People talk about weight loss. They explain how the Paleo diet feels right to them. They talk about how pre-packaged meals from NutriSystem take all the guess work out. They tell you how the hospital-based protein diet is making them lose weight quickly. And since most of us are nice, we cheer on their success. We tell them how great they look and how strong they are with such good will power.
And then, when the excitement of losing weight quickly has worn off, and they are trying to maintain the weight loss, reality sets in. That diet that they once thought was something they could do long-term, all of the sudden seems pretty tough. They allow themselves a little “break” and go “off the wagon.” They open the door a little but, but that crack leads to the flood gates opening. And they start gaining all of that weight back.
Yes, they do, most of the time- like 95%. (Haven’t you been there??) And if they don’t gain it back it is because they continue to diet. Again, diets don’t make you thin, they make you a dieter.
But as our friends, relatives, and co-workers gain back weight, the silence is deafening. No one wants to say, “Hey it looks like you are just about back to where you started, or even a little heavier…” Right? Because we are not cruel. But the result of this is that when people lose weight it is highly “publicized.” People go home from work and tell others about this group of nurses who are all dieting together and losing weight. But when they all gain it back, that information isn’t re-told nearly as much. Why? Because people are looking for a success story, to spur them on, and a story of disappointment isn’t what they need.
So the myth that diets work continues to grow. Yes, diets, just about any diet, will cause you to lose weight.
But that short term assault on your body, that disconnects you from your natural instinct to eat and NOT to eat leaves you damaged, for months, if not years.
Your body will not forget that two week diet where you ate carrots and chicken and water. Your body will not forget that you shunned fat for a whole summer. Your body will not forget that you shoved protein down on that Paleo diet when your body wanted some bread.
And that means that when you start to eat normally, even a reasonable calorie intake, you will gain weight. Haven’t you been there? I remember eating grapefruit, and salads for two weeks and losing 12 pounds. In one weekend I gained 8 back. By the end of that week it was all back. I did this many times, and rapidly embedded a diet mentality deep into my soul.
Day by day, ditch that diet mentality that is based on the myth that dieting makes you thin. Replace it with a healthy, normal thin mentality by reconnecting with hunger as the ONLY valid reason to eat. And as hunger dissipates, stop eating, with the happy knowledge that as soon as your perfect body asks for food again by sending you true hunger signals, you may enjoy another delicious eating opportunity. Really, what more could we want?
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