How Diets Ruin Your Chances Of Weight Loss
You’ve probably tried a diet before or you’re probably looking for the best diet. Have you been looking around recently and asking people, “hey, have you heard about a good diet?” or “what have you done to lose weight recently?” and thought “oh, maybe this is the final diet that’s going to help me lose that weight for good or get healthy or good get ribbed or have those muscles that I wanted to show or that bikini body” or whatever it is you’re trying to shoot for. Have you thought about that recently? Most people have. In fact, most people in their 40’s have been through 40 to 50 different diets in different times in their life and unfortunately, diets don’t work. You’ve probably heard me say that before, you’ve probably heard that other places but that doesn’t stop people from still trying to find the perfect diet so that they can lose weight quickly and look good.
And I understand that, we all have been through that, I’ve been through that during my life. I’ve tried to find things that help me cut off a little bit in the belly, I’ve tried to find diets that help me have more energy or find diets that help other people lose weight and what I’ve come to find with all of the data that’s out there and all the experience that I’ve had with my patients and in my own life, is that diets don’t work. And there’s a really big important thing that everybody needs to realize with that, is that diets, not only that do they not work, they actually can harm your health and cause significant problems going forward.
So, three things that you need to know. Number one, restrictive dieting can cause nutrient depletion in the body. So, it can be as subtle as not having the right minerals in the body that cause you to have things like sugar cravings or cause you to being depressed or more at risk for infections and it could be as severe as having protein deficiencies that cause you to have heart problems. So, when we talk about dieting, you are three times more likely to gain weight over the next five years if you go on a diet, and the statistics don’t get any better from there. In fact, out of a 100 people who go on a diet, 10 of them, 10 of those 100 people will actually have a decent or significant weight loss with that. 40 of those people are not going to have any benefit whatsoever, in fact, they’re probably going to be about the same as they were before. And 50 of those people are actually going to gain weight on that diet, so it tells you that no diet is really good for any one person. Instead, we should be thinking about what do I do every single day and what can I keep doing every single day.
The problem with dieting is it’s so extreme that you can’t keep it up and it doesn’t matter what you do, any time you put your body through some big change like that or you drastically cut calories, that first week is a magic week and everybody banks on that, all the big companies, all the gurus on weight loss, bank on that first week because you’re going to lose weight doing whatever they say. And then after that, boom, it stops and it becomes so much harder and then what happens? They blame you; you’re not following it right and you’re not doing and you’re not doing and that’s why it’s not working for you. That’s not true. It’s because every single change your body perceives, the first thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to lose a little bit of weight and then what happens is the second thing here.
The second thing you need to know about is there’s a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. This part of your brain is kind of like the thermostat. No matter what’s going on outside, no matter what the temperature is in the hallway or outside the building, that thermostat is set to a temperature and it’s going to always try to keep it that temperature. So, if the temperature starts to drop, boom, thermostat kicks on the heat and the temperature stays the same. Or it gets hot outside, boom, thermostat kicks on the air conditioning and starts to cool off inside to keep it the same temperature. So, the hypothalamus does the same thing in your body. The hypothalamus is responsible for things like your thirst, your hunger, your sleep, your mood, the hormones released in your body, your sex drive and your weight. So, every time you make changes that are rapid, what ends up happening is your hypothalamus detects that and, boom, the thermostat kicks back on and the heat’s back on. So, whenever you start losing weight, your brain perceives this as starvation. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re losing weight, your brain has the potential of perceiving it as starvation. So, it’s really important that we make sure that our brain doesn’t perceive it that way.
So, how do we do that? A lot of those programs, diets, their goal is to get you hooked by giving you that quick loss at the beginning, that quick loss has just shut down your brain’s ability to lose weight. So, instead, you have to trick your brain. Number one, you want to do completely the opposite of what most diets tell you; rather than decreasing your nutrition, you want to increase your nutrition. So, you want to be putting in a lot of those nutrients, you want nutrient-dense food, things that are alive, that give your body life and tell your brain that it’s OK to give up the fat. The second thing you want to do is you want to go slowly enough that your thermostat doesn’t kick on. Now, you can fool your brain if you go slowly enough, things happen over time and because you maintain it, you can still get really significant weight loss over a period of a year that you may have gotten the same weight loss over two or three months but then as soon as you finish that diet, it all comes back on and an extra five to ten pounds. So, instead, we should sneak up on it and that way, it stays off much much longer and it doesn’t come back.
All right, so those are the three things. Number one, your brain perceives weight loss as starvation, so we have to sneak up on the hypothalamus and slowly reset the thermostat so that it doesn’t perceive that “I’m starving, I gotta put the weight back on, I’ve got to slow the metabolism down”. Number two, diets aren’t sustainable; don’t pick something that you can only do for two weeks or even a month. You have to pick something that you perceive is healthy that you can do for the rest of your life. So, keep those things in mind when you’re trying to figure out how do I pick things that I’m going to eat to keep myself healthy and lose weight, look good and feel great.
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