Let’s start by looking at New Year’s Resolutions. I see them as a goal for the New Year. As usual, one of the more popular New Year’s resolutions is to “lose weight.” Right away I understand why most people don’t keep their resolution. Your resolution needs to be clearer. You need a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely). Now that you have a SMART goal, let’s see why diets don’t work and lifestyle changes do.
First off, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. We’ve all heard such claims as “Eat what you want, when you want, and watch the pounds disappear!” or “Melt off pounds with minimal effort.” or “Lose 10lbs of belly fat in 10 days.” Many fad diets will likely result in weight loss if you stick with them, but then the weight returns after you get off the diet. What good is that?
Don’t be fooled into thinking some magical food, pill, or potion can help with weight loss. What causes weight loss is eating fewer calories than you burn. Crazy, unbalanced diets (with or without magic potions) cause weight loss because they are basically reduced calorie diets. After a few weeks on an unrealistic diet, you usually become frustrated and give up. This leads to feelings of failure that can send you right back to your unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits that got you where you were in the first place.
Below are some of the reasons why diets don’t work.
• Many diets focus on only a few foods or food groups (like the cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet, raw food diets, and low-carb diets). Beware of any diet that rules out entire food groups. These restrictive diets usually do work at first, but fail over the long haul. Really, how much cabbage soup can you eat? Before long, you grow sick of eating the same foods every day, and start craving your favorite foods that lead you back to your former eating behaviors.
• Some diets have a ‘miracle’ food or ingredients (supplements, apple slices, green tea, apple cider vinegar, an obscure fruit, etc). No one single food or group of foods has any impact on weight loss. Plus, be cautious of any diet that recommends a shelf full of supplements or potions (especially if sold by the person recommending the diet). You don’t need expensive supplements, and you can get almost all nutrients from just eating healthy or taking a good multivitamin.
• Some diets involve fasting or eating very low calories. Beware though, because when you eat too few calories, your body thinks it is starving and adjusts its metabolism. Then, when you go back to normal eating (which you will), your metabolism doesn’t readjust so you need even fewer calories.
• Some diets make promises that just sound too good to be true. Which means they probably are not true at all. Or there are those diets that contradict science. Don’t waste your time, money, or energy.
Weight loss is not a simple 1, 2, 3, task. The best diet is a lifestyle change that is safe, realistic, and that you can stick to for the long term. You may want to visit with a Registered Dietician or join a group like Weight Watchers. Several times a year I offer a Lifestyle Change and Weight Management Class. This year my first class begins on Monday, January 26 at 12:30 -2:00. Class will meet at Round Island Baptist Church. Donations will be accepted. If you are interested, please call 256-614-3530 or visit my Facebook page, Janet’s Fitness.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.