I have been reading a few health books lately, specifically about grains and weight loss. The interesting thing is that they exactly mirror my beliefs on this subject and reveal at least five weight loss mistakes that people make.
My beliefs of course stem from my own experience but also of witnessing the plight of others who keep trying to do the ‘diet and exercise’ advice and fail spectacularly for years. Some never succeed and spend most of their lives miserable. (After dishing out hundreds of dollars on programs that can never work.)
So let’s take a look at what is wrong here…
Eating low calories
Whether it’s calories, points, syns or whatever you want to call it, there are a number of issues with the restriction of calories dieting method…
a) it doesn’t address the root of the problem which is covered in number three.
b) your body is a super efficient functioning machine and if you restrict calories, it responds by becoming more efficient at operating at the lower level of calories. That is it lowers your metabolism. Not exactly the desired effect.
c) if you are constantly hungry, you can’t function at your optimal levels
d) calories are not just calories – the body processes all different food stuffs in different ways. Some are beneficial for your body and some will thwart your efforts. Like poly unsaturated fats for example – they impair thyroid function and ability to process carbs.
e) your body needs a certain number of calories to function properly. If you constantly eat below that level, any weight loss achieved is only temporary and the development of health issues is usually the end result. So it’s not sustainable at all.
Studies on exercise and weight loss demonstrated that without any changes to food intake, the partaking of moderate exercise had no effect whatsoever on weight loss.
(Unless you were doing heavy exercise for at least 2 hours a day or more. Only a tiny percentage of us can or want to keep that up ongoing. However it decreases your metabolism in the process. This makes it more difficult to keep off weight long term and you eventually develop health issues because of it.)
Don’t get me wrong, a small amount of exercise is great for other things like stress relief, for your lymphatic and cardio vascular system. The “I can eat 4 donuts because I will burn it off later” myth is just that. A myth.
You use more of your intake of fuel for your daily normal living activity than during exercise. This is why how active you are all day is important for fuel usage, not just during your hour of exercise. (Read more about that here.)
The right type of food
If you’re eating a grain/starch based diet that sends your blood sugar sky high, creates endotoxin in the gut and damages your gut lining, then your weight loss pursuits may be successful in the short term – as in the starch solution diet. But long term your health will suffer. If your diet is more balanced with fruit, protein, some vegetables and a little sugar, then you are more likely to be successful because all your body’s nutrient needs are being met.
(All beneficial foods to have are detailed in the ZEN Beach Diet.)
It’s not designed for you specifically
Whoever’s diet you are trying to follow, whether it’s a celebrity or slimming company – what do they know about you? Do they know your start point? Do they know your goals? If you are 100kgs and are just trying to get to 80kgs what relevance has a 1200 calorie, exercise like a maniac plan to you?
It may be relevant to some because they love exercise and are happy to be buff at the expense of their health. But when I was trying to lose weight all I wanted to do was fit into normal clothes and maintain my health, not be a figure competitor. So this takes a whole different, easier approach.
Following a plan that is not suited to you will only make you starve and feel like a failure when you can’t keep it up. Or when the exercise is too intense it makes you feel bad because you don’t want to do it!
(I wrote all about my weight loss mistakes in my first book – Lite as a Feather!)
Sustainability for the long haul
Even if some people can keep up the starvation or exercise for a bit, can they do it long term? There are so many stories of – I lost quite a bit, but now I have put it all back on.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Creating an awesome lifestyle that you love to do and want to keep up forever is the answer.
It involves learning about your own body and what it needs to function at optimal levels. Understanding what certain foods do to you and how they may be sabotaging all your efforts.
So just a couple of things you may want to consider:-
If you are constantly hungry – it’s the wrong plan for you.
If you have cravings that are never satisfied – you’re eating the wrong food.
If you view your exercise program with dread and hate doing it – it’s the wrong plan for you.
If you have to always use willpower and motivation to do it – it’s the wrong plan for you.
By all means take a look at some of the options around but tweak them to suit you. Does it ringing all your bells and keeping you happy and satisfied along the way? If not, it won’t be a happy place when you get there either – just ask Weight Watchers Wendy!
Find your happy,
NB: I have finally worked out the formula that works for me. It is based on the Dr Ray Peat style of health and encourages a fast metabolism and healthy hormones. Read more about it in my two books One Ten Toned and the Zen Beach Diet, both available here.