Stop Dieting!

     If you want to permanently lose weight dieting is literally one of the worst things you can do. All of your life you’ve been told if you want to lose weight just go on a diet and eat less. This is probably why there are currently 108 million people on a diet in the United States. The idea that dieting leads to permanent weight loss is the greatest health misconception ever. Studies show that approximately 97% of dieters regain everything they lost and then some within three years. Yes, you read that correctly, 97% of people who go on diet actually end up gaining weight, let’s explore why.

     When we go on diets we end up eating less to lose weight. We deprive ourselves of food we want and key nutrients that our body needs. This leads our bodies to believe that we are starving. Our body reacts by holding on to the fat we have in our bodies and going into survival mode. When in survival mode our body takes energy from our muscles and not from our fat. So if we lose weight by dieting it is muscle loss, not fat loss. This also greatly slows down our metabolism. So by trying to be healthier we deprive ourselves of key nutrients, deplete our muscles, slow down our metabolisms and hold onto the very fat we are trying to lose. Oh, and one more thing; we also feel absolutely miserable!

      Studies show that 40% of dieters quit in the first 7 days and only 20% of dieters are still going after one month. We may lose muscle weight at first temporarily but permanent positive health changes are always the result of working with your body and not against it. So we temporarily drop a few pounds by depriving ourselves and then our body rebels. What happens next is our body revolts against the oppression that we’ve put it through; as it should. Our body then overeats to regain the nutrients it missed out on and then some. Not only will our body overeat but it will still be in survival mode. Dieting leads our metabolism to be slower than ever while our appetite is greater than ever. Yikes! No wonder why 97% of diets result in weight gain. Dieting may start out by droppings some pounds, but 97% of the time it results in us binge eating. Not only does dieting result in weight gain, but it has been linked heart disease, insulin resistance, higher blood pressure and inflammation. So why do so many Americans do something that is incredibly unhealthy, results in the exact opposite of their goals and makes them feel miserable?

 

     The weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry – $60.9 billion to be exact [5]. Approximately 108 million people are on a diet, which means they spend an average of around $564 each to lose weight. Weight loss companies are for-profit business, the have one goal; make as much money as possible. In business the most profitable customers are returning customers. The reason why 97% of diets fail is because the diet industry has been designed this way. Dieting customers offer ‘quick-fix’ temporary solutions that work at first but ensure you return to their programs or purchase their products in the near future. Think about it, we all have that one friend who made millions off of that get rich quick scheme right? Wrong! Dieting is literally the health equivalent of your body trying to ‘Get Rich Quick’; it never works.

 

     Think of your body as a car. Except the biggest difference between your body and a car is simple; if you don’t like your body you can’t just buy a new one! Think of your body as one single car that you will have to drive around for your entire life. Or better yet think of it as a fine Italian sports car! (Which it will be once you apply what you’ve learned in the book J)  To maintain a car for as long as possible you need to give it what it needs to run. Things like engine oil, engine coolant, tire rotations, etc. If you want your car to run well for a long time you wouldn’t just not put oil in it would you? I would sure hope not. Dieting and depriving your body of key nutrients is like randomly taking oils out of your car; it never ends well. In order to permanently lose weight you need to work with your body and not against it.

      So if I shouldn’t diet then how should I lose weight? If you want to lose weight permanently stop dieting and start focusing on permanent lifestyle changes. If you want to make a major change in your life you will need to consistency change your habits. Dieting is a quick fix act while permanent weight loss is the result of establishing new habits.

‘Excellence is not an act, but a habit’ – Will Durant

Counting Calories is Overrated.

     If you’ve ever tried losing weight before I’m sure you are familiar with counting your calories. You’ve been told the key to losing weight is to consume fewer calories each day than you burn. That is true, if you do consume fewer calorie than you burn, you will lose weight. However, if you want to lose weight you should first increase the quality of your calories. An increase in quality will lead to fewer calories consumed overall. One of the keys losing weight permanently is to increase the quality of your calories. You’ve also probably heard the phrase ‘all calories are created equally’ or ‘a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.’ Phrases like these are almost as harming and untrue as ‘you should go on a diet to lose weight’.

     In order to illustrate my point on how not all calories are created equally, let’s take for an example the daily breakfast I ate when I was 300 pounds compared to the daily breakfast I consume now at 200. Both breakfast are literally the exact same amount of calories but have incredibly different effects when consumed.

     When I weighed 300 pounds I would eat 500 calories for breakfast every day. This would consists of a bagel with cream cheese and some orange juice. This breakfast consists of lots of ‘refined carbs’ and sugar. Studies show that ‘refined carbs’ and sugar alone contribute to 75% of the fat we have stored in our bodies. Consuming ‘refined carbs’ and sugar release glucose into you blood stream. If this glucose is not immediately used it is stored as fat. Consuming sugar and ‘refined carbs’ also does not keep you full for very long, causing you to eat more throughout the day which obviously leads to weight gain. Let’s recap the effect of this 500 calorie breakfast:

·       Not Very filling

·       Lots of Sugar

·       Lots of ‘refined carbs’

·       No healthy protein or fats

     I currently weigh 200 pounds and still eat 500 calories every day for breakfast. Every day for breakfast I wake up and consume 6 eggs mixed with some various vegetables. These 500 calories has a much different effect on my body. First off, eggs are filled with lots of healthy fats and protein, which keeps you feeling fuller longer and eating less through the day. Research has found that eating eggs for breakfast can help weight loss by limiting calorie intake for the rest of the day by more than 400 calories.(2) Secondly, eggs are literally one of the healthiest foods on planet earth and naturally help you burn fat. Lastly, the high protein content of eggs helps to build muscle which permanently boost your metabolism. Research shows that eating a high protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, while helping you feel so satiated that you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day(3,4,5). Where I live 6 eggs a day cost also approximately $1.20, but we will elaborate on this in a later chapter. Let’s recap the effect of this 500 calorie breakfast:

·       Very Filling

·       Lots of healthy protein, fats and carbs

·       Helps build muscle

·       Helps boost metabolism

 

     As you can clearly see from this illustration, while both breakfasts are 500 calories, they have drastically different effects on your body and your permanent figure and health. If you want to spend time and energy keeping track on your calories then that’s perfectly fine. You need to remember that when it comes to losing weight the number one factor in your permanent weight loss will be the quality of your calories. You also need to remember that counting calories is very untrustworthy as the total calories on nutrition labels and at restaurants is very inaccurate. Studies show that companies can underreport calories by up to 20% and still pass their FDA inspections.  As you first focus on the quality of your calories, you will in turn eat fewer of them, which will lead you to permanently lose weight.