Simply put, diets suck; they don’t work and can actually harm your physical and emotional health. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can break free of the “diet trap” and retrain your brain to overcome self-sabotage and help you live healthier, happier and with more energy. But first, you’re probably wondering why I say diets are so bad for you. Here, from my e-book Losing Weight Without Losing Your Mind, are five simple, but important reasons to stop dieting so you can start down the path toward healthier living:
Reason #1: Calorie Restrictions Shut Down Your Metabolism
It’s tempting to think the answer to weight loss is easy: eat less, exercise more, lose weight. If only that were true! Many dieters start by reducing their food intake, sometimes drastically, in an effort to cut calories. The problem with this approach is that dropping your caloric intake too low can cause your metabolism to shut down. No metabolism = no weight loss!
What’s more, you won’t be able to maintain a low-calorie starvation-style diet forever; and as soon as you can’t take it anymore, you will probably go into full-blown binge mode and gain back what you lost – and more! The only thing you’ll end up losing is your self-esteem.
Here’s why deep calorie restriction diets are so harmful: When you feel hungry, your brain sends sugar cravings in order to increase glucose (blood sugar). Then your body shuts down metabolism and starts storing fat. This makes your body go into conservation mode where it stores unused energy as fat. Instead of burning fat, it uses up muscle tissue which is your body’s natural fat burner. Pretty soon, your body systems are conspiring against your weight loss!
Reason #2: Diets are Temporary Solutions
Diets are almost always seen as a way to achieve the singular quantifiable goal of reaching a desired weight. In truth, the real goal of body transformation should be two-fold: reach a healthy weight and maintain it. This requires not the short-term solution of fad dieting, but actual positive behavioral changes you can maintain for a lifetime. Want to be slimmer and live healthier for the long haul? Eat smaller, more frequent meals and snacks; choose better foods that give you more energy over time; and drink more water. Sure, you can eat junk food once in awhile, but when you engage in a truly transformative healthier lifestyle plan, you won’t even want to.
Reason #3: Diets Don’t Focus on the Reasons Why You Overeat
Just as medicine doesn’t treat the reasons why you get sick, neither do diets get to the root cause of why you gained weight and continue to overeat (or eat the wrong things). But for lasting change and body transformation – which could change your life for the better – you need to change your behavior and the mindset that fuels that behavior. What keeps many people from diving deeper into the underlying causes of unhealthy eating is the notion – okay, the reality – that dieting is painful. I agree; dieting is no fun at all. But I also know that becoming thinner and happier can be a blast if you approach it with the right attitude and know how to do it right! This starts with focusing on the root causes of your current eating behaviors.
Reason #4: People Expect Diets to Fail From the Get-Go
Why do you think most people set the same New Year’s resolutions year after year? Because they didn’t work the last time, right? And why didn’t they work before? Because they didn’t really expect them to work. Maybe they (you?) started out with good intentions and a positive attitude, but your internal self-talk probably told a different story. Did you secretly say to yourself, “I sure hope it works this time” or “I guess we’ll see how it turns out”? If that sounds like your pep talk, it needs a serious makeover. People who succeed are much more likely to say, “I’m in it to win it, and sooner or later I will win! I will find a way to make this work!” And then they DO make it work.
Reason #5: Dieting Leaves You Feeling Hungry and Deprived
As I mentioned before, typical calorie-restriction, starvation-style diets turn your body against you. They leave you feeling hungry, feeling deprived and even depressed. Guess what? That makes you want to cope with these feelings the way you typically have – by eating more of the wrong things. And when you sabotage your diet (because your diet is sabotaging you), you are set up for another failure.
A Better Way
Knowing these five reasons diets fail might make you think there’s no hope. Wrong! You can break free of the diet trap and put yourself on the path to healthier living and sustainable body transformation. It starts with knowledge, attitude, and a willingness to change your behaviors. I’ll share more in future posts. In the meantime, you can jump-start your healthier lifestyle by checking out my e-book, Losing Weight Without Losing Your Mind. For more information on how you can take charge of making positive life changes, click here or contact me at 317.579-7500.
Tim Shurr, MA, is President of Shurr! Success, Inc., a personal and professional development company based in Indianapolis, and Director of Indy Hypnosis Center. He is an award-winning speaker, business strategist, TV personality, and an internationally known expert in Peak Performance. For more tips, visit OvercomeSelfSabotageNow.com or www.indyhypnosis.com/blog.