The other week I was doing a Facebook Live video in my Facebook group “Mums In Control”, telling the group why I think we should ditch the diets for good this year. I thought I would share with you my top three reasons why you should steer clear of dieting and what I recommend instead. I hope you find it useful.
1. Dieting is often just too extreme
Many diets recommend restrictions that are too severe, usually focusing on fast results. Of course, fast weight-loss is usually water and muscle glycogen (the store of sugar in the muscle) rather than fat. Severe energy restrictions result in fatigue, sleep problems and potential nutrient deficiencies among other things. Feeling tired and rubbish, you are more likely to fancy the fatty, sugary treats too. Then, when you finally give up, as severe energy restriction is just not sustainable, you go back to eating ‘normally’, you replace the water and muscle glycogen, and end up feeling even more rubbish as you’ve ‘failed’.
2. Following a diet-plan is too prescriptive
I’ve had a lot of people over the years ask me to just write them a diet-plan as they just want something easy to follow. I always refuse, because in my experience it just doesn’t work long-term, as it is too prescriptive. What I mean by this is that it might be ok for a week or two, but as soon as life gets in the way it becomes too difficult to stick to. As soon as you face difficult situations, a diet-plan isn’t going to help you. It also doesn’t necessarily take into account the issues you might have around food/eating. It would be much better to focus on resolving unhelpful thinking patterns instead – otherwise you could just be adding to those unhelpful thoughts if you fail ‘yet again’.
3. Dieting promotes an unhealthy attitude towards food
Many diets or slimming-clubs refer to some foods as ‘free’ or good foods and others as ‘bad’ or foods to avoid. They may split food into ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ – but this is oversimplifying nutrition. Often people then overeat on the ‘healthy’ or ‘good’ foods or feel guilty when they eat the ‘unhealthy’ or ‘bad’ foods. Overeating anything is likely to result in you taking in more energy than you need which then prevents weight-loss. However more important than this, the guilt from eating so-called ‘bad’ foods can lead to a cycle of binge-eating and feeling worse and worse.
So what can you do instead?
First of all, try to focus on eating a healthy balanced diet rather than focusing on restricting things. If you are feeling completely confused about what ‘healthy eating’ is, with all the conflicting advice in the media, or you’ve been yo-yo dieting for so long you’ve just lost track of what is normal healthy eating – don’t despair! I have some FREE webinars this week where I will be explaining and simplifying what we mean by ‘healthy eating’, including how treats such as cake and chocolate can be included as part of a healthy balanced diet! Click here for more details and to register.
I often talk about ‘tweaking’ things – in other words pick one or two small, but significant things you could change about your current eating habits that would improve your diet. Try to think about what you are doing in your normal day-to-day eating habits that is getting in the way of you managing your weight for good. Making small, but significant changes means the weight-loss is slower, but this is much healthier and easier to keep going in the long-term. However, it can require self-motivation to keep going when the results aren’t so quick. If you need a bit of help with this then check out my FREE e-book on self-motivation – click here to download your copy.
Finally try to focus on any unhelpful thinking patterns that are holding you back from managing your weight. Press the metaphorical pause button on a regular basis and try to ask yourself “Is this thought helping me?” If you can focus on changing your mindset to thinking in a way that will help you then the weight-loss will follow. If you’re struggling and need a bit of support with this then don’t forget I can work with you on a one-to-one basis wherever you are in the world via the magic of Skype! Click here to check out my one-to-one rates and packages and get in touch to book your FREE 20 minute consultation by messaging me – click here to contact me.