Brain Change Before Body Change: Lower Your Weight and Improve Your Health Long Term
Dieting does not work. Read it again – dieting does not work. There are no studies 5 years or more to support dieting and those that are a year long show only a small percent of those on diets retain even a portion of their weight loss at one year.
Anyone that has been on a diet knows that the biggest hurdle dieters face is weight regain, not weight loss. Keeping weight off, well, for 99.9% of people that lose weight, the weight comes back on.
Your body’s metabolic processes are complicated and have worked on keeping man from losing weight for thousands of years. Read more in my blog post The Rocky Marriage of Dieting and Weight Loss: Why We Gain Weight from Diets.
That does not mean you are doomed to be at a higher weight or in worse health than you want for the rest of your life.
The answer is – don’t diet!!
Stop dieting and start eating better, thus feeling and living better! How do I do this?
First, don’t deprive yourself! Your body is smart and will catch on. Instead, keep eating and don’t skip eating if you are hungry. And follow these 4 guidelines.
1. Small changes that don’t trigger your body’s countermeasures, keep your brain in the dark.
You don’t want to set off your body’s alarm systems that have spent thousands of years being perfected. Instead, go at changes in your eating slow and with a different goal than weight loss – focus on getting healthier.
Mini habits are the kings of behavior change for a healthier you.
▣ To lose weight, don’t diet. Instead focus on getting healthier. ▣
If you go in with the intent of losing weight, your body will know. You will start obsessing about food, have an increased appetite and before you know it you are back on the yo-yo-dieting track.
Don’t even think about diet. Think lifestyle change, small changes that will stick.
2. Focus on more nutrient dense foods.
This is the answer to all your worries – eat foods that are chalked full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. If you do this, your body will love you for it.
This will be whole fruits, vegetables, intact grains, and lean proteins with an emphasis on plant proteins. I did not say no animal protein, but backing down to no more than one palm size a day. For fats, focusing on seeds, nuts, avocados and a little added fat works best.
3. Knock out ultra-processed foods.
If you follow #2. above, you will automatically eliminate ultra-processed foods . But in case you need an extra push, ultra processed foods are the bad guys here. Manufacturers love them – they are easy to make, have a high profit margin, and many have an addicting-like quality.
There is science food manufacturers use for deciding how much salt and sweeteners to use in ultra-processed foods so that they maximize persuading you to take another bite, and another bite, and another bite. This means you don’t eat just one, but instead two, three, four and more bites.
Your body takes a beating over the long haul when you eat a lot of ultra-processed foods. The high sugar content means spikes in blood sugar and when combined with a lack of overall nutrient content in the food you are eating you end up with an inflammatory diet. When this is what your body is given to sustain itself over 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and more there are dire consequences in the form of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, frequent illnesses and more.
4. Find some type of movement you love.
Yes, I am an expert in food, not exercise. But I am talking about health and getting to a healthy weight without dieting. Movement then is key. There is a synergistic effect when you combine active living with nutrient dense eating.
Moving your body will rev it up so it produces the hormones needed to keep you well, free from illness and even disease – boosting your immune system by a lot.
If you are serious about success, and serious about your health then stop looking for the magic pill, or magic diet. Neither exists.
Slow and sensible changes focusing on nutrient dense foods will get you the health you want and the weight that is right for you.