Monday, July 9, 2012

7 Reasons why your diet isn't working:

One of my favorite magazines has always been Prevention.  I've read it since I was a pre-teen as my parents had a subscription, then as I moved out on my own, I got my own.  It's the one magazine that's never lapsed in my lifetime (so far).  However, the more I get into the Paleo/Primal way of thinking, some times I wanna scream!  To their credit, though, they've buddied up with William Davies, the author of Wheat Belly and come up with their own book on cutting your tummy down - "Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight".  Now, I'm not advocating this book over the other as I haven't read this one... I DO highly recommend the Wheat Belly book as I've read that and compared his report of the research with the original articles themselves and LOVE that he doesn't take information out of context.  THAT is huge in my book! (so to speak)

Anyhow, I was reading  the April issue of Prevention and came across an article titled "7 reasons why your diet isn't working".  Though it starts out strong (though with the calorie in/calorie out point of view)... it ends weakly, in my opinion.  Let's go through them all with my variation afterwards:

7 reasons why your diet isn't working

1.  You aren't eating enough.  This comes from a calorie stand point and really hits on the metabolism and all the push toward revving the metabolism.  What they don't say is that perhaps not only is the person starving themselves, but they aren't eating the 'right' foods.  I know when I was in the midst of my gallbladder/GI inflammation sickness last year, I DID lose weight on 500-700 calories a day.  Yeah... not the way to lose weight.  However, the weight really drops off eating larger amounts of the right foods... non-processed, home cooked meals.  Kicking the foods which cause inflammation (beans/legumes and grains) allowed me to eat more food, but actually a decent calorie count each day.  I stopped counting calories and no longer look at foods and mentally imagine their caloric load... don't need to as the foods are wholesome and pure.   
     1.  You aren't eating enough of the right foods.

2. You reward yourself with food after exercise.  Again, this comes from a caloric counting point of view.  The thought is that if you just worked off 300 calories, then you eat 300 calories, you won't lose weight.  I challenge you to think about WHAT you eat after a workout instead of the caloric load you're placing on your body.  If I eat a bowl of ice cream after working out, isn't that different from one of Primal Toad's Smoothies??  A smoothie full of good fats, fruits and protein?  Never mind that you'd have to eat WAY less of the smoothie to feel full versus the amount of ice cream, but you won't be eating sugar and screwing with your insulin/pancreas.  In the blogs of all my Paleo/Primal 'friends' and mentors, along with the Facebook pages, you'll see what others are eating after their workouts and they typically are foods with protein and good fats (yep, omega 3 MUFAs and SatFats), and chock full of vitamins. 

     2.  You reward yourself with junk food after exercise.  

3.  You slurp diet drinks.  This portion, I couldn't agree more in their points. Direct quote below, emphasis and parenthesizes mine. 
p. 32 Research suggests that diet drinks may backfire:  The taste of something sweet without the calories can cause your body to hold on to calories as fat.  In a 2011 study (which one??), diet-soda drinkers had a 178% greater increase in waist circumference over 10 years, compared with non-diet-drinkers.  "Artificial sweeteners can actually raise your insulin levels and lower your blood sugar, which may stimulate hunger and move existing calories into storage in your fat cells," says Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, one of the study's coauthors.
Problem?  Nope... I agree.  I see WAY too many people drinking their diet drinks instead of water.  So, I'll keep their advice:
     3.  You slurp diet drinks (instead of water).

4.  Your friends are fat.  Oh gosh, they say "your chances of being overweight or obese increase half a percent with every friend in your network who is obese" (according to some 2010 Harvard study).  That your perception of what is overweight changes with who you surround yourself.  But, they then go on to talk about how endorphins go up with social bonding and can help you lose weight if you work out together.  Once you have a friend who's losing weight, that'll spur you on toward losing yourself. 
I couldn't resist!! 

Controversial?  You bet.  However, from personal experience, I kinda concur.  Now that I hang out with people who workout and eat healthier, I am much more interested in that newer lifestyle for me.  It is depressing to be around some fat people... I include myself from last year in that group of 'fat people'.  I wasn't as much fun 'cause I hurt.  I hurt due to bad diet and being overweight.  I'm still overweight according to BMI and what a 5 foot 3 inch lady should weigh, but am surrounding myself with positivity and FEEL better for it!!  I think others around me feel better, too.  I'm no longer bringing them down with me, but inspiring them to work out more and eat right.  Win-win situation.  I never want to be that depressed fat girl again... I still have 'fat' friends, but they're working out with me!!  :)
     4.  Your friends are unhealthy.

5. You've eliminated wine.  Grey area with Paleo vs Primal.  However, this part of the article comes purely from a research point of view:  "New research from Brigham ad Women's Hospital in Boston found that women who drank one to two glasses of wine daily gained less weight over 13 years, compared with those who did not drink alcohol - 8 pounds versus 5.5 pounds, to be exact."  OK... let me read that again... is that 8 lbs over a 10 year period of time versus 5.5 lbs??  Can you say insignificant??  I'm gonna drink the wine based on heart health or some other reason to make myself feel good... but not even 1-2 glasses a DAY... my, that's a bit much for me.  I think I can figure out how to get those extra 2.5 lbs off in a different way.  Not saying it's bad to drink... I LOVE wine.  I just don't drink it daily.  Plus, those findings seem kinda insignificant to me!  I'd have to read the study myself and determine if that's a per year gain or 10 year gain... if it's per year, those gals need to be Paleo!!! 
I'm coming up with my own...  I've found it's very fun to go to different farmer's markets and to try out new and different exercise classes.  So... if you're not losing weight, you're not having fun!!
     5.  You're not having FUN!

6.  Your diet isn't digitally enhanced.  Again... count your calories.  You'll eat less if you write down everything that passes through your lips.  I tend to agree with this one, but in a different way.  If you're going Paleo and you begin to experience health symptoms such as cramps or fatigue, a great way to see where in your diet you might be missing out on critical vitamins or minerals might be to monitor the content of your food.  Also, if your cholesterol or blood sugar isn't going down, try keeping a food journal.  You may not be getting enough essential fats (wrong ratio of omega 3s to 6  1:1-2) or you may be eating more fruits that have higher glycemic index which equates to higher glycemic load and higher blood sugars.  Write it down.  Does it have to be digital?  NOPE.  BUT, that is very convenient if you are a person with iPhone, Android, etc and are "plugged in".  If you're not, there are websites on which you can input your food and get the values, then hand write into your own journal.  I was getting cramps in my lower legs for some time after going Primal, and I found I wasn't getting all my minerals via foods... changed my veggies a touch and ... no more cramps!  (cramps aren't just Potassium deficiency!!  Need sodium, calcium and magnesium, too!!) 
     6.  Keep a food journal.  

7.  You've gone no-carb or fat-free.  "The trick is a varied diet that includes healthy fats and good carbs such as fruits.  After all, the biggest reason low-carb diets backfire is that, for the vast majority of people, they aren't sustainable over the long haul. It's a rare soul who can pass up birthday cake and pasta dinners for a lifetime.""  I'm SO glad that they didn't say "You've eliminated an entire food group"... that's the one I often hear with being Primal.  Though I agree that you CAN, and will, get a lot of "good carbs" from your fruit (and veggies), I disagree that most people can't live without their pasta and birthday cake.  Well, you CAN!  OR you can adapt and change.  I eat Paleo Pasta.  No, it's not exactly like pasta from wheat or semolina, but it's PASTA.  I also exchange noodles with spaghetti squash or zucchini strips.  Yep, they taste different, but they're not enriched (read vitamins and minerals straight from the source, not added) nor are they made in a plant/factory.  There are also MANY, MANY websites dedicated to making cakes, cookies, and other baked goods without grain-based flours.  So... substitue!!!  They're good and relatively easy to make.  As Paleo/Primal becomes more popular, I expect there will emerge companies willing to ship baked goods that fit our lifestyle and dietary needs.  One company I just found is Paleo Baking Company... she takes custom orders, but I haven't used them before so cannot comment on how good the food is. 
     7.  You've gone fat-free (or think you can eat whatever you want as long as it's in moderation).  Remember to eat your fats!!  ELIMINATE trans fats and most polyunsaturated fatty acids unless they're omega 3s!!!

You may or may not agree with what I've written, but in my book, the true 7 Reasons your diet may not be working are:
1.  You aren't eating enough of the right foods.
2.  You reward yourself with junk food after you exercise.
3.  You slurp diet drinks instead of water.
4.  Your friends are unhealthy.
5. You've eliminated FUN.  
6.  You're not keeping a food journal.
7. You've gone fat-free or think you can eat whatever you want "as long as it's in moderation". 

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