The Annual Rise and Fall of Extreme Diets
Have you noticed a new trend in your social media feeds, the magazine rack at the grocery store, and the commercials you watch lately?
The headlines and messages are so tempting:
Use our service and lose 30 pounds in 30 days!
This super-secret diet will kick-start your metabolism!
Do this 1 thing and see the fat melt away!
Our common sense might tell us that these are probably not realistic ideas. So why are we so drawn to them? Why do we have to fight the urge to click on that link or buy that magazine to learn the secrets?
Maybe it’s because, despite the fact that these ads pop up every January like clockwork, the promises sound new and attractive - THIS diet is backed by a celebrity doctor or actress, the website looks really professional, the process sounds so easy. And all of the real-life users of these diets or systems giving their testimonials look so happy, beautiful and healthy! It sounds so believable, and so easy…
But What’s Really Going On?
You look at the secret diet that is promised in the magazine, and it sounds simple - just 8 weeks of eating nothing but oranges and celery… or using a powdered drink mix for all of your meals… or cutting out all meat, or carbs, or fruit, or dairy…
So you give it a try, and what happens? You start strong for the first two or three weeks, you might lose a few pounds, you feel like you’re on the right track! And then life gets in the way - you get bored with all of those shakes, you start losing energy, you just have to have that rice or pasta, you’re too tired to make those specialized meals. And before you know it, you’re back where you started, and maybe a couple of pounds heavier than when you started. What happened?!
How Your Body Reacts to Restrictive Diets
Restrictive diets CAN give you quick results if you stick with them, but the vast majority of them are actually doing more harm than good. Cutting out certain types of food can make you miss out on important nutrients your body needs, which can lead to the cravings that sabotage your weight loss plans. Eating the same thing day after day, meal after meal, can be terribly dull - you quit more because you’re bored than anything else. And oftentimes, restricting your diet severely can send your body into survival mode - it recognizes that you’re not getting enough calories for a long stretch of time, and so it thinks that it needs to go into a sort of hibernation: your body starts hoarding its fat deposits, slows down the metabolism, and restricts resources going to different areas of the body. (If you’ve ever felt tired or forgetful during a restrictive diet, that’s because your body is hoarding the energy that you need to function normally!)
And then, when you’ve had enough and go back to normal, what happens? Your body doesn’t immediately switch back to normal when your eating habits do - it stays in hibernation mode for a while, saving up more fat just in case you go through another period of nutrient deprivation. And you’re back where you started, but more discouraged than ever.
Healthy Eating Can Help You Lose Weight…
A healthy diet is a well-balanced diet, and it can help your body enormously by giving it the necessary nutrients to function well: large portions of vegetables and legumes, reasonable portions of whole grains, lean meats, fruit, and quality dairy products, with a very small amount of sugar and extra fats. It’s what we all learned in high school health class, and it’s still true today: eat well, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and make sure you move your body regularly.
But Other Factors Could Be Slowing You Down
Sure, you might say, but I’m doing all the right things and I’m still struggling with my weight… or energy… or mental clarity. This is where functional medicine comes in, and it can make a massive difference in your quality of life!
Bodies don’t always behave the way they’re supposed to: sometimes, our hormone levels change, we develop food allergies or sensitivities, our mobility is reduced, our lifestyle is severely restricted.
When the good diet and lifestyle advice is no longer working for you, what can you do? The functional medicine provided by Illuminate Wellness can help!
When you are under the care of a functional medicine provider, you’ll first figure out all of the nuances of how your individual body works - we’ll run tests that show what it needs, what it can’t handle, and what can be changed for the better. From there, we can give you a custom-fit plan for more healthy living - an approach to all aspects of your life that is tailor-made for your body’s needs. And as you continue to work with your provider, the rules can be tweaked and updated as your needs change and as you start to see the wonderful results that this customized plan can give you.
So, if you’re looking to lose weight the healthy way, or just improve your life for the better and for the long-term, set up your free first phone consultation with Illuminate Wellness and get started on the path to better health and a better life!