I have been reading a few books lately mostly specifically about sugar, grains and weight loss and the interesting thing is that they exactly mirror my beliefs on this subject. 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 succeeding and spending 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…
- Counting of calories
Whether it’s calories, points, syns or whatever you want to call it there is 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.
c) if you are constantly hungry, you can’t function at your optimal levels
d) calories are not calories – the body processes all different food stuffs in different ways, some are beneficial for your body and some will thwart your efforts. Like sugar for example – an excess of fructose sugar in your body turns immediately to fat.
Studies done 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.)
Don’t get me wrong, exercise is great for other things like stress relief, for your lymphatic and cardio vascular system etc however the “I can eat these 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 they say, how active you are all day is important for fuel usage, not just during your hour of exercise. (Read more about that here.)
- Sugar/fructose and it’s effect on hunger hormone
Excess fructose in the body (normal sugar is half fructose) messes with your appetite hormones, which is why when you eat this stuff you can eat and eat and never feel full. There are other hormones too tracking the amount of fat you have in your body but when fructose messes with them too, and no signals get through, your body thinks it doesn’t have any fat stores and so keeps allowing you to shovel it in.
I know personally when I stopped eating refined sugar, all my compulsive eating tendencies stopped immediately. Even now I have all my healthy treats lined up in the fridge and even if I think I fancy them, when I’m not hungry, I really don’t want them. They almost repulse me. Where as previously, not being hungry was never a deterrent. I would eat it anyway – then feel guilty as well as full and sick.
- 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 is relevant to some because they love exercise and want to be buff. When I was trying to lose weight all I wanted to do was fit into normal clothes, not be a figure competitor and that takes a whole different 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 up with the exercise or more the point – make you feel bad because you don’t want to do it! (Read more about that in my book Lite as a Feather!)
- Sustainability for the long haul
And even if you can keep up the starvation or exercise for a bit, it’s the long haul we need to consider most. There are so many stories of – I lost quite a bit but now I have put it all back on.
Creating an awesome lifestyle that you want to do, 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. Unless it’s ringing all your bells and keeping you happy and satisfied along the way, you know what? It won’t be a happy place when you get there either – just ask Weight Watchers Wendy!
Find your happy,