The dieting season is fast approaching. Here are some statistics for you to think about:
• More than 70% of woman are currently on a diet
• Over 95% of dieters regain the weight within 1-3 years
As a nutritionist, many of the clients that come to see me have weight loss as one of their primary goals. Yes, as much as health and disease prevention should be our motivation, the reality is that most of us women just want to fit into our favorite jeans! While I do believe that a lasting approach to weight loss is actually grounded in healthy eating principles rather than “dieting” restrictions, I know that often the external results are a more immediate incentive than the health of our insides. I’m no different, as a woman I do care about my external appearance and so I relate to my clients who come to see me with an issue that many of them have been struggling with for years.
Of course we all want to be healthy, but how we feel about our bodies is reflected in our self-esteem, self-confidence and the energy we project out into the world. Therefore I think it’s important that we strive to get our bodies to a size (and this is different for everyone) where we are comfortable in our skin and no longer obsess about weight loss.
This often involves dealing with the external weight but also our internal belief systems and mindset. Many of us have been on a dieting roller coaster for so many years that we’ve lost a healthy perspective, which makes it even more difficult to approach weight loss in a healthy and permanent way.
I’ve been there too. I’ve tried every diet. Lost weight and gained weight. I can relate to the women I see every day and this is what fuels my passion for what I do. I want women to once and for all get off the dieting rollercoaster! Of all the myths and mistakes I see around weight loss, I believe the number one mistake women make is going for the fast and drastic solution. I continue to be surprised by the number of women that still believe avoiding carbohydrates or extreme calorie restriction is the solution (I won’t name names, but many of you know which diets I’m talking about). The reality is that 95% of these women gain all of the weight back, and often more.
I think for many people, their rationale is that they need something quick so they can see results and feel better. And then once they lose the weight, they will just maintain it in a health way. Here’s the problem with this strategy: you can’t maintain an unrealistic weight loss.
If you have drastically reduced your calories, limited carbs or fruit, etc you have also reset your body’s physiology and metabolism. As a result, when you go back to “normal and healthy” eating your body can actually gain weight. Not only do you gain the weight back, every time you go on this kind of diet you actually lower your metabolism. This makes it harder and harder to lose weight with each subsequent attempt! This is NOT the effect you want. As women we are already battling a declining metabolism as we age, the last thing you want to do is amplify this process.
The solution: a healthy holistic approach to weight loss. This includes eating the right whole foods at the right times, avoiding processed food and chemicals and taking the right supplements to round out your diet and maximize your nutritional status. You should be able to maintain your eating habits for life, if that’s not the case, you are probably not on the right program. A holistic approach also addresses potential digestive issues, and hormonal or systemic imbalances which make weight loss easier. Once your body is functioning optimally, your metabolism naturally kicks in.
It is truly the best strategy for a permanent healthy weight. And the bonus: lasting health and disease prevention.
To your health and happiness,