In 2007 I found myself kneeling at the altar saying: "I just can't do it anymore." Growing up Catholic, "going to the altar" was quietly walking up to receive communion. This... this was dropping to my knees, crying, and saying out loud "I just can't do it anymore." Not taking care of myself, not listening to my own body, anxiety ridden, depressed, and sick and tired of being sick and tired... I just couldn't do it anymore. That feeling was something that catapulted me into living better, happier and healthier. That feeling to this day reminds me to ask myself: "is this something I can do forever". This kind of questioning has helped me to avoid overcommitment, doing things that don't make me happy, and helped me to create long lasting habits. It's also a question that has helped hundreds of people avoid going on yet another diet.
I am compassionate to where people are on their journeys, I work hard not to jump into a soapbox speech when I hear someone telling me about their new diet, and I will always congratulate people on reaching a goal they've set. When someone asks my opinion on a diet program I simply ask: 'is it something you can do forever?' The answer is usually no followed by a but... most will launch into explaining the need to lose weight first, kickstart their progress, or any other way of saying that same thing. It just doesn't work that way. And anyone who has lost and gained weight knows it.
Studies have shown that weight cycling (yo-yo dieting) is linked to a greater risk of diabetes, hypertension, gallbladder stones, more rapid aging, disordered eating, depression, and a long list of others. Often times after a cycle of weight loss and then weight gain people find it even harder to lose weight the next round.
Your body responds to weight loss the same way it would respond to starving – by conserving energy. The brain uses information about calorie intake and the body’s amount of stored energy to determine which hormones to release. To adapt to weight loss the body will alter the production of appetite-regulating hormones. This means your brain will tell your body to eat more AND store more. You'll be hungrier because your body is trying to tell you it's hungry and you'll store more fat because your body wants to conserve energy.
Making changes to your diet to improve your health and your weight need to be permanent changes, not temporary. So when you are faced with a "how to", it will be simplified by asking yourself: is this something I can do forever.
Can I restrict my calories forever? No.
Can I count my macros forever? No.
Can I eliminate whole groups of food forever? No.
Can I eat more fruits and vegetables forever? N.... oh wait, I can maybe manage that.
Can I always eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm satisfied? Hm, that doesn't sound so bad.
Can I eat both pizza AND kale? Sure, I'm game.
There are occasions and illnesses that will require treatment that won't last forever but after you've been to the altar of "I just can't do it anymore" and are ready to change your life, I hope you'll start asking: "is this something I can do forever?".
Sweat & Smiles,