Quick-Fix Diets: Why They Don’t Work And What To Do Instead
I meet many people who have embarked on numerous diets over their lifetime, yet they’re still struggling with their weight- they’re sick and tired of dieting and are desperate to find a solution to tackle their excess weight once and for all. The problem is that many commercial diets offer quick-fix ‘solutions’ to help you get into that bikini for summer, that little black dress for Christmas or other annual social event. Many of us have come to rely on low calorie, quick-fix diets to reach a target weight because they are commonly seen as the most effective way to lose weight- but they’re not actually effective as they don’t provide a long-term solution, and can result in even more weight gain, long-term. If we embark on a low calorie diet, the body enters ‘starvation mode’, and will react accordingly to preserve energy. If we then stop the diet and go back to our old eating habits, not only is it easy to re-gain the weight, but after years of constant crash diets, we may gain back that weight, plus more, making us fatter than we were in the first place.
Quick-Fix Diets Don’t Tackle Underlying Habits
Many people get so used to quick-fix diets that they can’t imagine any other way. We now live in such a fast- paced world that we expect quick results, and yet weight that is lost rapidly can be easily re-gained. It’s important to remember that our eating habits have been formed over a lifetime, and so they’re deeply ingrained into our psyche. If a habit is deeply ingrained, it takes time and effort to ‘deconstruct’ it. When we follow a specific weight loss plan, it’s easy to follow the diet’s rules and even get good weight loss results, but we don’t necessarily tackle our underlying eating habits, which means that as soon as we stop the diet we continue with our old ways. If we don’t learn to address those habits, attitudes and beliefs that have kept us overweight most of our lives, then we will always struggle to manage our weight long-term. By relying on quick-fix diets, it’s easy to overlook underlying habits and never really address our usual eating patterns, so when we stop the diet we put the weight back on.
The Importance Of Being Patient
One of the main messages I communicate to clients is that they have to be patient. A good number of clients I meet who have done a lot of quick-fix diets approach me because they now realise that the quick-fix method doesn’t work long-term. They are sick of diets that only offer short-term results due to the fact that they are difficult to maintain- the plans are overly restrictive and therefore unenjoyable and anti-social, and generally require a lot of effort and willpower- they come to me once they’ve discovered that the only effective way is to aim for more gradual weight loss, which involves being patient. The advantage of more gradual weight loss is that you can eat in a more flexible way compared to how you have to eat on quick-fix diets- gradual weight loss programmes are therefore a lot more manageable, enjoyable and sustainable. With flexible eating you feel much less deprived, and I help clients to embrace more of a ‘middle way’ of eating, where you learn to move away from ‘black and white’ mode, that is, being either ‘on’ or ‘off’ a diet. Adopting a ‘middle way’ mindset means learning how to deconstruct those old, unhelpful habits, beliefs and thought patterns, and replace them with more helpful ones. I help clients to acknowledge that identifying any bad habits and replacing them with better ones is the key to long-term change. However, a new habit only becomes rock- solid, and therefore permanent, if you practice it enough- if you keep implementing a new habit long enough it will become automatic and familiar, rather than something that feels like hard work and unnatural- a bit like learning to drive a car. Therefore, doing some work on yourself, and not just simply going on a diet, will help you achieve the long-term change you’re looking for that will help you lose weight and maintain your new weight for life.
Working On Yourself Rather Than Simply Going On A Diet
To lose weight successfully and keep it off long-term, we have to do some work on ourselves- by this I mean look closely at our current eating habits and identify the key things about our eating that are letting us down. Our food choices and eating behaviour are heavily influenced by how we feel and think about food, and how we use food- for example, thinking that vegetables are boring will mean that it’s likely we won’t eat many vegetables; believing that we need to eat a certain amount of food to keep us going when in fact we could keep going on far less will determine how big our portion sizes are; or believing that we deserve a certain food after a hard day will influence how much food we indulge in during the evening. So by looking at our thought patterns and beliefs, we can get to the root of what, how and why we eat. Quick fix diets don’t usually involve this- they just require that you follow the diet’s rules.
Awareness Is Power
When working with clients, my role is to invite them to spend time thinking about their current eating behaviour and identify what’s good about it and what’s not so good, and to also spot any unhelpful attitudes and beliefs that are influencing their eating behaviours- I then help them to replace them with more helpful, constructive ones. I support clients using a dual approach- this means that depending on individual client needs, I can help them to address the psychological aspects, the dietary aspects- or both. With awareness comes power, and often, all a client needs is another person to support them in using that new-found awareness and knowledge to start making positive changes. Becoming equipped with new insights and skills means that the client is no longer relying on quick-fix diets to lose weight- instead, they can free themselves from the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and use their new-found awareness and knowledge to gradually implement new, manageable and realistic ways of eating that they feel confident to adopt for life.
If you’d like to discuss with me how I could help you, give me a call (Emma Randall) on 07961 423120, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am based in Lightwater, Surrey.
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