d encourage you to seek help regarding this, whether through a church pastor or counsellor.
Avoid ‘diets’ in general as they are short-term fixes that rarely succeed, however, focus on a lifestyle change, taking gradual steps to achieve your weight-loss goal.
Look into any underlying food intolerances by eliminating dairy and gluten from your diet, while ensuring you drink enough water.
Finally, make it fun! Choose fresh, healthy and fun recipes that encourage you to pick the healthy option, and most importantly surround yourself with a positive environment both with the food you eat and the people who will support you in your weight-loss goal.