It’s crazy to think that many people who lose weight end up less healthy and more overweight than when they started. Unfortunately, this is because a lot of people begin a diet with a short-term mentality and don’t realize they should be making a lifelong commitment to their health. Luckily there’s no need for starvation or cutting out food from every food group (even though it’s essential to cut back on the sugar) to lose weight. In fact, on the keto diet, which gets discussed in the Body Reboot book, you can participate in a low-carb, high-fat diet and lose weight, keep the weight off, and develop positive eating habits! Nutrition is vital for any diet, but there are still other reasons why 95% of diets don’t work, and it’s not only due to the food we’re eating.
Some people feel that a low-fat diet is a good diet, but as we know, keto focuses on eating a high-fat diet and is very low-carb. It turns out that it’s not fat that causes people to be overweight, it’s sugar! Mark Hyman MD discusses how a high-fat diet like keto can help people lose more weight and mentions a study that demonstrates that’s the case.
Most people still believe we should avoid egg yolks and that eating a low-fat diet will help them lose weight. The old idea that fat has 9 calories per gram and carbs 4 calories per gram led to the mistaken idea that if we cut out fat, we would lose weight.
Well, look what’s happened to America in the last 30 years, where low fat has been the rage and the method for weight loss. We are fatter than ever (70 percent of us are overweight), and now, 1 in 2 Americans has pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes or what I like to call “diabesity.”
Harvard scientist Walter Willet reviewed all the science on low fat and weight loss and found that it is not eating fat that makes you fat but sugar. A recent study by David Jenkins found that a low-carb (26%), high-fat (43%) vegan diet was more effective for weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk factors than a vegan low-fat diet. The high-fat group lost 4 more pounds and dropped their cholesterol 10 more points by eating high fat.
Other studies show that by eating more fat and less carbs you can increase your metabolism by 300 calories a day (eating the same total calories a day). That’s like getting the benefit of running for an hour a day without getting off the couch. You could call it “The Butt Diet.” Sit on your butt and lose 1 pound every 11 days.
Jean Fain, LICSW, MSW, a psychotherapist, interviewed Traci Mann on NPR about her book Secrets From The Eating Lab. Traci revealed that it’s not about tricking your body and using willpower to say no, but rather creating positive habits that can help you through dieting. Strategies that you have in place will help you stick to a diet and healthy lifestyle changes. If you don’t create positive habits that you can stick to, then it’s likely a diet, even keto, won’t work. Those healthy “tricks” can help you work with human nature instead of against it.
Your tips for achieving our leanest livable weight suggest that, to make healthful choices, we need to trick ourselves. That given human biology and psychology, people aren't all that capable of doing what mindful eating subjects do: find satisfaction in smaller portions. Is that really the case you're making, or are you making a different case?
But the strategies for reaching your leanest livable weight aren't tricks. The strategies try to find ways to make human nature work for us, instead of against us. For example, it's human nature to struggle with willpower. (I don't know anyone who doesn't!) So some of the strategies help us avoid situations in which we would need a lot of willpower. They do this by taking advantage of human nature to make it easier to avoid unhealthy foods and access healthy ones. For example, strategies about putting obstacles between ourselves and unhealthy foods take advantage of most people's tendencies toward laziness. They aren't tricks. They work even if you know about them and are fully aware of them.
Similarly, strategies about creating habits and forming certain intentions are not tricks, but once we form them, they are more likely to kick in automatically right when we need them. And I eat a vegetable first every night at dinner. Not because it's a trick, but because I'll eat more of it when I am at my hungriest, and when there are no other temptations around. It's just working with human nature instead of battling it.
Dietitian Whitney Stuart of Whitness Nutrition told Business Insider that many people fail because they try to take on too much at once. That’s why some keto experts recommend keto newbies to slowly adjust to the diet, as opposed to cutting down their carb intake to twenty carbs beginning on day one.
“Most people would rather have a horrible 10 days of a raw, low-carb, no salt, no sugar, no water diet and return to their old habits than really have to address that $150 Frappuccino bill they're racking up each month,” Stuart said.
She recommends easing into things:
Instead of a 21-day sugar “cleanse,” Stuart suggests trying to “slowly wean yourself off of all six pumps of vanilla in your ‘breakfast latte' and eventually, make yourself some eggs at home.”
Instead of jumping on the paleo diet trend, Stuart said, just clean out all the processed and packaged snacks and replace them with sliced carrots, celery, and bell peppers.
Ultimately, smaller changes over a longer period of time can land you on the same diet you wanted in the first place, but in a sustainable way.
Stuart recommends making small but sustainable changes, staying away from anything extreme, and building up small changes over time. The kicker is, she said, most people don't want to make the slower lifestyle changes to last.
Some people set unrealistic goals, which makes them feel discouraged when they don’t accomplish everything on their list. However, The Diabetes Council blog says that’s not a good idea and that instead, you should set goals that are more achievable. Set smaller goals, achieve them and then move onto larger goals. Follow this strategy and the ideas below, and you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel.
You cannot expect to change all of your eating habits overnight and the changes to last. Instead, making small changes, such as cutting out soda, can help you lose up to 20 pounds in 6 months!
Do not make your new diet too strict and restrictive. Having a treat every once in a while is okay! You don’t want to make yourself unhappy or you won’t commit to the new changes. For example, if your favorite treat is ice cream, eat a reasonable helping one or two nights a week to reward yourself for sticking with your new changes.
Do not expect to lose the weight immediately. It took time to put it on, and it will take time for it to come off.
Many people say that they will start their diet on a Monday or after the holidays. That is procrastination. If it is really important to you, you would start it in the present time!
Making one poor choice will not ruin your entire effort. For example, if you eat a burrito for lunch, that doesn’t mean that you have ruined all of your choices for the rest of the day. Stay strong and make smart decisions for the rest of your selections! Your goal should be to make good choices, not flawless ones.
Do not set to lose an unreasonable amount of weight in a short period of time. This will only end up frustrating you if you do not see results within the timeframe of your tight schedule.
Another reason people may have issues with a diet is that they’re not willing to commit to it. As Lifehack mentions below, committing to a healthy lifestyle is indeed a choice, and it’s up to you to find a diet that works for you and one that you can stick to without having unrealistic expectations. The keto diet works well for many because it curbs your appetite, making it easier to lose weight. Besides losing weight, it also offers many other health benefits from feeling more energetic to helping battle diabetes.
Learning about nutrition and committing to a healthy lifestyle is a choice. Once you find a diet that works, you’ll never want to return to your old ways. But many people have unrealistic expectations of dieting, viewing it as a temporary solution, seeking immediate results, or resorting to exotic and extreme fad diets. Rather than making small, incremental, sustainable changes in lifestyle, diets encourage you to turn your life inside out for two weeks or so. There are often many ways you can configure your diet to cut back (i.e. soda, alcohol, dessert), but you shouldn’t starve yourself or let your diet make you unhappy. Balance and moderation should be your motto, and you should never give up! You must approach dieting optimistically or else you’ll fall prey to insecure and hopeless ideas (“It’s just one burger…”), undermining any progress you may have made. Remember: the small changes last and the big ones don’t. Good health practices are more than just learned — they become a habit and a way of life.
Psychology Today says it’s about making a sacrifice and eating in moderation. You may be failing at your diet because you’re not willing to eat less and make healthier decisions. Hopefully, because a lot of the food you eat on the keto diet is satiating that it makes it easier to eat less.
Sure, dieting involves giving up something pleasurable. That is easy to see. Everyone understands that. But, really, what the dieter has to give up is only the difference between eating one or two cookies and eating the whole box. On Thanksgiving, it is the difference between eating a normal meal and eating a lot, not infrequently to the point of feeling stuffed, sometimes to the point of feeling ill. It is not clear why eating normally, rather than overeating, involves a sacrifice.
Dieting means dwelling on the fact of being overweight. Even thinking of dieting spoils eating to some extent. Something similar happens when someone tries to give up smoking. In preparation for their stopping I ask smokers to keep a record of every cigarette they smoke; But if they start to keep records, they stop almost at once. Simply taking note of each cigarette spoils the enjoyment of it.
At the time of writing this post, we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness and to help people lose weight and get healthy! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left.
Sources: Dr. Hyman, NPR: The Salt, Business Insider, The Diabetes Council, Lifehack, Psychology Today
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