Ditch The Diets, Change Your Life!

Ditch The Diets, Change Your Life!

It is time for us to have a better relationship with food!

With the new year comes resolutions, motivation, and hope that we can make positive changes in our lives. For a lot of us, that means losing weight, being more active, and eating healthier. All of this is excellent, starting with a clean slate, and ambition! But year after year, we have to recommit to the same resolutions and goals as years past. So, what goes wrong? Why are we stuck in a never-ending cycle? We follow all of the latest information and available diets, paleo, keto, carb-free, yet we always end up exactly where we started or worse! For all of the good intentions, we keep falling into the same trap; the “diet” trap.

The word “diet” shouldn’t be a bad word, and it wasn’t always; it merely means “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit. When we pick a new diet, instead of choosing a program and lifestyle that aligns with our values, we want a temporary solution that aligns with our goals and requires the least amount of change to our current lifestyle and habits.

ditch the diets, longterm weightloss

This is where the problem arises; we focus solely on our goals, and not on our habits. 

Having a strong desire to be successful is helpful and admirable, but it leads many dieters to the latest craze, the newest diet that promises the most extreme results with the least amount of adaptation. And instead of making the meaningful and lasting lifestyle change that we set out to make, we send ourselves down a path of metabolic destruction. Look at the definition of the word “diet” again, “Habitually” is in the description, it is our first hint that for real long-term success, we should focus on long term habit change over the instant gratification of “fad diets.” 

The sad truth is that most research shows that dieters almost always regain any lost weight over time. Which, on the one hand, is to be expected, you will gain weight as you age. But research also shows that on average, people who go on a diet end up heaver five years later than people of the same initial weight who didn’t diet. Because this extreme focus on our goals, without changes to our habits, is the cause of the endless diet cycle, we create a lifestyle that is impossible to maintain. This constant struggle to maintain a diet and the resulting failures worsens an already negative relationship with food. And that’s the scary part, if you need to lose weight to be healthy, what are your options if even dieting is unhealthy. 

The answer is we need to change our relationship with food, a positive outlook matched with a realistic understanding of what we are eating, why we are eating it, and how it is affecting our bodies.

The five best tips for changing your mindset from temporary diets to long-term lifestyle change.

Start with slow change and make it consistent

        • Significant changes to your diet regime affect your ability to recognize the body’s signals of hunger. This inability can lead to emotional eating and subsequent overeating.

Understand the underlying triggers that drive us to make unhealthy choices. 

        • What triggers drive us to eat, overeat, or to crave foods high in calories, sugar, salt, or fat. They call them comfort foods for a reason!
          • Do you crave specific foods when you are upset or depressed?
          • Do you ever snack without realizing you’re even doing it?
          • Do you often feel guilty or ashamed after eating?
          • Do you eat even when you’re not physically hungry?

Change your habits, change your life!

        • Replacing unhealthy habits with productive habits is the key to long term change, and the ability to maintain results.

Eat real food & enjoy it.

        • Everything you eat matters. The key is choosing a variety of foods and beverages from each of the food groups and making sure the choices are limited in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. 
        • Every food and beverage you consume is broken down into macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and water. Every nutrient serves an essential role in the body, which is why it’s so important to have a nutrient-rich and balanced diet.
        • Research shows that the most successful component of the foods you eat for both weight loss and nutrition consists of “real foods.” These are plant-based foods, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, as well as meats (ideally, from animals that ate plants). 
        • Minimize processed foods, including sugars and flours. 

Find success in your stuggles

      • If you have a few days of unhealthy eating. You miss the gym. Whatever it is. Do not let a speed bump stop you. No one is perfect, and trying to be will lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed or defeated. Focus on finding your success today and tomorrow. If you struggled yesterday, learn from it and keep going. This is a lifestyle change; you only fail if you stop trying.

The 5 Easiest Steps To Cut Excess Sugar From Your Diet

The Issues With Added Sugars

Consumption of added sugar is widely considered to be one of the most unhealthy parts of the modern American diet. Increased sugar intake is linked to increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cognitive decline, and some forms of cancer. According to the latest statistics from the CDC, 100 million Americans have prediabetes or diabetes. More alarming, nine out of ten people who have prediabetes are unaware of it, and if left unaddressed, it often leads to diabetes within five years.

Fructose

The first step in reducing sugar intake is to learn which foods contain naturally-occurring sugars, which contain added sugars, and in what quantities. Naturally occurring sugars occur in carbohydrates, like grains, pasta, and starchy vegetables. The sugar found in these types of foods is known as glucose. The naturally occurring sugar in fruit is known as fructose. Whole fruit contains fructose paired with fiber, nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins that can help prevent future diseases. Fructose gets broken down into glucose, which, while needed for normal bodily function, can be unhealthy in large quantities, such as drinking fruit juices that lack most of the benefits found in fruit.

Sucrose

The white sugar used for sweets and baking is called sucrose, and it is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Sucrose is extracted from sugar beets or sugar cane and can be broken down and used for energy. 

Glucose

Every cell in the human body needs glucose to function; this type of sugar is a vital part of your diet. We are equipped with an efficient system to break down foods into glucose and shuttle them into our cells with the assistance of insulin. But, we run into trouble when there is a high amount of sugar in our system, and we either can not produce enough insulin or the body can not recognize the amount of sugar circulating in our blood.

What occurs when our body is not responding to insulin?

Consuming a meal that contains a lot of carbohydrates or sugar will cause a spike in your blood sugar level. This spike will send a signal to your pancreas to produce insulin to help transport the glucose circulating to your cells. Some of the glucose is used immediately for energy. The remained is stored in the liver as glycogen or stored in the fat cells as triglycerides. When the amount of glucose needed is exceeded, the fat storage will increase and result in weight gain. Over time, consistently consuming too much glucose and having constant blood sugar spikes, will not only result in weight gain but also insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition, also known as metabolic syndrome, that causes your cells to lose the ability to use glucose for energy, causing your pancreas to produce even more insulin. The pancreas will work to keep your blood sugar at an average level for some time, but if ignored, it will become strained. When your pancreas has been exhausted, it will not be able to efficiently produce insulin, resulting in the condition known as Type II Diabetes.

Adding sugar vs. Added sugars

While not adding sugar to your coffee in the morning or using an artificial sweetener seems straightforward, the issue is more complicated.  Cutting out sugar that you personally add to your food is a great start, but you also have to monitor packaged and processed food that you buy at the grocery store. Sugar is added to nearly everything, from the obvious sugary snacks, beverages, and deserts to the not so obvious frozen dinners, pasta sauces, and condiments. There are over 50 names that manufactures can use to list sugar as an ingredient on the label. These names can be misleading and cause one to believe a product has less sugar then it does. Without reading the label on the back, claims on the front can be misleading. Vitamin water, which is thought to be a healthy alternative to sugary sports drinks, can have up to 27 grams of sugar. For comparison, a Snickers bar also contains 27 grams of sugar.

The 5 Easiest Steps To Cut Excess Sugar From Your Diet

      1. Eat fruit fresh & whole instead of juice drinks or dried fruit
      2. Avoid overeating grains, even whole grains
      3. Eat enough fiber
      4. Eat less packaged food
      5. Drink more water, fewer sports drinks

What are healthy foods to eat?

What are healthy foods to eat?

As a nutritionist, I have spent the last ten years working with clients of all ages and backgrounds. One of the most common questions new clients ask me is some variation of, “What are healthy foods to eat?”

I want to make a change in the way I eat but am confused about what foods are healthy and what foods are unhealthy.
I know my eating habits could be better, but I’ve tried to diet in the past, and the weight just came right back.
I exercise regularly and eat the “right” foods, but the scale won’t budge!

Does this sound like you?

It sounds like such a simple question but making healthy eating choices is difficult because failure generally comes from habits & execution more than lack of knowledge. Everyone is looking for the next quick fix, but a permanent change to your eating habits should not be extreme or restrictive. Here are some simple tips and tricks to get you started toward healthy eating and long-term success.

  1. Follow a plan that is sustainable, long term.

    Everyone knows quick-fix diets won’t work long term. However, most are unaware of how unhealthy quick-fix diets can be and how they can create lasting adverse effects on maintaining a healthy weight in the future. When you jump into a super restrictive diet while increasing the intensity of your workouts, your body releases stress hormones. Your body is simulating that there is something wrong with your environment, and the hormones released tell your body to save and conserve calories.

    While you may lose a few pounds before you go on vacation, your body has been jolted into survival mode. It will stop burning calories and start storing fat. Now, on your “cheat days,” or the vacation you have been prepping for, when you are indulging in higher calorie food, you will store these excess calories as fat. The more you recreate this cycle, the more trained your body and mind become to storing fat instead of burning it. Worst still, this type of dieting has been linked to increased heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and problems with metabolism.

  2. Keep it simple

    If an idea sounds too extreme, it probably is. But if you eat a balanced diet rich in nutritious foods, and exercise regularly, you can still reach your ideal weight and be healthier long term.

  3. Eat enough protein.

    Although there is research supporting different types of diets such as high fat, low carb, or low protein. There are essential nutrients that only come from protein. Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle. Maintaining muscle mass into old age, will help boost metabolism and your immune system, as well as increase bone strength and aid in maintaining a healthy weight.

  4. Don’t classify all carbohydrates as evil.

    Carbohydrates provide your body with energy.Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes break down into glucose, which is converted to glycogen to be stored for future use. Glucose is also what our brains use as their primary source for fuel. Foods classified as carbohydrates also add fiber to your diet. Having a diet high in fiber will help to promote digestive health, keep you full, and may lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

  5. There is such a thing as healthy fat!

    If you follow the guidelines of the old food pyramid, you are limiting all types of fat. If you have ever followed the ketogenic style of dieting, you eat both “good” and “bad” fat, all of the time. Somewhere in between is a happy spot where you eat enough foods high in omega 3-fatty acids, including avocado, salmon and oysters, and nuts and seeds like walnuts, chia, and flax seeds. Omega 3’s are essential for optimum nerve, brain, and heart function.

    Studies show eating enough healthy fats, helps to reduce cravings, lower your risk for diabetes, and reduce inflammation.

  6. Eat real foods that don’t have a nutrition label.

    Shopping the perimeter of a supermarket is the easiest way to avoid the highly processed items that are being advertised today as “food.” Choosing to eat food that is natural, unrefined, and doesn’t come in a package is a simple way to figure out if you are eating a healthy option. Adding more vegetables to your daily meals will help you increase fiber plus the vitamins and nutrients that make you feel energized and healthy.

So, when you are confused about what choice to make, which foods are healthy and which are not, consider making smaller consistent and maintainable choices. Remember that dieting is highly individualized, what works for you might not work for your best friend and vice versa. If you find yourself struggling, get help from a nutritionist or health coach to develop a plan designed to work best for you. And develop a relationship with your coach so they can hold you accountable to healthy long-term change.


About well-choices

Well-Choices Health Coaching is a community of lifelong learners who have come together to help the people of our community achieve their health goals. We are here to provide support & guidance as you make positive changes to habits regarding your activity, nutrition, hydration, sleep, stress, and motivation.

FIND US AT
  • 30 N Gould St, WY 82801
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  • info@well-choices.com