So Many Diet Myths So Little Time
Let’s first take a look at the Seven Diet Myths of weight loss:
- Dieting is the only way to lose weight and keep it off.
- You need strong will-power to lose weight.
- That there exists a “best diet” (book shops are full of Best Diets!)
- If we eat foods in certain combinations, or if we have grapefruit before we eat, or if we avoid a certain food group, etc. will help us lose weight.
- Exercise should be hard and sweaty – if there’s no pain, there’s no gain.
- An Ideal Body is a “size 2”.
- Losing weight is hard; it takes a lot of time; it’s expensive.
Let’s start with myth number one… that dieting is the way to lose weight and keep it off.
People believe that when we diet, it’s an effective way to lose weight, and then, because we were on a diet, now we’re going to be able to maintain that weight loss and remain ‘slim’, because we’ve got rid of our fat, right?
The truth is that dieting is a temporary solution. For one thing, it sets us up to feel deprived. We find the very things we tell ourselves we can’t have are constantly on our minds. It doesn’t change any habits from the inside. This feeling of deprivation results in binge eating and cheating on the diet.
As a culture, most of us who have dieted end up not only gaining the weight back, but gaining the weight back plus some more pounds. This proven phenomenon is due to the fact that dieting slows your metabolism down. During dieting, our bodies go into “starvation” mode – a survival mechanism for when humans face periods of famine. So cutting back our energy intake (dieting) causes the body to lower its metabolic rate, which in turn, reduces its ability to burn fat. In fact, it thinks it desperately needs to store fat to keep you alive! And worse, hunger signals increase and we crave food that is high-energy, loaded with fats and sugars – the very things we are trying to do without.
Then, after dieting, when you return to normal eating habits, the drop in your metabolic rate (caused by the diet) means that your old eating habits now represent an excess in calories – this explains why you not only regain the fat you just lost, but often gain a little extra.
Myth number two: you need willpower to lose weight.
Well, if you are on some of the crazy diets doing the rounds, you probably do need willpower to stick it out! Whenever you force yourself to do something difficult, unnatural and unpleasant, it takes willpower to stick with it. But who wants to live like that? That is not what life is about. There is a better way and it’s not about stressing yourself to force yourself to do something. It’s about learning how to lose weight in an easy, effortless way that only requires you to tap in to your desire. Not to struggle, fight and take over your brain.
It is possible to eat filling, healthy meals which allows for treats and lose weight at the same time. We call this intentional eating and natural eating. It’s common-sense eating!
Myth number three, that there’s a best diet… well, we’ve already explained to you about all diets and how they do more damage than they do good. If there really was a best diet, then everyone would be on it and there’d be no overweight people anymore. The fact that the dieting industry is raking in millions each year from overweight people searching for the best diet is proof of that.
The best diet is not a diet at all. It is eating naturally, taking clues from your body, not over-eating, eating healthy foods, not depriving yourself of treats, and losing weight in a careful, safe and permanent manner. Each of us, as unique individuals, has to find our own way to eat naturally for ourselves and that is not a diet program. Diets don’t work.
As for Myth number 4, there is no scientific proof that this ‘myth’ has any foundation of truth in it. And if it were true, we’d all be having success with it – instead, we find it makes no difference. This is just a silly way to eat.
There are no magical foods. The belief that if we eat foods in certain combinations, or if we have grapefruit before we eat, or if we don’t eat this food group – simply doesn’t work. If that worked, again, we’d all have these wonderful, thin bodies. No food is magical. Every food has nutritional energetic qualities and that’s all.
Some foods contain more nutritional qualities than others and are more filling. Without living on lettuce leaves and dry crackers, it is possible to enjoy something from all the food groups, and including treats like ice-cream, in moderation. Sometimes when we get a craving for something, like chocolate or ice-cream, we feel once we’ve opened the pack, we have to eat the entire thing. We don’t. Sometimes all we need/want is a taste, a few bites, and the craving is satisfied.
Myth number 5, that Exercise has to be hard – no pain, no gain – has done more damage than good. Quite apart from the very real physical dangers we can face by pushing our bodies over the limit, if we’re struggling to exercise, if we’re sweating and if there’s pain, it’s not joyful, and chances are we won’t stick with it and we’ll tax our bodies. Then our bodies will hang on to calories and say, “Wow, we need even more calories and fat because we’re working so hard.”
The truth is that moving our bodies is natural and easy. We don’t need to spend time in the gym. We can do it in a way that feels good to us and just add more movement in our daily activities. For example: While sitting in a chair, watching TV, you can raise your legs to knee height and lower them again – sound silly? Try doing 20 of these!
We have a lot to thank the tabloids, glossy magazines and movies for with Myth number 6 – that an ideal body is a size 2. That would be fine if we were all a certain height, certain bone structure and naturally thin. But we’re different heights and shapes and some of us have heavy bones and some have light, petite frames. Quite simply, we can’t all be size 2, and for many of us, that starved, gaunt look is simply unattractive, not to mention unhealthy.
An ideal is the right size for us to keep our weight the same easily, effortlessly, and joyfully, and to have health and well being in our body. An ideal body looks great and feels great. Clothe sizing is simply a means of helping shoppers more quickly identify what garment is more likely to fit them.
And finally, we come to Myth number 7, that losing weight is hard; it takes a lot of time; and it’s expensive. Well, if you’re going to keep up with all the latest fad diets, yes, you’ll spend a fair amount of time and money on this, and you’ll be weighing this and counting the calories of that, and feeling stressed and deprived and because diets don’t work, you’ll keep trying new ones!
An ideal body is a “well” body, where the weight you create is the best weight for you. It’s where you feel good and look good. It’s easy to stay at that weight. You’re healthy. You can enjoy your life and you feel good about yourself. An ideal body weight is not determined by a chart, or some expert from a glossy magazine determining we should all be a size 2!
Effective Weight Loss Tips
Six Tips for Effective Weight Loss
- Don’t Diet! Don’t even think the word! This word equates with deprivation, struggle, difficulty – which really does describe what diets are all about. Think “sensible eating”, “eating in moderation”, and “eating with intention” instead.
- Drink plenty of fresh water – this not only helps you to feel full so you may eat less, but it also helps to flush toxins out of your body and keep your body hydrated. Sometimes when we get “hunger signals”, these are really “thirst signals”, so before heading for the food, try a glass of water first.
- Eat adequate fiber foods to help keep things moving through your bowel. And like water, fiber rich foods bulk you up and make you feel full… there is NO need to over-eat on fiber rich foods, and in fact, that is not a good idea!
- Ensure your diet is balanced and that you get plenty of fruit and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Eat more “healthy” fats, like cold-water fish (mackerel, salmon), nuts, and olive oil to increase your metabolism. Chilies also increase your metabolic rate, but this doesn’t mean you have to always eat chili dishes! Take a fresh chili and add thin slices to your salads, sandwiches, as a topping for vegetables or meat. This way your family does not have to eat the chili with you and you can determine how much and how often you wish to eat it.
- Incorporate more movement into your daily activity. We don’t say “exercise” because that implies sweating and hard work! If you want to work out at a gym, fine. If you don’t like organized aerobics or gym classes, there are other ways to increase activity into your day without regimented exercise programs.