You are probably struggling to lose weight and you think its easier to gain success in your weight loss goal by going on diet. Well, you should be wary of that method– experts warn of the potential danger of adding more weight in the long run.
This is not exactly undermining the positive effects of going on diets – they work too if done properly. People have had testimonies of been helped through a combination of eating differently and less.
But the fact is that most times, the weight comes rushing back like an uncontrolled wave – sometimes even more than before. At least this happens to most dieters according to researches. What really is the cause of this, why do people find it so difficult to keep away from excess weight, despite trying so hard?
I recently held an interview session with two behavioural change and weight loss psychologists, Dr. Aria Campbell-Danesh and Dr. Lucy Faulco. We discussed extensively on the reasons why it seems so difficult for people to maintain weight loss. Of course, he has a lot to tell. There was a lot of unlearning and relearning, but the following are the points that stood the most out.
Dieting Involves a Lot Of Deprivation
Dieter is mostly restricted on what to eat. You’re either not eating carbs, refined sugar, fat, or you’re simply having them in very low quantity. Placing these limitations may feel so much like fun at first, but things subsequently change.
In time, you’ll begin to feel so much gap. The thoughts come rolling… “If only I could eat this and that,” The longing increases as you see people feast on the forbidden foods. Will power is something that gets to wear away, and with time, you are going to indulge. It sometimes gets so bad that you end up binging on the foods you miss so badly.
When we feel restricted on certain kinds of foods, our mind tends to get fixated on them, thus causing our motivation to climb low over time.
Diets Are Temporary
The whole diet thing is temporary, meaning if I’m on a diet now, then logically, I should be off diet sometime in the future. Most diet programs are structured to last over a fixed period, like “The 17 Days Diet,” “The 22 Day Revolution”, ” The 30 Days of Whole 30″, and many others like them.
The fact that diets preach restriction, we almost inevitably fall back to the same diet we were running from. We may end up covering up for the times we stayed without them by binging on them.
Dieting Lowers Metabolism
According to Aria, most of what we tend to lose when on such a diet is our muscles and not the actual fat. This will automatically slow down our body metabolism. Our bodies also learn to extract more energy from the food we eat, slowing down metabolism in the process. This effect can be seen more on people that have been obese.
The rapid drop in metabolism makes it a tough task to maintain weight loss, meaning that we’ll need to double up on our work to avoid gaining back lost weight.
Maintenance Lacks Proper Motivation.
The initial progress you get in shedding weight can be exciting and can be enough motivation to spur us on. The people around us also serve great motivation as they compliment the weight we lose.
But as time goes on, as we get to our target, our progress seems to get stalled. There’s hardly any change at this stage to keep us motivated. Thus, we experience lowered inspiration for maintaining gain.
What’s The Alternative?
I had some luck, my interviewees were in the mood, they didn’t stop at talking about the obstacles of maintaining weight loss through dieting, they also offered proven alternatives that will work. It was a relief seeing that they both agreed on the main points:
- Ditch the Diets: seeing that diets are effective for a short time and counter-effective in the long run, my guests suggested that we stop looking at them as solutions. Programs that promise quick progress in weight loss is not really recommended as a lasting solution. What’s needed however is a plan that’s sensible and guaranteed to work in the long run.
- Shift Your Mindset: We progress as much as we learn to control our minds. It is the decisive room on how much we want to progress towards weight loss goals. Working on a change of mindset can become the needed step towards success. For instance, instead of focusing on food deprivation, we can rather focus on trying to feel good with eating true life-giving food.
- Change Your Habits: it takes a lot of practice to reach long term change in nutrition. It takes a gradual step, making incremental changes as time progresses. You can start by adding one meal, before moving to add other meals.
- Embrace Balance: eating right is good, as much as exercise. It is right to find a point of balance where we can successfully mix up the two, without taking any to the extreme. This way, positive changes are guaranteed. You must understand that its effect on you may be quite different from that in another person. Understand what works well for you and follow strictly.
- Practice Acceptance: In the process of trying to lose weight, you must understand that it’s going to take a gradual and relatively difficult process. We must learn to accept not to return to our old ways. It takes a lot of conviction to accept that our eating habit may change forever. Instead of fighting these changes, e can learn to adopt them and begin to live them.