They’re everywhere, with promises of lost weight and inches. They involve shakes, magic teas, food combinations and exclusions, pills, portion control and who knows what else. They’re advertised heavily and all of them claim to work. They’ve got testimonials as proof, and even more convincing, they’ve got pictures!!
They’re diets, and they’re designed to help us hapless Americans do what so many of us are obsessed with: lose weight. If we could just be a little bit thinner, if we could just get rid of that flab at the back of our arms and the spare tire around our stomach, if we could just look a little more like the svelte celebrities in the gossip magazines we secretly read, life would be so much better.
Yet we strive to be thin, and diets are the vehicle of choice to the land of Thinness. More often than not, however, they just take us to the world of Yo-Yo where all the weight we lose slowly creeps back on until we’re forced to start all over again.
It seems that when losing weight enters the picture, common sense flies out the window. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you eat only bananas and drink a “special” combination of lemon juice and raspberry tea (warning, this is not a real diet, it’s one I just made up) you’re probably going to lose weight. I’d be concerned if you didn’t.
It also shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that when you stop subsisting off your ridiculously limited menu and return to eating like a normal person, you’re going to gain it all back, and probably more.
Yet women engage in this outright stupidity on a regular basis, and then wonder why just can’t seem to keep the weight off. Really ladies? You’ve got women’s intuition, how about tapping into some of that women’s intelligence as well. If it’s a temporary fix, it’s going to provide temporary results. If it’s something you can’t sustain for the rest of your life, then you’re just going to gain any weight you lose back. Why is this complicated?
Some people amaze me. They eat pizza at midnight and wonder why they can’t get rid of their tummy. They spend their life “trying to lose” the 50 pounds they’ve packed on over the years, yet every time someone in their family gets ill or they have some sort of emotional setback, they turn to food for comfort. They actively sabotage themselves and then dazedly wondering why they just….can’t….lose the weight. Umm, maybe because you eat 3,000 calories a day and never work out? Just a guess.
Some people are so desperate they’ll even turn to pills to suppress their appetite, completely harming their bodies and ignoring the fact that a) they have an appetite for a reason – because their body needs fuel for energy and b) by suppressing their appetite all they’re doing is ensuring they’ll have no energy and their body’s metabolism will slow down to compensate for the lack of fuel.
Diet plans like SlimFast and Weight Watchers are just variations on this tomfoolery. Of course if you replace two meals with shakes you’re going to lose weight. Of course if you eat minimal portions you’re going to lose weight. Can you sustain this for the rest of your life? Highly doubtful. Will you keep the weight off if you can’t sustain what helped you lose it? I’m going with no. Again, why is this complicated?
Instead of resorting to quick fixes and desperation tactics, why not just utilize a sensible long-term strategy that you can actually continue for the rest of your life? Instead of a diet, why not make an actual lifestyle change? Yes, I know, this seems scary. A diet is short-term. A lifestyle change means you’re going to have to stick with this for the long haul, and you’re not sure you can commit. But until you do, you won’t lose the weight, so get over it and get going.
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t complicated. You just have to:
-stop eating when you’re full and eat only when you’re hungry – this might seem pretty obvious but you’d be surprised how many people are overweight simply because they eat for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Frankly, it’s sad.
-eliminate the junk food, fast food and mega-desserts and replace them with more fruits and vegetables
-eat smaller portions more frequently to keep your energy up and your metabolism in high-gear instead of pigging out three times a day
-work out (cardio) for at least 45 minutes at least 4 times a week
-eat plenty of protein and whole grains and minimize the processed foods and sugar
-drink mainly water and avoid any drink that has caloric or sugar content unless it’s milk, tea or a healthy juice
Forget the “diet” foods, as these are just devoid of nutrients, lower in fat (which your body actually needs in moderation) lower in calories – ensuring you’ll still feel hungry – and higher in sugar, which your body definitely doesn’t need.
Stop measuring all your portions, only allowing yourself to have 15 almonds and 12 raisins, scratching mayo off the list and being super-paranoid about everything you eat. Just relax. You need to get in tune with your body and work with it instead of against it. Stop denying your body things and overwatching what you eat. Your body is an engine designed to burn fuel; give it what it needs nutritionally and it will give you what you want aesthetically.
It’s really that simple. You have to wonder how people can make it so complicated through silly diets and self-sabotage. Stop eating for reasons other than health and nourishment and start eating to give your body what it needs.