One of the most misunderstood topics among Americans is food. How can something that is meant to be life bearing and natural become a topic of sheer confusion? Many people have developed a fear of the very thing providing life to their bodies. Food has become evil, the destroyer of the external body. People who fear food are those who tend to skip meals, restrict calories and just feel guilty about the food they eat. They also are the ones who focus on a number on the scale. Need I remind you again that food is essential to life. It is the fuel that keeps our bodies running smoothly and functioning at its prime. That means the entire workings of our body, our organs, muscles and hormones rely on the food we put into it.
Unfortunately we have been told time and time again that the best way to lose weight is through cutting food intake (calorie restriction) and usually increasing an exercise regime. This is why counting calories, carbs, fat, points, (whatever it is people count) in hopes of obtaining desired fat loss has become so popular. Let’s be honest weight loss sells, that is a truth. In fact last year alone Americans spent over $20 billion dollars in the diet industry. That is a 2 with 10 whopping zeros behind it ($20,000,000,000) . People buy into anything that promises quick and easy weight loss, including the murky pool of fad diets. That is why there are so many of them.
Unfortunately we are missing the truth. A diet with a calorie restriction has a huge hormonal impact on our bodies. Sure you may see weight loss, probably not in the area we desire (that being fat), but the number on the scale will probably decline. However, that usually means other functions in your body are declining as well. Prolonged dieting has been proven to send your body into a state of stress (aka starvation) and inhibits thyroid function which inhibits hormone function. In case you didn’t know, hormones run the show. They are very important. In fact, your thyroid gland is in charge of regulating metabolism and plays a major role in the production and function of hormones, enzymes, antibodies, neurotransmitters, energy and energy stores. These are not minor things!
Eating an overly restricted diet is the quickest way to ruin your health and start shutting down your entire system.
This is also why statistics show that 8 (some statistics say 9) out of 10 people on a restricted diet will regain all the weight they lost plus more. Yikes! Note this, during a period of underfeeding, your cells begin to prime themselves for when you do eat food. They do this so they can store fat better, more efficiently and more quickly than when your food intake was much higher. Essentially, your metabolism drops so your body can absorb more and store more. The fat storage usually takes place in the abdominal region as fat stores in this area act as a reservoir of energy for vital organ function. Did you catch that, it is vital for your organs to receive energy to function and you have to eat to get that energy.
When people lose weight and gain it back time and time again, we classify them as a yo-yo dieter. Most people on restrictive diets end up looking and feeling worse than when they started. In fact many develop a growing list of digestive and metabolic ailments including; food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, weird cravings, bone loss, sleep problems, hypo or hyperglycemia, poor skin and hair, crazy hormonal cycles and more. Chronic dieting will leave you with a damaged and unhealthy metabolism and a body that is aging at an accelerated rate.
1. We must first develop a self-trust that our body can feed and hydrate it as it needs.
We don’t just need to pay attention to the standards someone has placed on us or the chart we downloaded, but realize that our bodies actually know how much energy it needs and how much fluid to consume. We must listen to what our bodies need and what our bodies are not liking.
2. We need to eat an adequate amount of calories or energy.
Remember, every cell requires energy to function, without it your body is not operating as it should. Feed it well and feed it consistently. Great results will come from this.
3. Get help!
This isn’t always easy to do on your own. Find someone you can trust that knows and believes the hormonal and life bearing impact of calories over strictly looking at weight loss. Don’t let someone put you in a box, your body was designed differently than the next. We are all different and thus why not one approach works for everyone.
4. Do something!
Remember change takes real intentionality. Do you want a quick fix or do you want your health for life? Only you can decide, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Food should be enjoyed for the life-giving nourishment it provides to the body.
If you would like more help in this area of regaining control of your body and learning to listen to what it wants, I do offer personal nutrition consulting with various services.