Why Diets Don't Work: Clean Eating vs. Diets
Talking from my own personal experience from, I cannot tell you how many diets I tried after each of my four pregnancies. To think of how much money I spent on books, programs and powders to lose weight, just to gain it right back on afterward. Time and time again, I was promised this ‘new me’, only to be let down shortly after the diet or program was over. Every time I gained it back, it left me self-conscious, disappointed, and feeling like a failure. It took me a while to realize the truth of the matter is: DIETS DON’T WORK!
Sure, sometimes you lose the weight (at a cost to you financially, your health, and your body) for a short period of time, but diets cannot give you long-term sustainable weight or fat loss. When going through these drastic changes of dieting, your body goes into shutdown mode and your brain releases hormones telling your brain that you are starving. You end up cranky and deprived! So when the diet is done, your body wants to replenish what it lost, plus some.
When you diet, you are consuming less food, so your metabolism slows down and you also lose muscle in the process. In no circumstance, in a healthy body, would you want to lose muscle mass! Instead we need to focus on what is being put into our bodies, and not how much of it.
There is a stigma against people who diet and then gain the weight right back, like they, the individual, are the reason they gained the weight back due to lack of will power, strength, laziness, ignorance… this puts too much power in weight being a choice or a product of not trying hard enough to be what everyone wants you to be. I read a great quote from an article in TheAtlantic.com that said, “Nutrition and fitness should be directed towards a healthy and improved lifestyle- NOT appearance (that is just a benefit).” And it’s true!
First off, clean eating is not a diet, but a lifestyle choice. It is making the conscious decision to be happier and healthier, not only for you, but for your family. Clean eating is all about being aware of the pathway your food had to go through from growth, to your plate. It is focusing on consuming whole or real food and reducing or eliminating processed, refined, or handled food from your diet.
Focusing on raw, organic fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and good fats, the benefits go far beyond just weight loss. You gain more energy, improved body system functioning, improved cognitive abilities, better skin, better hair… the list goes on! Some general tips to remember when eating clean include:
Limit processed foods
Increase fruit and veggie intake (raw and organic are the best options)
Cut down saturated fat
Reduce or eliminate alcohol and tobacco consumption
Remove sugars (and especially artificial sweeteners)
Eat lean meats
Cut out refined grains
Hydrate – not with sugary sports drinks but with water. If you don’t like water try adding lemon or raspberries for a hint of flavor.
Now food is only one part of the weight loss equation. To lose weight and reach optimal health and wellness, you should exercise regularly, practice stress management, sleep proper amounts, hydrate, and focus on nourishing your body daily. Clean eating will help you and your family to feel better, long-term. And when you feel better, it shows!
Interested in joining a clean eating detox group with health coaching support?
Check out my upcoming Spring Cleaning program or the brand new Revitalize 28 program, which has an optional Clean and Lean 14 Day Shred (as in pounds!), for a total of 6 weeks of clean eating.
Jeanine Toes, AADP
Integrative Nutrition and Holistic Health Coach