It’s the New Year – what’s your resolution? If it is to do with fitness and nutrition, instead of banning foods, giving things up for a month or signing up to an unrealistic exercise challenge – how about working with me to create some healthy habits and a lifestyle change that will see you long past your immediate goal.
The start of something new..
We are all programmed to start something new at the beginning of a period of time and January always seems like such a good time to do that especially when it comes to health and fitness. A new year, a new outlook – a quiet month when you can stick to something. Whilst I’m not saying this is a bad thing (anything which encourages us to increase movement and become more aware of our nutrition is encouraged) – why do we feel the need to start a diet, restrict ourselves and often keep a low social profile to maintain it for a fixed period of time?
Fad diets are the health industries money maker
Aside from supplements and quick fix exercise plans, fad diets are a serious money maker. Social media is littered with conflicting information and often with a celebrity endorsement to help them sell. One minute, high carb low fat is the winner, next, carbs are the enemy and you should live on fat. One week, it is all about a juice diet, next week your body will have entered starvation mode from the juice diet and you won’t be able to burn fat any more! They can be based on a super supplement (a miracle pill, detox tea, super shake), food types (cutting carbs, fats, clean eating, grains etc) or nutrient timing (intermittent fasting, 5:2 etc.) – it is SO confusing, but still, we jump on trends and give it a try in the hope that one of them will provide the magic answer.
In my opinion, they don’t work
‘Diets’ are short-sighted. Yes, potentially all of the above might work for you short term. The reason they all work – calories in versus calories out. Of course if you cut out a food group, take a shake instead of a meal or fast for half the day you will lose weight. This isn’t because of the mechanics of that specific diet, it is because you are consuming less calories than your body is burning. It really is that simple. Whilst they do or at least can work short term if you can stick to them, they aren’t setting you up for long term success. Most of these diets:
- Focus on unsustainable extremes so working, having a social life and normal habits become a challenge
- Demonise certain foods or food groups, severely limiting or sometimes banning them completely
- Fail to educate people for the long term
- Are associated with feelings of guilt and failure when things go wrong
- Encourage unhealthy relationships with certain foods i.e. good foods / bad foods / syn points (weighwatchers) etc.
- Allow us to be on or off the bandwagon (and when we fall off we fall off hard)
Research even shows that only 5% of crash dieters keep off the weight and nearly 65% will regain it and more within 3 years. What is the point in putting in all that effort for something that isn’t sustainable?
So what is the answer?
In my opinion, diets are not the answer. Changing your habits, mindset and lifestyle will give you long term sustainable change.
How about we focus our energies on learning and forming healthy habits that we can sustainably build into our lifestyles that can create a balance that sees us well past January. You absolutely CAN have it all and successfully juggle fitness, nutrition, work life, home life, social life and passions IF we have the correct mindset, but in the right level of work and adopt the right habits.