Dieting? Could it be the cause of your weight gain?

We’ve all said it. “I’ll start on Monday…the new year…after my birthday” and then the “date” rolls around and we start, or we don’t and we get down on ourselves for failing that kick start into the ‘new me’ stage. New me? You are already you, now you just need to feel your best!

When we diet we lose weight but we are also starving our bodies of what it is used to. Diet – is the reduction of calories, cutting out food groups or putting our bodies into a fasted state until we’re so ravenous we cave for any kind of sustenance. 

Dieting makes us fat. 

Why? When we cut calories or remove simple food groups like fat, sugar or carbohydrates our body goes into a famined state and studies prove that cutting calories actually produces more of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin which means eventually you will overeat when the diet or your fasting period ends. 

When we cut certain food groups our body heads into nutrient deprivation and your body starts to crave that food group even more. If you’ve ever cut out fat and then seem to crave something fatty like salmon, avocado or nuts this is because your body has been starved of an essential nutrient it needs to function to its optimal. 

This is why when we diet we either gain the weight back or are continuously yo-yo dieting to keep our weight stable. Cutting out food groups, then cutting calories to a point where eventually eating seems too hard. 

How do we fix it?

Intuitive Eating.

Somewhere we got lost in the mindset of set meal times – breakfast, lunch, dinner (and dessert). Shifting our thought to only eating when hungry with just enough to satisfy it often becomes obvious we’ve been eating too much, too often. 

On days where we’re not as active our bodies actually require less food and it happens that we just eat because we’ve trained ourselves to eat morning, noon and evening when it’s not always necessary. You may find that when we eat to satisfy actual hunger you’ll naturally fall into what has now been labelled intermittent fasting where you miss breakfast but have a larger more nutrient dense lunch. Without the fancy name or restrictive mindset of only eating between certain hours of the day. 

Eat from every food group.

Gone are the days of sweet cereal boxed breakfasts. When we restrict ourselves from items we begin to crave it more and it’s more likely of turning into a downward spiral of bad eating choices instead eat protein, fat and vegetables for every meal. Just think – good animal or vegan protein such as beans or tofu, low carb vegetables – mainly green and a small amount of healthy fats from avocado, nuts, seeds or good quality oils. If most meals are based around these basics you’ll forget about “dieting” and can enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods. 

Empty calories.

These are foods which are composed primarily of sugar, fats, oils or alcohol but offer little nutrient value in terms of vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre or essential fatty acids. Often these are labelled as ‘convenience foods’ such as crisps, chocolate, cakes, donuts, soda, energy drinks, candy, cookies as well as alcoholic beverages. Reducing these food items can greatly improve your health and can still be enjoyed by choosing homemade alternatives or from cabinets of stores like Whole Foods, your local organic grocer. 

Change your mindset.

Instead of telling yourself you can’t have it. Think, do I really want it or will it make me feel amazing afterward. For example will you wake up feeling incredible after eating a tub of icecream in bed right before sleeping – probably not. Will a sweet mango enjoyed in the sun give your sweet tooth just enough zing. It’s worth a try!

These small changes will start benefiting your bodies from the inside and will naturally start to make external changes to your body without the need for restrictive diets, weight loss shakes or spending hundreds of dollars on fad products which promise a quick fix. 

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