My thoughts on diets...
When I talk about my nutritional views and coaching style I often say “non-diet” or “without fad diets”. I wanted to explain what the heck I am talking about. America is OBSESSED with dieting. With restricting intake, eating low-calorie fake foods, feeling guilty when indulging in rich foods, eating wacky foods in strange quantities, limiting the time of day you can eat, or even removing entire food groups from your diet, the list goes on and on.
The term diet is meant to mean the way in which you eat. In our culture, it is now known to mean eating in a way to lose weight. I HATE diets. And here is why. 95% of diets don’t work. Go ahead look it up!
Diets are made for you to FAIL. Why? So you will do it all over again once you gain back the weight. Diet industries are making money. They offer pictures of thin models and make astronomical claims to suck you in. So you do the diet. You feel hangry 99% of the time but hey you lose weight! You think to yourself, “I am killing it, I am healthy”. WRONG. Weight loss and health are not synonymous.
So what is physiologically going on in the body when you start restricting your caloric intake (AKA go on a diet)? For starters, it changes your hormone balance. Leptin (the fullness hormone) decreases while ghrelin (the hunger hormone) increases. This means you’ll feel a more intense baseline level of hunger- even when you eat a normal meal it will not satisfy you to the same degree it once did.
Reducing caloric intake will then reduce the amount of energy needed to fuel your body (i.e. energy expenditure or metabolism). Our bodies our incredibly smart and they compensate for the lack of calories by becoming more efficient off of less fuel. Why does this matter? In order to continue losing weight the dieter must continue to reduce their caloric intake. I hear strict dieters often say something to the effect of: “I worked so hard and lost 12 pounds so easily at the beginning, I continued with my diet but couldn’t lose any more weight!” This is because the body had adapted to this new reduced calorie regimen.
What else do diets do? They have a huge impact on your physiological health. Studies have shown that dieters are often preoccupied with food which lasts long after one’s diet has ended.
What (in my opinion) is the most damaging feature of diets? PEOPLES LACK OF TRUST IN ONES SELF. After “failing” a diet people are often left with feelings like “I blew it”, “I am a failure”, “I have no willpower”. This is nonsense. THE DIET HAS FAILED YOU. 95% of people gain back the weight (if not more) that they have lost from dieting. 95%!!! It’s not you, believe me, it’s the diet.
I am going to be frank with you. It is really hard to be a dietitian that promotes a non-diet approach. Diets are trendy, sleek, and cool (even though they suck). Instead I offer to assist you in making peace with food, your body, and the scale. I promote balance, including all the food groups (yes even sweets), eating at any time of day, without fake foods, without the side of guilt, and without restriction. Weight loss may naturally occur when changing your ways and making peace with food. But please remember health and weight loss are not synonymous.
So no, I am sorry, I will not make you a meal plan. I will not write out 2 weeks’ worth of meal ideas because you have different tastes than I do, after a few rounds of eating this way it’ll get quite boring, and (hello!) you should pick out your own food! I can help you feel more confident in your own food choices, explain how to balance foods, give you encouragement, and offer you any and all tips and tricks that I have learned!
If this is something you are interested in…Please reach out to me! I would love to talk more!