New Year’s Resolutions
It’s January – a time when we grimace at the bills rolling in and feel bad about festive overindulgence in terms of eating and drinking. It’s also a time when the whole world is obsessed with New Year’s Resolutions. With us being bombarded by colourful (yet often misleading) adverts! Adverts about every ‘miracle weight loss/ diet/healthcare revolution known to man or indeed womankind for that matter.
Now I don’t often mention the word ‘diet’ in my nutrition work, for me the word is synonymous with weight loss, cravings, painful denial, restrictive rules and more often than not misery at the end of it. I am going to let you into a little secret too… “they don’t work”.
I love to talk about biology and nutritional science, but there’s always good reasons behind this. For example, a lot of my nutritional work is around preventative nutrition, using the right foods to fuel the body and reduce the need for medication later on – I focus a lot on children’s health as getting nutrition right with children is surely THE BEST form of prevention as they get older? This isn’t about the kids though, this is actually about you so back to diets!
Here are my top 5 reasons why we shouldn’t diet: –
- Diets tend to focus on total body weight and what the scales say. The scales are not your friend, they do not tell you if you are losing lean mass/water or fat. What we want to lose is fat. Hide your scales and use a tape measure instead.
- Calorie restrictions can cause additional fat storage – our bodies are very clever but biologically we haven’t changed much since early man.
Consider our ancestors when food was scarce, their bodies would go into protective mode, this means our brains slow us down to conserve energy. Ever wondered why you feel so sluggish when you skip meals? Your body is trying to protect you. The difference is we are now choosing not to eat deliberately (our body just cannot understand that one!). Fat is considered a valuable resource to our body, much more than lean tissue, so when your body thinks you are starving it very cleverly tries to protect you by keeping hold of your fat. The exact opposite of what you wanted it to do! A by product of continued calorie restriction is a slower metabolism meaning you will find it much ever to burn fat and feel energy transfer from food.
- Diet foods. Now, where do I start with this one! Let’s just look at the fact that since the launch of the diet industry in the 1970’s global obesity rates have risen considerably and continue to do so despite the growing number of people on diets. Diet foods are very contradictory they;
- Actually slow down your metabolism making it harder to burn fat
- Are often full of sugar
- Are full of artificial sweeteners which damage your good gut bacteria making it harder to metabolise fat
- Encourage sweet cravings
- Eliminate essential fats, eating essential fats actually helps the body to metabolise fats.
- Cause blood sugar spikes and drops which cause both a metabolic and neurological cycle of hormones which cause your blood sugar and mood to go up and down like a YoYo
- Are full of chemicals
- Are lacking in nutrients
- Self-esteem ☹. This is a big one for me, I see many people who have lived on diets for years, decades even yet have never felt at ease with food or with their own bodies. That makes me sad because you are amazing, the fact you were born is a mathematical improbability and then you’ve done all the things you have done in your life because of your body so lets me kind to ourselves and our wonderful bodies. Nutrition is incredible complex this is why I have studied it for years but when you get it right you see what your body can do and how you can feel at ease. Try it! Ditch the scales, stop counting calories, remove the chemicals and see how it goes! I am on hand to help 😊. Remember it’s important not to count calories with children or have ‘special meals’ for diet purposes, children pick up on that relationship with food and we don’t want that!
- Stress! Dieting can make you stressed! If the thought of going out for a meal with friends puts you in a panic about what you can eat or the dreaded weekly weigh in with those ghastly clubs gives you palpitations then guess what? You’re going to store more fat because stress increases our stress hormone Cortisol and Cortisol increases abdominal fat. Remove the pressure and the weight will come off much easier. When I work with clients weight loss is a feature of our consultation but not the primary focus, you would be amazed how it happens when you focus on other areas of your health.
I could carry on but you get the theme?
So, there are my top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t go on a diet. I hope I have managed to persuade you and even to pop along to my website/social media or award-winning nutritional cook book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’ for families for more info.