You can’t walk past a magazine stand without being confronted by one of our biggest obsessions: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution—your shortcut to a thinner body.
Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. The facts are that we are eating more low-fat food than ever before and we’re joining more gyms… and yet we are putting on more weight. Clearly something is not working! And I should know – I’ve eaten more grapefruit and cabbage soup than I care to remember. I can barely stand the thought of them, let alone the smell and the taste of them!
Diets were a regular agenda item throughout my childhood – I always had a few kilos to lose. But these days, things are a lot easier. For me, I can pin point the changes in my lifestyle that have turned my situation around:
- Exposure to raw foods and investing in a high-speed blender was the start to my whole foods lifestyle.
- Discovering my daughter’s (who tends to be a wonderful mirror for me!) sensitivity to gluten which was the impetus to remove gluten and refined sugar from our family’s food.
- Investing in myself – to meditate, to work with energy healers, to embrace yoga, pilates and sunshine – allows me to process all sorts of emotional experiences, which has in turn helped me to “let go” of unwanted layers of protection.
- And of course studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition exposed me to so much knowledge and really got me experimenting with all types of food and lifestyle strategies – I feel like I am creating myself now!
Diets steer us away from our common sense and and elicit few, if any, lasting results. Why?
- Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle; how could one diet be right for everyone?
- Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 4.5 kg gain once off the diet.
- Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.
- Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances.
In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting.
Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom. There is no such thing as a quick fix; you already have everything you need within you. With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.
What’s your experience? Have you ever wanted to shift a few kilos and found that the diet that worked splendidly for your best friend gave you nothing but grief?