The Diet Industry is a multi-billion dollar giant that has exploded as quickly as the obesity epidemic. Over the past 20-30 years, the average BMI of Canadians has sky rocketed, bringing over 1/3 of the population to be overweight or obese.
So here to save the day is diets; so many I can't keep track.
But if the diet industry is so huge, why are we so huge? It's because diets don't work.Yet I often see clients come in blaming themselves instead for not being able to stick it out. They seem to think they are the failure rather than the diet failing them.
Many will argue they have found the one diet that does work, but statistics don't lie: 30-60% of weight lost is regained in the first year and 90% of it is regained within 5 years. So why does this happen?
1) Because these diets are not lifelong changes. They are quick fixes that don't fix anything. Most of us can't survive on 1100 calories, soup or cereals alone. It's not realistic to life. So the moment we go off these diets, we are faced with the bad habits that caused the weight gain in the first place.
2) Diets often cause weight loss too fast. Weight loss TV shows give the impression that losing 7lbs or more per week is normal. Healthy weight loss is only 1-2 lbs/week.
Extreme weight loss eats away at your muscle and fluid stores rather than fat, causing your metabolism to plummet and making it even harder to keep the weight off. Also, really dramatic weight loss can cause unnatural shifts in your body's chemistry, potentially putting you at risk for organ failure...like a heart attack.
The truth is that permanent weight loss is not easy, it's not sexy, it's not simple and it requires permanent lifestyle changes.
To lose weight effectively first, assess why you want to lose weight? Is it to improve your appearance? Are you concerned about your health?
Second, look at how you came to the point you are at: Have you been looking after yourself? Do you live an inactive lifestyle? Are you an emotional eater? How long did it take you to put the weight on the first time?
Third, be honest with yourself about how much you are willing to change LONGTERM. If the answer is very little, then maybe you need to seek out why that is. What will it take to motivate yourself to change, or maybe you just don't have the support you need (that's where your doctor or dietitian comes in)
Fourth, do things in baby steps. Once you have looked at where you are, where you want to go and what it's going to take to get there, set steps for yourself. Set 1 or 2 small goals you can do for yourself right now to improve your health or help yourself lose weight.
When setting goals keep a couple of things in mind:
1) make it realistic (It should be a challenge, but something you can overcome for example- if you don't walk regularly, aiming to run a 5k three nights a week might be a stretch from your starting point)
2) make it measurable (Don't say ‘I'm going to eat better’, say something you can measure like, "I'm going to eat a green vegetable everyday")
3) Set a time limit. If you don't set a date, you will only put it on the back burner and forget about it.
Weight loss is possible, but it's not easy. People want to believe eating well is simple but it's not. We are tied to food physically and emotionally. There is no shame is getting support for this so seek out your local nutrition expert and get going!