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Ditch the Diet Biology

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>> Hi. Have you ever paid attention to how young children eat? It's rather intuitive. They eat when they're hungry, and they stop when they've had enough. They enjoy the foods they enjoy, and they avoid those that they don't. Babies and toddlers try pretty much anything, and if given the chance, they can grow up eating what their parents eat rather than eating baby food. They get so excited when food comes and they enjoy it for what it is. Yes, babies and young children have a simple relationship with food. It's often not that simple for adults, many of whom have very complicated relationships with food. When it comes to what and how much to eat, the multitude of information can leave us confused, stressed, and disconnected from what benefits us as bio-individuals. So what do we do? Let me try a metaphor here. We try on eating approaches like shoes, looking for just the right fit. Unfortunately, many of those shoes are diets, and as such are uncomfortable, restrictive, and not conducive to long-term wear. So ironically, we end up turning to food to help us cope with the frustration. And so we find ourselves in an emotional eating cycle. When it comes to eating, it's not even really about finding a shoe that fits you, it's about creating your own shoe and continually readjusting the fit. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, nutrition goals for your clients are relatively simple. Encourage them to eat more fruits and vegetables, eat fewer processed foods, and exercise. Okay, maybe it's not quite that simple, but as a coach, you can help keep it as simple as possible so that clients don't feel compelled to constantly swing from one yo-yo diet to another. In other words, you can help decrease the pendulum arc by ditching the diet. Dieting means restricting food intake, usually in an attempt to lose weight or fat. But as studies show, it's not as simple as the calories in, calories out equation that many people focus on. Dieting can range from months of low-carb meals to a week long or day long cleanse or detox. Yet, no matter how you spin it, dieting is usually just one more habit loop or cycle that like emotional eating can leave clients feeling stuck. Dieting leaves people feeling deprived, which can lead to overeating, guilt, and shame, and a stuck sense of hopelessness. In this course, we have continually explored the idea of letting it go. But letting go of the diet mentality is extremely hard for many people. It's often ingrained, and it's often a kind of scapegoat or distraction from other challenges, obstacles, and ongoing emotional and primary food struggles. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, part of helping clients let go of dieting is understanding the reasons that clients continue to cling to it, which we will continue to explore. For now, let's review some of the statistics. Most people who try to lose weight never achieve their goals. In fact, dieting can actually predict future weight gain. Studies show that one to two-thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets. When it comes to long-term physical effects including weight loss, it's much more nuanced than calories in, calories out. It's more about diet composition. And bio-individuality is key. What works for some people, both physically and mentally, might not work for others. As you probably know, diets don't really work. However, when working with clients, it's helpful to be able to support that statement, right? You don't want to preach, but you do want to offer some informational tidbits that can validate their feelings of frustration. We've talked a lot about the pitfalls of dieting throughout this course, but I'm going to highlight a few today. Here are four biological mechanisms that contribute to the ineffectiveness of dieting. Number one, dieting can decrease metabolism. While mindful eating can benefit metabolism, dieting can downshift it. In fact, while weight loss through calorie restriction can significantly decrease resting metabolic rate, weight loss through exercise might not. Why? Because when it feels deprived, the body tries to become more efficient at storing nutrients, which leads to weight gain and increases risk for long-term metabolic disorders. This is what people mean when they refer to how diets can throw the body into starvation mode. The body senses a shortage of food, so it tries to hold on to what it's got. This is partly why many people store more fat after ending a diet. In addition, the body learns to burn muscle when there isn't enough fat to burn for energy. It's kind of ironic. You might weight less, but having lean muscle increases your metabolism. Therefore, when your body starts burning muscle, you end up negating all of your dieting efforts. Bottom line, dieting works against you. Number two, dieting can increase appetite. In fact, this might play an even larger role than decreased metabolism in weight loss plateaus. Dieting essentially stresses the body. When the body is deprived, it thinks it's in a famine, and because it feels drained, it revolts. Limiting not only how much but what you eat can dysregulate hormonal balances. First of all, the body needs nutrients, and diets can deprive the body of fats, protein, and/or carbohydrates. Protein contributes the most to satiety. So eating less of it increases appetite while severely limiting carbohydrates can increase cravings for them as we discussed earlier in this course. Secondly, one of the frustrations with dieting is when people focus on eating "healthy foods," but they can't seem to lose weight. Now yes, there are many factors at play, but one of them is portions. You can overeat healthy foods. In an attempt to stay within diet confines, you might never really feel satisfied, so you overstuff yourself in an attempt to feel full. Bottom line, once again, dieting works against you. Number three, dieting can disrupt the body's bio-individual set point. Dieting is governed by rules which disconnects you from your physical hunger and disrupts your brain's weight regulation system. Did you know that chronic dieting can increase emotional eating habits? Again, willpower isn't an infinite resource. After a while, if you're constantly trying to control your eating, you're going to break down either physically, emotionally, or both. One reason for this is that dieting disrupts the body's unique set point or natural weight range. No matter what we eat or how much we focus on healthy habits, humans come in all shapes and sizes due to factors from genetics to environment to lifestyle. This is because the brain keeps the body within a certain weight range, and when it falls below that, the body goes into starvation mode and does all that it can to not lose any more weight. Many studies show the positive causal relationship between dieting and weight gain. Dieters may be more likely to gain weight over time. Diets might lead to some short-term weight loss, but it's usually not sustainable. This is due to both biological and psychological factors. Another reason that diets don't work has to do with insulin resistance, which we discussed earlier in this course. Chronically elevated insulin puts the body in a pro-inflammatory state and leads to fat accumulation. And what causes elevated insulin levels? Well, for one, stress, which I'll follow up on later. Number four, dieting is based on a one-size-fits-all approach. There's no one perfect diet. "Healthy eating" is bio-individual, one-size-fits-none, and it's an ongoing journey of discovery and adjustment. Studies show that everyone loses weight in different ways, which might relate to overall caloric deprivation or to frequency of eating. An example, one popular diet is intermittent fasting, which limits the window that you can eat, for instance, only eating between 12:00pm and 7:00pm. This works for some people, but not for others. In addition, needs change over time. What worked for you 10 years ago might not work for you today. We constantly change, and one-size doesn't even fit you forever. Again, diets are usually like a pair of shoes that don't quite fit right, uncomfortable, restrictive, and not conducive to long term wear. Okay, to recap, four biological pitfalls of dieting. It can decrease metabolism, it can increase appetite, it can disrupt the body's bio-individual set point, and it's based on a one-size-fits-all approach. Ditching diets means ending the internal battle to fit into the matrix. It means honoring bio-individual factors like hunger, food preferences, and set points rather than eating by rules based on some form of external authority. You can use this material to validate clients' frustration when diets fail time and time again. And from there, help them find more sustainable approaches to eating, which we'll discuss in a bit. Let's end there for today. This week, we included an exercise called Diving Into Diets in your Skill Building Activities for you to reflect on your own experiences with dieting, which you'll hopefully share with your accountability coaching partner. As always, share your experiences in the Facebook group. Until next time.

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 16 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 6
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

Ditch the Diet Biology

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