Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Brain Game called Dieting.

In my journey to finding the nitty gritty truth about health and wellness I have found a sad realization that I have to bring out into the spotlight. Diets Don't Work.  They are nothing more than a brain game!

The shocking truth is that many of those amazing companies that are out there to help us lose weight and get fit, they lie. This is hard for me to type because even the people working for those businesses think they are helping people. This hurts my heart.

The truth is that their businesses depend on us feeling so crappy about ourselves that we can't wait to start another program because "this time it's going to work!"
 "This time is different. The program said I can lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks! I can do this for 2 weeks!"

They need us to feel fat, ugly, hopeless, and depressed so that we will look to them for answers.

Truth is, quick fix diet plans set us up to need more quick fix diet plans. Our bodies are way more intelligent than we give them credit for. They know what we are doing and they know how to play along, they also know how to fight back.

Here's what happens. We set up a new diet plan and we tell our brain to be ready because it's time to get rid of the extra weight we have been carrying around. We tell our body that the extra weight is ugly, nasty, dirty, and gross, and that it needs to leave. The first few weeks on the plan are great. We eat lots of good green stuff and the nutrition is lovingly welcomed. (This is the absolute best part of a healthy diet plan, introducing new healthy foods that you wouldn't normally eat.) But after a few weeks of struggling (insert some guilt eating here) and a few pounds gone you decide that losing 10 pounds is good and you are ready to get off the diet plan. This is where your survival instincts kick in and your brain goes all kinds of crazy. "FOOD!" it screams! "EAT the FOOD!"
Your brain is now telling your body that you are STARVING and that you need to pack on the pounds so that next time there is a famine you will make it through without losing 10 precious pounds of emergency fuel. Your body believes it needs that fat for protection, and as back up. (Most extra weight is more related to emotional issues, rather than just eating too much.)

So you give in here and there to chocolate cake, Dr. Pepper, crackers, cookies, ice cream, etc. and the weight slowly trickles back on.  (More guilt and self-hatred here.)

In my own experience, I had such intense cravings for chocolate after finishing a diet that I would drop by the store on the way home from rock climbing at 10pm to sooth my sweet tooth.

I'm not going to say that every diet is a failure but this is truly what happens in about 90%  of the cases I have seen. The worst plans seem to be the ones with shakes that you drink twice a day. Your body can't comprehend what is going on. A food shortage? Did your teeth fall out? The Apocalypse? (. . .because we will all be drinking powdered smoothies during the Apocalypse.)

So, if diets fail, what do we do? What actually works?

Lifestyle changes!

This is a brain game, folks.

Instead of setting up a diet that has an end, set up a permanent change. Permanent. As in Forever! 

 You can say you want to start eating a fruit or vegetable with every meal from today until the day you die. You can say that you know milk products make your stomach hurt so you will cut out of your diet for good, not just 3 weeks, forever! Only eat cheese once a week. Only have sweets on Saturday. Figure out what works for you and make it stick for the rest of your life!

"But how can I say forever? That's a huge commitment. What if I want to change my diet?"

Then change it. It's your food, your body, your life. Just choose what you know to be the healthiest diet you can sustain every day, then when you learn more and know better, do better! There is always room for improvement.

The best part about the forever diet plan: YOU NEVER FAIL!

If you eat too much junk food one day, you forgive yourself and move forward, keeping your goal as being healthy, not being skinny. If you get off course, you steer back onto the right road. No failure. You just keep going, everyday.  Treat eating healthy like other good habits. For example, prayer. If you forget to pray for one day you don't consider yourself a failure, right? You just remind yourself to pray the next day until it becomes a habit and you don't even have to think about it anymore.

Keep yourself in check and stay on the path. Pray for help from God, and ask your body at every meal what will give you energy and vitality. 

We have really lost touch with listening to our own bodies. Do you realize that we have build in mechanisms that will tell us when we are hungry, when we are full, when we are thirsty, and when we need certain types of foods? WHAT?? It's true. We don't have to finish every bite on our plate, and we can eat the foods we are craving. (But it's VERY important to distinguish hunger cravings from addiction cravings too.)

The best diet is the one YOU set up between yourself, your body, and your higher power. (a.k.a. God) When is the last time you asked for guidance about what you should eat for breakfast?

Here is my experience. After doing 3 rounds of 21 Day Fix and gaining my weight back from the after-diet munchies, I started asking for help. Each meal became a game of "What Foods Are the Best for Me Today?" I have started using this strategy with my kids too, though I still have to regulate their sugar intake because sugar is crazy addicting. The foods that honor me are sometimes surprising and I notice a big difference when I give in to a sugar craving instead of choosing what is best for my highest good. I started eating tons of veggies because they sounded amazing! Salad with cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, topped with eggs and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
O.M.G! I'm soooo not a salad girl and here I was scarfing salads because they made my body so happy and they tasted great!

This really works for me.

I still make smoothies a few times a week because they are so good! I make them with real ingredients like spinach, frozen berries, bananas, etc. and they are delicious. I will take a real food smoothie over a powder smoothie any day!

Do you agree with me? Do you think diets set you up for failure and lifestyle changes set you up for success?

After being a Beachbody coach and trying my hardest to make the diet plans work, for myself and others, I realized that the best option is that we learn to trust ourselves. It's also the scariest plan. It's so much easier to place our trust in someone else, but we know our bodies better than anyone. With a little practice we all can know exactly what types of foods we thrive on!

Diets = fail
Lifestyle Changes = success

Commit to changes you make in your diet; make them part of who you are and you will see your health change in the best ways. And the best part is that the changes will be PERMANENT!

(Want to talk? Find me on Facebook HERE.)


  1. I totally agree with this. I am trying so hard to make some "lifestyle changes." I can't believe how much of a challenge this is.... 1. It is expensive to eat healthier. A bag of apples cost $5 verses a box of little debbies which cost $1.88. And 2. Boxed foods are so much more convenient, and easy for on the go. But

  2. In my experience, I see fresh fruits and veggies as the better bargain for 2 reasons.
    1. They will keep you satisfied longer and stave off sugar cravings so you aren't going back for more food. If I eat cold cereal I am hungry again within about an hour. If I choose eggs instead I don't get hungry until lunch. Our bodies crave nutrients and if they don't get them from our meals and snacks we will continue to crave more food so we end up eating much more.
    2. When you eat healthier foods you avoid spending money on weight loss products and doctors visits because your body will be healthier. These can be some MAJOR expenses in the long run, so it really pays to buy nutrient rich foods now to avoid paying much more in the future.
    My motto is "do the best you can with what you've got."

    It does take more time to prepare food but there are lots of quick healthy meal options. I'm a busy mom with 4 kids and we love quick meals. Tonight we had homemade pinto beans In corn tortillas with veggies on the side. The beans were very cheap to make and my family enjoyed them.
    It took the foresight of soaking the beans and putting them in the crock pot, but total prep time was maybe 10-15 minutes.

    There are always options to eat healthy, even on a budget. Once you start looking for them you will see them everywhere! Start with small changes.
    Farmers markets are great for produce. Eat what is in season and the prices will be great! I hope his helps you on your journey. I wish you love and health!