The Cycle of Diets Typically Cannot Work Long-Term
Diets can trend as a cycle or have “stages,” which we all can relate to and know all too well what to expect at the “end” of a diet. I will discuss the stages and why diets typically cannot work long term.
- Starting diet – Contemplating and planning stage: usually, when you are thinking about dieting, you do not wake up begin eating differently. Instead, you take a poll from all your friends about what diet has worked for them, you go online and see what the latest trend is, and typically you go with what will give you the most weight loss in a short time with the least amount of effort. Right? First, the mistake is to think about what works for one person will work for everyone. Genetics, childhood habits, traumas, coping skills, and food choices all play a role in how we respond to food. Secondly, no diet that works fast and has an end to it will have long term effects.
- Restriction – Limiting intake and nutrients: Restricting calories will initially help you lose weight; however, you begin to feel tired as your body is not being nourished well because restricting calories can lead to deficiencies in vital nutrients like protein and calcium. You feel more irritated than usual, and mood swings occur. Once you resume your regular diet, you could gain the weight back, plus more.
Don’t Cut Out ALL Carbs
If you have had weight loss surgery, carbohydrates are limited; however, do not cut them out completely as you can run the risk of other deficiencies like thiamine (B1) or magnesium found in complex carbohydrates. Some good examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grains and non-starchy vegetables like beans, whole wheat toast, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
- Deprivation – The “cannot have’s“ stage: This is when the diet really starts to fail. Food tends to be separated into categories of good and bad foods. You may be obsessively restricting “bad foods” and depriving yourself of foods you like. These kinds of diets are not sustainable and will continue to leave you with cravings. Depriving yourself can cause extra stress and anxiety, which can increase your desire for “bad foods.”
- Cravings – Precursor stage of giving in: Your body will begin to crave high energy foods as it is running on empty. Your desire to eat foods you consider “bad” and ate before the diet can become overwhelming, especially if you are hungry most of your day or not enjoying your new food choices. All of this can set off triggers to eat unhealthy and even binge some on those favorite foods.
- Giving in and feeling guilty – Stages 5 and 6: This is the “end” of your diet. Once we admit the restriction, deprivation and the increased cravings have overpowered us we give in and eat what we want. We cannot continue this insane road. Not only do we regain the weight faster than it left; we feel guilty that we gave in, that we cannot do it; nothing works so Instead of blaming the diet process, we end up blaming ourselves.
Have a Healthy Relationship with Food
What you eat is what builds your body!
Lifestyle changes are so important for long-lasting results. Eating a variety of foods, having a healthy relationship with food, exercising, and being socially engaged with supportive people who can help you with this journey are crucial. Overall, food is meant to be enjoyed, and there is no such thing as good and bad food choices. Healthier, leaner, nutritious foods are more appropriate and more positive ways of thinking of food.