Diets Don’t Lead to Weight Loss!
Diets don’t lead to weight loss. In fact, diets lead to long-term SLOWER metabolism. Those that participate in diets may actually gain more weight in the long-term, because of the fact that they participated in the diet in the first place.
Let’s review the research on this. An article from Obesity was published in August of 2016 and looked at the “The Biggest Loser “competition. They studied 14 participants in this program and found, as we have watched, huge weight loss at a mean of 58.3 kg or 128.5 lbs. That’s a lot of weight. Here’s the crazy part though, after 6 years, 41 kg or 90.3 lbs. were gained back on average.1
Here’s where things get even more disturbing. Our metabolism slows, when we lose weight, which makes regaining the weight easier.1 Think about it this way. Our bodies are consuming fewer calories as part of our weight loss, which means our bodies don’t need to metabolize as much, so the assembly line of metabolism which breaks down our food intake is down-sized. Diets don’t work!
Leptin is your “I’ve had enough to eat” hormone, which tells your body to stop eating. 6 years after the Biggest Loser Diet, plasma leptin levels were lower than the previous baseline, before having to participate in the diet.1In other words, your body was less-likely to tell you that you were full after dieting, compared to before dieting. In addition, the same occurred for thyroxin or the thyroid hormone, in charge of regulating your body’s metabolism.1
It’s remarkable that more of the participants in this study didn’t gain back more weight, given these metabolic changes, but the study size was small and with a larger number of participants, it may have shown just that.
How do you lose weight?
Diets don’t work! Lifestyle changes seeking wellness does work! We just explored how drastic diets mess with our hormones, lead to impressive results, but are short-lived.
Part of the problem with diets are that the focus is weight loss. While weight loss is important, it should NOT be the goal of any health or wellness program. In fact, I would argue that any program that touts weight loss as the goal is unlikely to be helpful. It would be much better for you to consider a lifestyle medicine program or wellness improvement program.
The reason is that weight gain is multi-factorial. When you focus just on the weight, we miss out on opportunities to explore why we are overweight. For many of us, we helplessly blame our genetics or some pre-ordained destiny. If it were genetics, how could we account for the drastic rise in obesity, from 10% in the 1950s to 35% today?
It’s NOT genetics for the vast majority of people. If you look at your family and see a high rate of obesity, it is more like that you eat like they all do, exercise like they all do, share emotional similarities as all of them and spiritual views on life as all of them.
Lifestyle changes that are sustainable work! How are they different from “The Biggest Loser” competition, it’s about sustainable choices. Carb and calorie restricting are impossible to follow. They will NEVER work. I know that there are 100s of choices of calorie restriction and carb restriction out there and there may be a study or two that supports their use, but who wants to live like that? Seriously, you want to count your carb and calorie intake for the rest of your life. Not me!
What are the steps to losing weight?
Don’t obsess about obesity. You can and will lose weight, but it takes a little background work and time. Diets don’t work, but lifestyle does. Here are the lifestyle steps necessary for weight loss.
- Evaluate your spiritual health. Are you connected to others? Do you have friends? Who will support you as you make lifestyle changes? Do you really love yourself? So many folks are overweight and look in the mirror in disgust, but you are you, no matter how you look. Self-love is the single most important part of successful lifestyle changes. You are NOT making changes for appearance alone or because of someone else’s opinion of your appearance, this is about you! If you believe in God, did God make you out of love? Do you see God’s love in your life? He loves you! If you are not there yet, that’s ok, but don’t move on. Self-love and spiritual connections with others are the first step.
- Find emotional wellness. Through self-love, support and perspective, you are able to see yourself for the incredibly valuable person you are. Many people with depression and anxiety eat too much and some not enough. Your emotions determine your habits. Are you eating because of sadness or anxiety? If so, you are NOT alone, but you may need help finding emotional wellness before you can successfully implement lifestyle changes. Talk to a counselor or religious leader or physician about your mental health. Talk to a friend. Implement daily meditation and breathing exercises for 20 minutes daily. This will help curb anxiety. Depression can be improved with daily outdoor activities and daily exercise. Are you moving? Are you getting fresh air? Start with these things and wait on the weight, until you are feeling better, emotionally. Sometimes we seek diets, because we are emotionally labile. Diet’s don’t work!
- Toxic Exposures. Most of us will have a vice in our lives. Maybe it’s the occasional cigarette, marijuana joint or alcohol. These toxins disturb the weight loss process in so many ways. If you have an addiction or toxic exposure you should address this, before making a lifestyle change. Consider how much processed food you are eating. This is toxic to your health. How about toxic exposures with pesticides? Are you eating organic? I know that organic costs more, but if you are polluting your body, you should go back to self-love and ask yourself, if that makes sense? Toxins hurt are body and are reflective of our self-love. We have to get these 3 steps right.
- Movement! The majority of Americans are not moving enough. This is important to accept. While most of us think we move enough, we don’t compared to our ancestors. If you are not tracking your daily steps, you should be. Buy a watch or pedometer that does that for you. In addition, commit to a reasonable increase. I suggest an increase of 2,000 steps daily, with the exception of those already greater than 10,000 steps daily. This is NOT enough though. You still need true exercise, heart pumping, sweaty, exhausting exercise. It can be doing something you love. I love the Apple Watch, because it keeps track of my heart rate and can tell me when I have had adequate exercise. You can measure your heart rate yourself or estimate based on the type of exercise you are doing, but this is in ADDITION to the steps. Your goal is 90-120 minutes of moderate to high intensity (meaning sweating, huffing and puffing) per week. I would say at least 3 days at 30 minutes, but better 4 days of 30 minutes. You should have days off for recovery. Then there is some weights, which help with bone and muscle growth for balance. Finally, you have to stretch….EVERY day. Yoga is my favorite, but use what works for you. Let me know if you want more on this.
- Nutrition. Yes, this is LAST. Not first. You can’t even consider nutrition without self-love, spiritual connections, emotional wellness, toxin avoidance, and regular movement. Now, we can talk about nutrition. It’s simple. Forget about carbs and protein and numbers. Diet’s don’t work! I want to make this as easy as possible.
- No dairy, goat’s milk, cheese, yogurt, cheese on a salad.
- No meat. When you eat meat, you eat too much fat. This means no poultry, no red meat, no pork. No meat!
- Eat vegetables. Lots of them. Broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, plants with colors. Try to have vegetables for every meal.
- Eat a daily smoothie of fresh frozen fruit and flax seed. Add a veggie into the smoothie. Use natural sweetener such as agave syrup, but never simple sugar.
- Drink lots of water, but no soda or sugary beverages.
- Eat beans or legumes daily. Beans provide for necessary essential amino acids: lysine, methionine, and tryptophan. In addition, they fill you up without the fat. The gas gets better with time. Eat beans.
- Eat whole grains. Don’t eat simple carbs. White rice, white bread, processed foods with white flour are not good. Switch them out for whole grains.
- Desserts should be fresh fruit. Cut our the high sugary desserts.
- Curb your alcohol use to minimal.
That’s it! If you focus on eating the above, you will lose weight. These changes are NOT temporary. This is how you should eat for the rest of your life.
How long does it take to lose weight?
If you do all of the above, you will lose weight. Remember that diets don’t work! One of our recent Well90 program participants said: “I lost 18 pounds in 2 weeks.” It can happen quickly. So quickly, in fact, that some people no longer have Type 2 diabetes or need sugar medications. Some folks, no longer need medications for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
It isn’t a race though. It can take much longer to learn new habits. In fact, it takes about 6 weeks, on average, to learn new habits. Our Well90 Program takes 90 days or 12 weeks, because we want to create lasting new habits for the rest of your life.
Weight loss will come from a healthy lifestyle that puts YOU first, not your appearance or other’s impression of you.
You are special, made unique in God’s image for you, and the ONLY you in the World. It’s time you stopped being deceived by scams, which you are only susceptible to, because of lack of confidence. Diets don’t work, so don’t even bother. They make actually make things worse. Be proud of yourself. You are on a journey and your struggles with weight will make you a stronger person. Suffering leads to character. You will be better off, because of your weight, not in spite of it. Your problems can be fixed with time and investment in your mind, body and soul. They won’t be found in diets!
Find a wellness expert or Plant-Based Doctor to help!