Why Diets dont ​work

diets don't work

I just thought I would start off by wishing you a very Happy New Year!! I hope that the year ahead is filled with love, laughter, peace and incredible relationship with those around you. 

As we all know, the number one New Year’s resolution around the world is “I am going to lose weight.” 

So before you choose the current trending, fad diet and spend a fortune on all the products you need, we thought we would send you an article on why diets don’t work and give you a few tried and tested ideas of what will work.  

The word diet means “the customary food and drink of a culture, a person, or an animal.”

However, for many of us the word dietdoes not mean that. It means atemporary and highly restrictive program of eating in order to lose weight.” 

It’s this idea of temporary restrictive eating that we will be tackling today. 

Research shows that 95% of people who lose weight by dieting will regain it within 1-5 years, and there are a few reasons for this. 

  1. Many of us think that diets are a temporary plan. When we have “completed” our diet, we simply boomerang back to unhealthy eating patterns.
  2. Deprivation of restrictive diets may lead to a diet-overeat or diet-binge cycle which is unhelpful when our bodies require good regulation. 
  3. Our body reponds to overly-restrictive dieting by slowing our metabolism down, which makes it much harder for us to lose weight.
  4. Restricting certain foods may lead to a lack essential nutrients.
  5. Often the root of dieting is feeling a lack of value. 
  6. Social norms and traditions can change over time. 

The Temporary Plan 

The word diet is often used in conjunction with the idea of our goal weight. This leaves us with a mindset kind of like this one, “when I reach my goal weight; I don’t need to follow this restrictive eating plan anymore.” 

Slowly these unhealthy habits that made us over-weight in the first-place creep back into our systems. This causes us to pick up weight as well as leaving us with unhelpful feelings of failure. It is at this point that we are usually determined to feel better and so we start the next fad diet, leading us into a yo-yo diet mind set which puts strain on our bodies. 

Diet-Binge Cycle

When we are on a restrictive diet we can become so focused on the “bad food” or food we are not allowed. This may lead us to “breaking” our diet or “cheating”. 

This “cheating” is often followed by feelings of failure, shame and guilt. This may cause us to binge even more:

  1. As we have already broken our diet, so we might as well pig out just that little bit more.
  2. Or we feel so bad that we start to use food as our comfort in that moment. 

This then leaves us feeling even more ashamed, self-loathing and unworthy.

If we believe that we are unworthy and have failed, subconsciously we may believe that losing weight will give us value and worth. 

The Motive For The Diet 

Let me start this paragraph by saying you are incredibly valuable!

No diet, look, lifestyle can change your value! However, media and worldviews have made many of us feel that we will only be valuable if we are thin or look a certain way. 

We end up chasing after an unattainable goal and further compounding a lie that we are unworthy.  

Your weight does not give you worth or value. You are amazing, you have been created with a purpose and future and the world desperately needs you. We need your unique way of thinking, your creativity, your love and your perspective. A number on a scale will don’t change that. 

May I encourage you to ask yourself why do you want to lose weight? 

For health reasons, energy reasons, for you to feel better? These are really great reasons but if you want to lose weight in order to try and fit a picture or goal weight, you may end up struggling.

The world doesn’t need you thin; it needs you vibrant, full of energy and full of rich vitality to be who you are! 

Slowing Your Metabolism 

When food intake is reduced, our bodies respond as if they are in famine or in a starvation situation. It is a survival instinct, the body can adjust its metabolism or the amount of energy it uses in order to maintain bodily functions. 

Although it is very difficult to increase the body’s metabolism (increase the rate we burn energy), the body attempts to protect itself against famine by reducing the metabolic rate, this makes it incredibly difficult to lose weight. 

Lack Of Nutrients

Diets are often associated with certain diet foods. Many of these diet foods have been stripped of their nutrition or they have a huge amount of sugars and rubbish added to make them taste like something. Check the labels before you buy or eat certain foods, don’t just believe the advertising on the box. 

The next problem is that many diets cut out whole food groups, which mean that we might not get the nutrition our bodies require.

Social Norms And Traditions 

Food is often associated with many social occasions and family gatherings. Many of us have strong traditions and celebrations that happen around food. 

These family or cultural celebrations can be very hard when we are on fad diets. This can lead to family conflict and a lack of support from the family.  

It can also lead to us unnecessarily avoiding social situations and family mealtimes, leading to feelings of isolation, unworthiness and even loneliness.   

If Fad Diets Are Not The Solution Then What Is? 

I am sure you have heard it before, it is nothing new, it is no sales gimmick or pill……..

Drum roll please:

  1. It is a life styleand not just a quick fix. 
  2. We need to take ownership of intuitive eating
  3. We need to make sure we eat whole foods.

Life Style

Understanding that we are on a journey around our health, and not just a goal weight, gives us the room to play and learn about what our bodies need.  We may not always get it right and that’s ok, we are in it for the long run. We will always be learning about what our bodies need in different stages. If our focus is a diet and we choose to eat according to a set of rules, we may underfeed ourselves or withhold vital nutrients from our bodies that we need to cope with in a stage of life. 

Before you start dieting, ask yourself, what is your motive?

If it is health, energy and vitality that you are after, you are already half way there. Eating healthy will be a lifestyle choice not a quick fix to hit a goal weight. 

Intuitive Eating

“Intuitive eating,” is about learning to trust and listen to your body, and then planning to nourish it appropriately. This does take some time, but your body was created to send you signals and to tell you what it needs. 

YOUnique life has a wonderful programme that will help you tap into this way of living.

Eating Whole Foods

What we really mean when we say ‘whole foods’  is REAL food.

Most diets have a few things in common:

  1. Stop eating sugar.
  2. Stop eating processed foods. 
  3. Eat whole foods.

A few questions to ask yourself at any meal:

  • How can I make this meal a little healthier? 
  • How stressed am I
  • How do I feel after eating that?

We would love to hear some feedback from you. If you have explored the things we have been speaking about in this article, please tell us your story! You can also email us, or leave a comment below.  

Is Stress Making You Fat?

Stress

The word Stress seems to be the buzz word these days. Did you know that stress can have an impact on your physical body?  In this blog we will look at the different ways stress can affect your health. We’ll also explore ways to naturally sooth stress by eating foods that will help to calm your body.

First of all, we need to understand not all stress is bad.

Our bodies get stressed in a healthy way when we need to rise to a challenge. Good stress essentially helps us when we need to perform our best. If we are anticipating an exam or a presentation in our workspace, or we have a special event ahead we can feel stressed. This is our bodies’ way of communicating that we can achieve what we set out to achieve!

Bad stress or chronic stress is more of a constant stress that we can experience over longer periods of time. It is this chronic stress that kicks our natural energy distribution out of balance.

How Stress Works In The Body

When we experience stress, whether it is good or bad stress, our adrenaline and cortisol levels begin to rise. This happens through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals in the body. The Hypothalamus, which is a small part in the brain that releases hormones and regulates our body temperature, tells our adrenal glands to release these two stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). This means that our pulse and breathing quickens, and our blood pressure begins to increase as part of the body’s “fight or flight” response.

Stress requires so much of our energy in this kind of response that our body can put all other functions on hold. The stress hormone Cortisol curbs the functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. As a result of this your body would also stop repairing your tissue and renewing your cells.

At this point there is no energy left for other essential systems such as your digestion and reproduction. Which is why chronic stress leaves us feeling irritable, forgetful, overwhelmed, isolated and sleep deprived.

There Are Two Main Kinds Of Stress

Acute Stress

Acute stress is the reaction to an immediate threat, commonly known as the “fight or flight” response. Once the threat has passed, our levels of stress hormones return to normal with no long-lasting effects. In acute situations stress hormones dissipate as quickly as they were created.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is the response to pressures suffered for a prolonged period of time.

This constant presence of perceived stress causes our fight-or-flight reaction to stay on for longer than it should. The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the

subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all of our body’s natural processes.  

Chronic stress takes a toll on adrenal glands, causing excess cortisol in our systems. It’s this excess cortisol that can leave us feeling wired but tired. Research has also shown that excess cortisol can lead to a host of physical health problems including weight gain, osteoporosis, digestive problems, hormone imbalances, heart disease, and diabetes. Cortisol also takes an equally high toll on your brain.

The Human Body Is Designed To Experience And Handle Stress.

This Ted talk  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU changed the way I think about stress and it reminded me that I have the power to learn to use certain elements of stress to my advantage, instead of allowing stress to run the show.

How To Sooth Stress Naturally:

Exercise

Yes exercise…. Exercise releases powerful endorphin chemicals in the brain, which act like the body’s built-in painkillers and mood-lifters.

Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet

A steady supply of nutrients like essential vitamins, trace minerals, healthy fats, electrolytes, proteins and antioxidants can all help your brain handle stress better, therefore, benefiting your entire body

Manage Your Thoughts

All events can be interpreted negatively, neutrally, or positively. It takes time and practice to renew your thoughts daily. When we actively choose to see something in a positive light it changes the way our body reacts.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Good stress managers regularly practice a variety of relaxation techniques to prevent or relieve stress. This will vary from person to person. Some people might find listening to music therapeutic; others may enjoy a walk outside. You need to determine what works for you and then set aside the time to do it.

Plan

Often we find ourselves stressed because we have not planned our day. Schedule your month, week and days. By doing this you will also find that you have more breathing room and space to think things through.   

Some Of The Best Foods For Natural Stress Relief Include:

  • Foods High In B Vitamins

Low energy and fatigue can contribute to irritability and stress levels. This is why the B vitamins, which are well-known for keeping energy levels high and improving cognitive performance, can have a positive effect. Dairy products, cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, poultry and green leafy vegetables are foods that contain high levels of the B vitamins.

  • Foods High In Calcium And Magnesium

Calcium and magnesium are important for relaxing muscles, relieving headaches and helping you sleep. If you struggle with sleep, try including more magnesium into your diet.

You can find these in unsweetened organic yogurt, cacao powder/nibs, wild-caught salmon, beans/legumes, leafy green veggies, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, avocados and nuts.

  • High Protein Foods

Foods with protein provide amino acids that are needed for proper neurotransmitter functions. Adrenaline, Noradrenaline and Dopamine are hormones that are made from amino acid tyrosine. These neurotransmitters make us feel good, stimulate us, motive us and help us cope with stress.  Serotonin and Melatonin are also made from amino acid tryptophan. This helps keep us emotionally balanced and helps us establish a sleep cycle.

  • Healthy Fats And Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These can reduce inflammation and help to stabilize moods. Plus omega-3s are great for brain development and heart health. Other healthy fats that support brain health include nuts/seeds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and fish.

Foods To Avoid In Order To Keep Stress Levels Down Include:

Processed Foods

Process foods tend to be loaded with preservatives and unnatural ingredients. And by consuming these foods, we’re feeding our minds and bodies with nutrients that actually impair our ability to tackle stress. (1)

White Flour Products

White flour can be extremely inflammatory. Inflammatory foods tend to put a strain on our digestive system, acting as an additional stressor.

Alcohol

Alcohol affects our liver health and can disrupt hormones. It make us dehydrated, interferes with sleep leaving us tired, and unable to successfully manage stress.

Excessive Caffeine

Caffeine isn’t necessarily our enemy. However, when consumed in excess, it could have harmful effects, including disrupting our adrenals and nervous system.

Sugar

When we stress we can crave sugary foods, there is a physiological reason for this:

High cortisol levels send a message to our brain that we need sugar to sustain our energy in case we need to fight or flee from a life-threatening situation. It is these sugary, refined foods that cause blood sugar highs and lows throughout the day, increasing anxiety and causing cravings and fatigue.

Foods That Calm The Body:

Asparagus

Green leafy veg

Avocados

Berries

Nuts

Camomile tea

Dark chocolate

Garlic

Green tea

Oatmeal

Green leafy veg

Seeds

 

Toxins

toxins

Toxins And How You Can Help Your Body

Did you know that the toxins found in food make you put on weight and they upset your hormonal balance? But what exactly is a toxin and how can you help your body out by avoiding them? In this blog we will explore what toxins are, how they can really affect your health as well as a few easy steps you can take to remove toxins from your system.

Removing toxins from your diet can have a huge effect of your health, trust me, I know!

Continue reading Toxins

A clean gut = health mind and body

gut health

Our gut is responsible for turning food into fuel for our bodies. It absorbs nutrients that support our body’s functions — energy production, toxin and waste elimination, hormone balance and overall health and wellbeing.

If we have a sluggish, “unhealthy gut” our body will not be able to absorb the nutrients we need for optimal health. This can impact our weight, mood, mental wellbeing and a number of other ailments.

Keeping our gut healthy boosts energy and ensures a healthy immune system.

Let’s talk digestion:

Continue reading A clean gut = health mind and body

The power of Nutrition

Nutrition

Eating your way to optimal health.

A little while ago I sent out a survey on Wholesome food. One of the questions was what you would most like to read in our blog posts. Not surprisingly, 90% answered eating for my health.

This topic is huge and there is so much information out there. I decided to start with my story and tell you how I have been eating myself back into optimal health and performance.

My story

Continue reading The power of Nutrition

Micronutrients

micronutrients

Micronutrients

According to the Webster dictionary, a micronutrient is a chemical element or substance that is essential in minute amounts to the growth and health of a living organism.

Micronutrients (like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) are different from macronutrients (like carbohydrates, protein and fat) because they are only necessary in very tiny amounts. Even with these tiny amounts, sometimes less than 1/1000thof a gram, micronutrients are vital to the proper functioning of all of our body’s systems.

Some functions of micronutrients:

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Fibre

Fibre

Dietary fibre includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fibre is not digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of your body. Taking with it toxins, waste, fat, excess hormones and cholesterol particles out of the gut.

Some functions of Fibre:

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Proteins

proteins

Proteins are a fundamental building block of many of the cells in our body. Muscles, hair, skin and connective tissue are mainly made up of proteins. Many important things like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and even DNA are partially made of protein. I think you are getting the gist, proteins are very, very important for us.

 

Some functions of proteins:

Continue reading Proteins