Not a day goes by without another story about the obesity crisis, usually accompanied by a call for governments to act, or for money to be spent or for more research. The problem with this is that people tend to, understandably, switch off and tend to think that the “problem” is too hard and that there is nothing they can do about it.
So what is it about diets and weight loss that is so hard? There is no shortage of diet plans, products services and practitioners lining up to help.
This secret if widely known would decimate the weight loss industry. Surgeons would have to go back to removing appendixes rather than banding stomachs. Late night television would need new sponsors. Public health departments would have to find some new crisis. Even big pharmaceutical companies would take a sizeable hit to their sales. Big dollars and egos are on the line. Those who read further must now take an oath of silence.
Now that you can see how much is at stake if this secret gets out, you can see why it is kept under wraps. So, with no regard to my own personal safety, it is hereby revealed.
Diets have only one moving part and therefore only one reason to work or not work. That moving part is the person doing it. There is no “diet” that does not work if it is followed faithfully and for long enough. The diet is an inanimate object.
In other words success or failure is about YOU, not the diet!
OK, now that we have that out of the way there are some key reasons why people do not succeed with diets and why there actually is a better way. In many instances the food program on a diet selected is very different to what you eat each day. After an initial surge of enthusiasm you tend to migrate back to your usual pattern of eating. Even if you stick it out for long enough to reduce some kilos, you may then go back to what you previously ate.
Guess what happens next. If following a certain eating pattern led you to become overweight, what is going to happen if you return to the same pattern? You will put the weight back on. Even though this comes as a surprise to people, when you think about it logically it should not. Doing the same thing will lead to the same result. Albert Einstein defined stupidity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.
When people talk about yo-yo dieting what they are saying is when I follow a certain eating pattern my weight moves in one direction and when I follow a different one my weight goes in the opposite direction. Once again this should not come as a surprise when looked at logically.
And therein lies the other key issue. We do not necessarily look at this logically but emotionally. We would rather blame the diet than recognize that it is us not it.
So is there a way off the yo-yo and a way to attain and maintain a healthy body weight? The answer is a resounding yes! It will come from changing eating patterns. This means examining the types and amounts of food we eat, when we tend to eat and how quickly we eat. These things are not complex.
Yet simple things both work and are easy to do.
The biggest change we need in our eating patterns is to slash the intake of refined carbohydrates, whether or not they have a tick. Our bodies are just not designed for them and up until 50 years ago we did not eat much of them. The explosion in consumption of refined carbohydrates came from the “fat is bad” mantra of the 1970s coupled with a trend to eat more processed foods. These foods are quickly absorbed and influence insulin release and in turn other hormones. Over time this plays havoc with our system. Good carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and whole grains do not get absorbed so quickly and do not wreak havoc with our hormones.
In simple terms the food we eat in boxes and packages is making us sick! The solution then is to change our eating patterns to be mainly foods, which grow in the ground or move around. Foods, which do not have labels or health claims. Foods, which a person who lived a century ago would recognize as food.
And if this was not simple enough, we have also had confirmation that one of the simplest ways to lose weight is to eat more slowly. A study of people eating ice cream, of all things, slowly (over 30 minutes instead of 5) had a different hormonal response in their blood stream leading them to feel full and eat less. It has previously been shown that eating quickly doubles the chances of being overweight and eating quickly till full trebles it.
What do we need to do?
- Eat more slowly
- Eat less refined carbohydrates
- Eat more whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains
- Get enough protein in your diet from either animal or vegetable source
- Drink water instead of other beverages.
It is important to know that there is much you can do yourself to bring about lasting improvement. None of these things are difficult, expensive or beyond your capabilities. All you require is the determination to act.