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Weight Loss Series Part 1: FAD Diets Suck

February 1, 2011

First question to ask yourself is can fad diets help you lose weight? Answer: Yes they can.

Second question: Can fad diets help you keep the weight off? Answer: Not so much. Statistics show that 95% of dieters fail to keep the weight off that they lose and a lot of times even gain more on the rebound. Talk about crappy odds!  The dieting industry rakes in over 60 Billion $$ per year because they know that dieters will yo-yo from one diet to the next looking for the answer. So it’s not your fault that what you’ve tried didn’t work, it was most likely a diet that was designed to fail in the first place.

Why? Very simply because fad diets don’t teach you how to get healthy. You see, sustainable weight loss is kind of a curve ball because all you are really doing is training yourself to get healthier.  Rather than teach you how to get healthy, fad diets try to sell you some magic foods or supplements that are supposed to melt the fat away. This does you a huge disservice though because without learning to change your lifestyle and the behaviors that put the pounds on in the first place there can never be lasting change. Makes sense right?

So what should you do? First of all, there are some belief systems that need to change.

Belief #1- I’m doomed to my genetic fate of being overweight. Please, please do not subscribe to this thought process. I say with absolute certainty that all of our genes want us to be healthy and successful, and being overweight has nothing to do with either. All of the research says that your body composition is almost solely a result of the foods you choose, the daily activities that you do, and the emotional/mental health you decide to have.  Very little has to do with genetic tendencies. Bad health doesn’t run in families, but bad habits do such as poor food choices, lack of activity, or stress. So the good news is you have control!

Belief #2- If I want to get healthier then I have to give up all the things that I love and do all this stuff that I don’t like. Here’s a great exercise: Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle and on one side write all the things that you stand to gain by continuing this behavior or belief, and on the other side write down what you stand to lose by continuing this belief or behavior.  Once you are done, make another list of what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose by no longer continuing this behavior or belief .  Look at both lists and decide whether the positives of changing or the negatives of not changing are compelling enough for you to make the change happen. For example, every time you smoke to justify the destructive habit you tell yourself that you deserve it since you work so hard, it helps calm your nerves, it helps you feel better, and it tastes good with a cup of coffee. However, now you see that if you don’t stop smoking you will eventually have a heart attack, or cancer, suffer a stroke, become a burden to your family, increase the likely hood that you will leave your kids without a parent, not be able to run around the yard with your grand kids, or end up breathing though a whole in your neck for the rest of your life.  So now every time you choose not to smoke, you reward yourself with breaths of fresh clean air that help repair your lungs every day, you improve your healing, you get to spend more quality years with your family, and you smell better to those around you. This works for any behavior that you want to change, whether it’s eating broccoli, or walking a mile per day. If the benefits aren’t exciting to you or the consequences are not compelling enough then behavior modifications can never last.

Belief #3-  I feel fine so losing weight must not really be that important anyways. Watch out, this is a dangerous belief. How many times have you heard the story of someone feeling fine one day and then dropping dead of a heart attack or stroke the next? You cannot feel a clogged artery until it becomes more than 90% blocked! You can’t feel a cavity until it rots it way to the nerve root, you can’t feel cancer growing in your body, and you can’t feel the damage that is done by being overweight until it’s too late.  How you feel is not only inaccurate, it’s a very scary way to decide how healthy you are.  Being overweight is a symptom of being unhealthy. Don’t wait until the symptoms get worse before doing something about it.

How do I start? The most effective way to begin making lasting change is to always begin with addition.  By adding good things in your lifestyle you can start making change immediately and you don’t need to worry about withdrawal or the sense of deprivation by trying to change everything all at once. Just start with small steps. It likely took some time for the weight to get on, so it might take some time to come off. Start with something simple and start today. It can be as simple as drinking 2 more cups of water per day. Or adding 1 fresh vegetable to one of your meals. Or walking to the end of the block and back every morning. The main thing is to stop thinking about it and to just do it. Just do it. Now. No more excuses. Just do it. You can do it.

Part 2 will help get you started in the right direction with your food choices, but for now start with making up your mind to change NOW and JUST DO IT.

Let’s gain some health!

Your health coach,

Dr. Ryan Hewitt

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