Are you a victim of yo-yo dieting?
It’s not your fault.
The diet industry is great at making us feel bad about ourselves and our eating habits. We are sucked into the hope of skinny jeans, six pack abs or looking younger. In 2020 Americans spent over $66 billion on weight loss products and programs. The problem with commercial diets isn’t what they are offering, it’s more about how they fail to create sustainable habits. It’s unrealistic and unhealthy to live on such restrictive diet plans.
Where we can see hope actually lies in the past. Looking back over decades of growth in the food industry there is a parallel rise in obesity rates. Increases in processed foods, fake sugars, over processed oils, and the increase in grab and go foods all have contributed to our growing waistlines.
In the 1970’s agriculture introduced genetically modified foods to increase yield. Don’t fault the GMO science, it continues to improve how we grow our foods, decrease the need to use pesticides, and keeps farmers in business. What it did do was push more grains into our diet through cereals, snacks in crinkly bags and increase in overtly processed easy to eat foods.
The USDA created the food pyramid in 1992 an effort to keep Americans healthy, but it failed. The base, or the large part of our diet was whole grains, while fats were at the top. This has only recently been replaced by the “my plate” program where now vegetables consume the larger portion of food intake and are followed by equal parts protein and grain followed by fruit, dairy and healthy oils. While this change is a better indicator of a healthy diet, we should also be focusing more on control of what we eat as well as a nutritionally balanced diet.
It’s not your fault. Weight cycling or yoyo dieting changes us biologically. Your body's a machine that reacts to its environment. When we are heavy our body adjusts to the increased weight, not to the best, but it’s doing the best it can with what it has to work with. Increased fat level can increase insulin and leptin resistance, chronic inflammation, chronic diseases and weight gain in an effort to “protect” itself. When we restrict food intake with a fad diet, we most likely will lose weight rapidly, asking our body to adjust to this new weight and lifestyle. Like a car that gets cheap gas over high quality gas, it will run but with more restrictions. That is because our body is trying to stay “balanced.” So many of us can’t understand why we gain back all the weight or more after losing 10-50-100 pounds. Understand that your body responds to the fat storages. When you lose that storage, it thinks it’s starving and will actually start to shut down. That’s why so many people feel tired, weak and have headaches when doing such restrictive diets such as Keto.
Leptin, a hormone released from your adipose fat, signals your brian when fat storages are full and when it needs food. Over months your body balances the Leptin levels determined by your fat storages. When your body rapidly removes fat storages, your well balanced machine thinks that fat storages are low making you hungry. This is why we get hungry when we are restricting foods. If we lose weight slower it gives our bodies time to adjust to the Leptin levels.
Once we remove the restriction on our diet after weight loss, and try to return to a “normal” diet our bodies again want to rebalance out that fat storage again, increase Leptin to tell our brains we are hungry. We slowly increase food intake, increasing our fat storage making our bodies think “AHHH fat and happy.”
There are several on going studies showing how morbidity obese people are actually Leptin resistant and don’t know when they are full. This is a game changer for this growing population. If we can control our Leptin levels, and like our ancestors who would forge and gather food, we would eat only when we were low on energy storages and body fat.
If dieting is not the answer, what is?
Diet is what we eat, so we need to get rid of the “going on a diet” mentality, and instead we need to change our relationship with the food we eat. Start with making a list of foods you know are bad for you or that you may not tolerate like diary, wheat or eggs. Be honest with yourself, you know what foods don’t serve you. Toss on that list all those fast foods trips, the grab and go foods, highly processed oils, snacks in crinkly bags and food with processed or added sugars.
Once you have the list, take one thing you can cut out for a week and see how that affects your weight, gut, energy level, and sleep.
Each week take one more thing off the list and eliminate it.
Make simple and sustainable changes that your body can get on board with, and slowly adjust to.
It’s not your fault that your body runs most efficiently on a balanced diet. It’s a gift.
** Health Coaching can help you!
Work with me for 3 months to learn what sustainable changes you can make to balance your diet and your health. If your goal is to create a new relationship with any part of your health and wellness, we can work together to identify the needs and create goals that form new healthy habits. I have worked with clients of all ages, and genders to create goals around weight loss, mental wellness, work / life stability, alcohol / porn addiction and wellness plans while dealing with chronic diseases.
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