When an individual books a consultation at Good Egg Nutrition, they typically assume that I will give them a strict diet to ‘solve’ their health issues or help them lose weight. However, as a holistic Clinical Nutritionist I have a different philosophy around diets and dieting.
Do diets really work?
Before answering this question – do you remember a time where you have started a diet on Monday, only to end up eating the whole kitchen down by Thursday afternoon? I certainly do…
Dieting is a strategy for short-term weight loss. Want to lose weight fast? The simple answer that most health professionals with give you is to restrict your calories.
However, your body is smarter than you know. If you shock your body with an extreme caloric deficit (i.e. eating less food than you burn) it will believe that you are in a situation where you are deprived of food. This will put the alarm bells on in our body and slow down metabolism, causing your body to hold onto body fat with less food consumed. This also explains why it is easier to gain back the weight and more post-diet.
Mental health and dieting
Not only is dieting unhelpful with fat loss from a physiological sense, it can also be detrimental to our mental health. Restriction of food or food groups will consequently make us want it even more. This can lead to episodes of binge eating, an obsession with food, stress/anxiety and the idea of our next meal completely consuming our mind.
Dieting ultimately leads to an unhealthy and obsessive relationship with food in most people, which can ultimately result in disordered eating habits or eating disorders. With over 1 million Australians currently suffering from an eating disorder, it is a wonder why diets are still promoted via health professionals, the media and community.
So, what should I do now?
The key to healthy weight loss and weight maintenance is to focus on a healthy lifestyle, which you can maintain for the long term. I always emphasise the importance of balance and letting yourself have those guilty pleasures when needed.
Increasing vegetables, fruit, legumes and wholegrains whilst reducing the amount of processed food, saturated fat, salt and sugar in your diet is what should be emphasised in a healthy lifestyle. Rebuild trust with your body and focus on how certain foods make your body FEEL – rather than what it looks like.