How many diets are you going to go on before you realize that diets just don’t work? My ultimate dream is to eradicate all bogus diets! I feel diets, specifically diets that ask you to avoid or negativize a specific food or food group are extremely harmful to you, both physically and mentally. I work with a lot of women in their 60s-70s, for weight management. Many of them come to me, a registered dietitian, after a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and failed diet attempts. A LIFETIME! And at 66 years old, when they have been battling with their weight for most of their lives, this is the FIRST TIME they sought out a registered dietitian. Blows. My. Mind. Many of them come to me for “a different way”, “a different approach”, “it’s not about weight anymore, I just want to feel better”. Many of them have reached a point in their life, where they feel that weight isn’t as important as it used to be and now they are ready to just feel better physically and emotionally, weight isn’t the driving force as much. Why does it have to take 40 years to finally come to that realization?! I find it absolutely heartbreaking every time I hear a person hate on their body or weight, every time I read a post about “the new diet”, “the best new supplement”, “pain is gain”, “I lost 20 lbs in 10 days, here’s how”, on and on and on and on.
When I do work with women, typically between 18-40 years old, they have not had enough of everything being about weight and how they look on the outside. They haven’t gotten to the point of ENOUGH from diets and consistently trying the “best new thing”. They still feel the diet for them is out there and they will try each new thing until they find the right one for them….or usually, until they finally “give in” that diets just don’t work and they have been wreaking havoc on their poor bodies and minds for 40+ years and finally just “want to feel better” and weight just doesn’t matter as much as it used to.
When I do finally find a someone who is willing to listen to my teachings on “moderation”, “all food fits”, “intuitive eating”, “all food groups are important”, they make strides beyond what I have ever seen with someone following a restrictive diet. Maybe not in weight, because true and realistic weight loss is always slow and should be slow to be sustainable! But in how they treat themselves, how they look at the world, how they feel about food and nourishing their bodies, how their energy level feels, their skills in preparing meals, drinking more water, not being hyper focused on weight, improvements in their social situations, better interactions.
I have to admit, I am biased in my nutrition beliefs. But I’m biased based on experience, both through my nutrition counseling experience and my personal experience, all my teachings are research based, not bologna. Now, putting someone on a calorie based diet or helping them follow a restricted diet is actually easier for me than utilizing my approach of intuitive eating, all foods fit, food exchanges and balanced eating. Why? you might be asking. Because I can give you a calorie amount and you track your calories and you either meet that calorie amount or you don’t. Restricted diets: here is a list of foods you can eat, here is a list of foods you can’t. You either stick to the list or you don’t. Black and white, easy to track, easy to analyze. Not sustainable! I don’t care what is easiest for me, I care what is best for you, what is going to work long term for you, what is going to positively impact your life more. Now, everyone is an individual, therefore an individual approach will be provided to everyone, but I will not help you follow a ketogenic diet – unless research supports otherwise, which it most certainly does not at this point, I will not help you spend a fortune on Atkin’s diet products as I feel they do more harm than good. I will answer all your questions related to diets, diet supplements, food, nutrition with scientific evidence and research based information. You take the information provided and do what you will with it. I am not here to force you into anything, change your mindset, change your life. I am here to provide you with the information, the tools, the skills, the answers to help you determine the best nutrition path for you. I just want to help you understand that diets have never really worked for the majority of the population since diets were created back in the 1800s. What has worked is eating thoughtfully, mindfully, with positive intentions for your body and what you need your body to do for you.
If something seems “to good to be true”, it probably is. Changing your mindset, changing your behaviors, choosing a different, less black and white path is hard work but good, fulfilling, MUCH NEEDED work that will provide you with benefits that are lasting and life changing, forever.
So do yourself a favor, stop following your friend's restrictive diet, your favorite actress's "too good to be true" diet, your Facebook stumble of the magic supplement, instead find a registered dietitian near you and learn how to finally nourish your body well and still eat all the foods you love!