This technically relates to every diet known and unknown. Name your diet and there will be something that doesn’t work for someone on it. There are some diets that just don’t work for some of us, some that do and others that quite honestly no one should be doing, especially if they want long term results. Dieting has lost its way for how it can actually help us live healthier lives without the added weight. We are bombarded with diet products, surgeries, pills and advice and yet obesity is at crisis levels.
The idea we have to be on a diet to lose weight is incredibly determinantal to achieving weight loss and building health. We in turn punish ourselves in an already challenging situation and end up giving up 99.9% of the time. We see the need to take control of our body and instantly turn to a diet thinking it the ticket to freedom but in reality it is only a surface level solution. We seek answers, quick and easy fixes so we can return to the busy lives we all lead. Who has time to intentionally diet on top of it all?
Therein lies the problem though. If we don’t find a way to live with food, manage stress and be healthy then we are likely to end up where we started. Overweight, depressed, isolated and feeling like a failure at dieting. Dieting lulls us into this place where we think following this prescribed way of doing something as simple as eating will fix everything in our lives. Losing weight will make things better… and it does to some extent but it is only part of the equation.
Using keto as an example in this post but there are many other diets just like it that have this mindset we must restrict, give up and never again have a certain food. We must change how we eat forever which as advantages and disadvantages. None of these diets however look beyond food as to how to keep weight off.
Keto and Other Diet Myths
Let’s start with keto dieting. It is in fact a wonderful framework to help us change our eating patterns. Many of us would benefit from the inclusion of more vegetables and less bread. However, not all of us need to be fasting. In fact, most of us should not, especially those with diabetes, blood and heart concerns, kidney concerns and behavioral health needs such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. Keto has the benefits of retraining us to appreciate healthy fats and addressing inflammation which are positive. The problem with keto is the long term side effects.
To clarify, I do believe some fasting is good for us. It needs to be uniquely determined based on our health and body needs. Even the ancient Egyptians fasted as a way to manage illness. It can be beneficial in short, managed stretches to reset our body. If you choose to fast, please know your body’s limits and do not just subscribe to a dietary guideline that is written in general. We always need the ability to personalize a diet if we want it to be long lasting.
Like most diets, keto strives to teach and instill lifestyle changes. These are good messages to a point but they only address the physical aspects of what that message actually means. The diet restricts carbs, fruits, and many foods that can be healthy for us. It also still allows for processed foods, artificial sweeteners and other products that can be harmful to our health. If you adhere to this diet, you can lose weight, and many have. Seeing a diet as only a physical change is where it and others like it come up short. Any diet that says you will never again enjoy a slice of birthday cake is a recipe for long term failure and misery. The last I checked cauliflower does not taste anywhere near a birthday cake.
The point is not to live without forever, but to learn to live with foods, all foods. If we’re only dieting to lose weight then we have not chosen a method to support long term weight management or health needs. Over time we may learn to never eat cake again but our emotional and spiritual health will suffer. That in turn impacts our physical health. We also realistically know it is not reasonable to forever give up a birthday cake or special food item. The idea to give them up temporarily while you work on weight loss is positive but at the same time we need to be developing a healthier relationship with food. This means developing that appreciation of how to use it for our health and where moderation can be applied for special foods.
What Happens After Our Weight is Gone?
What happens when we lose all the weight? What then? For most of us we enjoy some new clothes, compliments from our friends and new found energy. It feels good and we cannot imagine ever going back to where we were before. We gladly dump those big sized clothes off at the charity store and fill our closet with new exciting items. We talk about our journey with our friends and show off pictures of our new body on social media.
We show how happy we are and how much better our life is now that the weight is gone. But… is that all we base our happiness on is being smaller in size?
What happens when our friends stop telling us we look great?
What do we do when we’re still not in a loving relationship or are dating people who still don’t make us feel the way we want?
What happens when our job still sucks or stress gets to be too much?
When our distraction from our weight loss victory happens or we run into something that comes up that touches our emotional and spiritual being we can easily fall back into old habits. If these were not addressed as part of our weight loss journey, as so often is the case, then we have only lost some weight. We are still the same person, with the same stress, the same problems, the same bills and the same circumstances. The only thing that changed is the size on the tag of our jeans.
We only focused on our physical body and not the hunger we have for inclusion, connection, community and love. We didn’t address trauma, pain, fear, insecurity and our own internal mind work at the time we were dropping pounds. We may have thought we did because we feel different on the outside but the norm is the same problems that existed before are still there now. We were just distracted by our weight change for a little while and they were not our primary focus. So we soon find ourselves back on the couch with ice cream and Netflix, stopping by for fast food and right back where we started with another need to diet again.
This is especially true if we have used a restrictive diet to reach our goal. When we deprive ourselves, we impact not only our body but our mind and spirit too. We punish ourselves, give excessive negative self-talk and scold ourselves if we “cheat.” Our spirit feels excluded and isolated because we said no to something everyone else is enjoying and celebrating. That is not a diet, that’s a punishment!
Food is part of human experience. All food. In the Bible, food is always a mentioned in the way of refueling and celebration. In real life, it is still that way today. We have to learn to live with food in peace and see it for what it is, food to be fuel for our body, at peace in our mind and lifting in our spirit.
Why Keto and Other Diets Let Us Down
Dieting became a fad in the 1970s and early 1980s. This was during the height of the fat is bad and eggs will kill you messaging. Heart disease became a topic everyone was scared of and cancer became more openly discussed. Products rushed to the market filled with new artificial sweeteners, preservatives and ingredients that have done little to support weight loss, heart health or health overall. Ironically, this was also the time of the diet pill and surgeries such as bariatric stomach surgery. The belief being if we could control our appetite we could control our waist and our risks decrease.
Physically this can be true.
However, instead of addressing the problems we sought an easy answer. The diet foods, diet sodas and diet pills. If it promised to help you lose a few pounds people scrambled for it. In many cases this is still true today. The diet products sold today are among the highest in the vitamin and supplement industry. When these fail to work or work for a short time only we search out the next newest thing to come out in search of hope.
We fall for the lie that a diet can do it for us that which we cannot do ourselves. We are made to believe we need the help of diet coaches, diet products, gym memberships and more because we are too weak and incapable to manage it ourselves. Otherwise we would have by now right? That’s the marketing ploy many diet companies will use to make you question yourself. Their tactic is we need their support and products to make it easy if we only follow these prescriptive eating plans and certain types of packaged foods made for our convenience.
Despite it all heart disease is still a number one killer in the United States over 30 years later. Children are now facing obesity in numbers like never before. More than 27 million people have a thyroid issue. Depression medications are the number one prescription written by a general practitioner.
We are not a nation getting slimmer or healthier despite all the “help” available.
Finding the Right Diet Approach for You
Given the dire results in dieting, how does someone actually lose weight, keep it off and live healthier?
There are truly some fabulous diets out there but we need to reset the definition of diet and personalize it to our needs. Here are some tips to achieving that:
First, define your goals beyond the number on the scale or tag size in clothing. What are you really wanting to lose weight to achieve? Define it in terms of your life beyond the physical. Look at that list and see if there are things on there that you have tied to weight loss that are within your control now.
There is nothing stopping you from having great things in your life despite your size. Having a weight loss goal that aligns to a bigger health goal physically, emotionally and spiritually are the goals that consider all parts of who you are.
Next, describe how you eat today. What makes up the food in your fridge and pantry? When you go out to eat, what type of food is that? If you’re diet consists of processed foods, take-out, canned and poor ingredient foods that’s a great place to incorporate changes first. Rediscover your taste buds with different flavors that are healthy, whole foods. Break up with table salt and reduce sugar without replacing it with an artificial version.
What do you drink in a day? If it’s coffee, wine, soda, teas, juices and more this too indicates an opportunity for improvement. The goal is to drink half your body weight in water per day. Not only that but avoid plastic and use a high quality filtered water source. A lot of problems we have in our life can be traced to dehydration. There is not substitute for water. Your brain is over 70% water so just imagine how much clearer you can think hydrated!
How do you sleep? If you are getting less than 8 hours per night you are sleep deprived. Like water, we need sleep nightly to rebuild our cells and help our body reset. It takes a full 8 hours a night to do that process. Also, if you are taking medications to sleep this is interfering with your body’s process as well.
Movement. This is another dieting mishap that leads to giving up frequently. We do need movement but it doesn’t have to be brutal or painful. Taking a walk, being more active anywhere in our life is a step in the right direction. Start with something and build on it the activities that you are interested in.
Simply incorporating these steps is a great foundation to bigger changes in our lifestyle that can lead to weight loss, better energy and other improvements in our health. None of these cost money or even take more time to do. They are simple every day things all of us need to live and yet they are so often overlooked because we think there is a simpler and faster way.
Vitamins and Supplements
There are some basic things that can enhance our health journey too when it comes to losing weight. These are general I suggest to everyone but you could need more. Working with your natural health practitioner will help you identify those needs. Always use a high bioavailable product that is based on natural ingredients. Using chemical, synthetic and manufactured ingredients will not be able to be processed by your body.
Other diet considerations
When you make the decision to work on your weight, there is a lot of other factors that go along with that choice. It can quickly feel overwhelming resulting in a sense of defeat before you even begin. I recommend the following to set yourself up for success:
Take it in small pieces. Set small, intentional goals that encompass all of who you are in body, mind and spirit and where you want your life to go from this point
Put support in place. Understand the beginning is the hardest part because we are changing habits that have been with us for a long time. Put in place the benches for rest, recovery and encouragement when you need it.
Reward yourself. Recognize the small and big accomplishment. Progress is progress and it all adds up.
Focus on relationships. The relationship with yourself, the one you have with food, the one with your body and how all of those interact. Make it a loving relationship that is based on understanding, grace, and peace that serves you well
Don’t restrict. Moderation or a temporary elimination are appropriate but understand your purpose in doing that and allow it to be a time to heal that part of your food relationship.
If you choose to follow a diet or eating plan, personalize it to your needs and goals. Keep it working for you instead of you trying to fit into its mold.
Work with your natural health practitioner to ensure you are aligned with your essential vitamins and minerals and nutritional needs to support your goals.
How to work with me
For your natural health needs and support, schedule a consultation with me. dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online