With the new year just beginning, a lot of people have made resolutions to start focusing more on their health and trying to lose weight. Wanting to lose weight is nothing new, and there are seemingly endless amounts of advice, diets, and methods of how to go about taking off unwanted pounds.
In recent years there seems to be a group epiphany within some health and lifestyle groups: Diets do not work! Sure they can help to jump-start a new eating plan, but in the end, they are more likely to leave you hungry and resentful. But there is a light on the horizon. By changing your way of thinking and the way that you look at food, you can make a change that will last and give you many more benefits than a simple diet ever could.
Here are some reasons that diets are not healthy solutions to your weight woes:
- The deprivation of restrictive diets may lead to a diet-overeat or diet-binge cycle. And since your body doesn't want you to starve, it responds to overly-restrictive diets by slowing your metabolism which of course makes it harder to lose weight.
- Fad diets can be harmful since they may lack essential nutrients. Moreover, they teach you nothing about healthy eating. So when you have "completed" your fad diet, you simply boomerang back to the unhealthy eating patterns that caused your weight gain in the first place! This is the beginning of "yo-yo dieting" or a lot of back and forth, which can bring its own health problems in their wake.
- Overly restrictive diets can take all the pleasure out of eating. Which to some may seem like a benefit, but it is really not. The emotional stress of that way of thinking will make it so much harder to make lasting changes.
- Dieting, along with the frequent and compulsive weighing that accompanies it, can lead to eating disorders. According to one source, people who diet are eight times as likely to develop an eating disorder as people who do not. The constant attention on just the weight loss results can mean that you miss the bigger picture. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are exercising and feeding your body properly, you may hit a weight-loss “plateau” but still lose inches and feel better than you did before.
- Many people who do not have previous success in making healthy changes can fall into the diet pill trap. These special pills and powders will cost you time, money, and possibly your health. Some of these things can cause long term negative effects on your heart or stomach. And of course, have you ever noticed that every diet product claims it will be wondrously effective "if used simultaneously with a healthy diet and regular exercise program”? Skip the magic potions--it is the healthy eating and exercise that are actually the effective ingredients.
- You aren’t working out. They say it’s about 80/20. Diet is 80% and exercise is 20%. Even with the healthiest of diets, if a person is not moving their body, it will be extremely difficult to lose weight. A workout is just a small part of a healthy lifestyle, but it still needs to be a part of it. Even if you just pull on your best walking shoes and take a stroll around the neighborhood, it’s better than staying still.
This is the first major shift in your thinking. By saying that you are “going on a diet”, you are indicating that you plan to make a temporary change, as one would “go on a vacation”. Quick fixes lead to quick results that quickly vanish, leaving you disappointed and frustrated. A frightening statistic found that of the people who lose weight from a temporary diet, about 95% gain all the weight or more back within 1-5 years.
A better way of thinking is to develop healthier habits or focus on nutrition itself. Plan your meals around what your body gets out of the food rather than what you are trying to stop eating. For example, start eating more non-processed foods or more lean protein and vegetables. When you start feeling the difference from eating more healthy foods, your body will respond in kind by craving healthier options and feeling not as good when you dip into unhealthy choices.
Keep it Simple
Make small changes. This cannot be stressed enough! One mistake that many people make, is to try to introduce all the changes that they want to make into their lives all at once. Giving them a whole lot more to juggle and not enough time to adjust and learn from the differences inhabits. Habits are the way to go! For example, if you can make a habit of eating smaller meals more often, it can keep your metabolism up and running and help your body become primed for weight-loss.
As we said earlier, if you put your body into “starvation mode” it can result in weight gain or of course, starve your body of much-needed vitamins and nutrients.
Change Your Definition of Success
The last, and often most difficult thing to change is the way that you view success. Many people plan to become “healthier” but then only look to the bathroom scale to give them feedback. Your weight cannot give you an accurate overall view of your body’s health.
To get a better understanding of how your health is, you need to evaluate how you feel, both physically and mentally. If you are tired all the time, feeling sluggish, or sick- then your body is crying out for something! Before beginning a big push toward healthier living, the best thing that you can do is go to your doctor and get a physical done, preferably with a blood test. Tell your physician that you are planning to change your lifestyle and ask which areas, if any, need help. You may be surprised at which aspects of your health need a change, and which you are actually doing pretty well with.
Another big indication of your health is endurance, or how much energy you have to sustain an activity. That could mean in the gym, or in your daily life. So if you are exhausted after a day of moderate work or a small amount of exercise, that could be something that you could work on. Once you begin to have more energy for those things, you know that you are making progress and can pat yourself on the back for reaching a new milestone.
Celebrate small steps, and soon they will become leaps of progress. This will also save you from becoming discouraged.
Get a Move On
Exercise is so important, and you’ll need to change your way of thinking regarding exercise as well as diet. Start from the ground up by choosing supportive athletic shoes and hit the pavement. Or the gym. Whatever you decide to do to get your heart pumping, the best way to stay motivated to work out consistently is to carve out a regular spot in your daily routine for exercise. If you always work out at 6 a.m., then you know it’s coming, and you can avoid being too busy for it.
Hopefully, these tips will help to steer you toward a new way of thinking about your health. Dump the diet, strive for long-term changes, and you will be happier that you did. Plus, when adding more fitness to your routine is part of that goal, KURU will be right there offering superior comfort and support with our KURUSOLE™ technology and large selection of running shoes and other daily styles. Go out, chase your goals, and cheers to a new year and a new you!