I’m sick of the bullshit around heath, diets, and nutrition. There’s more crap in this one field than anywhere else I know. It’s an entire industry that preys on people’s fears and insecurities. So starting today, I am going to help you cut the crap when it comes to nutrition. And to be clear, I have nothing to sell you here but truth.
If, like me, you’re overweight, then you’re looking for the silver bullet: The one study, the one diet, the superfood, the trick that will fix you forever.
Please stop. It’s not about whether you can lose weight. It’s about what you can keep doing forever.
- If you are counting calories, what will you do when you get sick of counting?
- If you are eating food from Jenny Craig, are you going to eat that same food forever?
- If you have stopped eating carbs, will you stay off them forever?
Diets actually work. You want to lose 15 or 20 pounds? Cut the carbs. Cut the fat. Go paleo. Boost the exercise. They all work for three to six months, at least for some people. But what happens when you’re done? You go back to the old habits, and the weight comes back.
According to a comprehensive review of 29 studies, people gain back about three-quarters of the weight they lose within three years. Losing weight only to gain it back is not just pointless suffering, it’s unhealthy.
Weight Watchers makes money since they know you’ll be back.
“Healthy food” companies make money because they keep changing the makeup of their food to match the latest trend.
Stop a minute and think. If their stuff really worked, then they’d run themselves out of customers. It’s a whole industry built around your inevitable long-term failure.
We all see the before-and-after pictures of the three people who succeeded. It’s like looking at that lottery winner. We all think we can be them. Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t beat the system.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@jbernoff”]Don’t ask how to lose weight. Ask how to make a permanent change you can stick with.[/tweetthis]
There is an answer. It’s to concentrate, not on losing weight, but on changing habits. When you change a habit, you make a permanent change. For example:
- You could concentrate on getting rid of a snack. If you normally eat a snack at 10:30, tough it out for two weeks without eating. You’ll get used to it, and you’ll lose weight.
- You could eliminate a food that’s getting you fatter. I used to be addicted to breakfast cereal. I changed my breakfast routine to one with a lot less sugar and lost 25 pounds. It hasn’t come back.
- You could stop drinking, or cut back to one glass of wine a night.
- You could start an exercise routine, like walking every day at lunch, or going to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday night.
- You could concentrate on portion sizes at dinner. Take what you will eat, eat it, and then do not go back for more.
- You could stop eating bread when you go out to dinner. (Restaurant food is amazingly full of calories, salt, and fat, but at least it tastes good. Bread is just a waste.)
Pick a habit, work on it, and master it. Then move on to the next one.
Obviously, this is more complicated than it sounds. To succeed, you’d need a complete list of habits that work, backed up by mainstream nutritional research, and a support system. I wish I could help you. I’d like to.
Image: djmadmole via DeviantArt
Photo: Jenny Craig