“I have tried every diet out there and nothing works for me.” If you have not uttered those words yourself the past, I am pretty convinced you have heard them spoken many times by somebody you know. Or some of the more fortunate ones may say. “I reached my target weight but six months down the line I regained all the weight I lost”.
It’s About Energy Balance
There are many many reasons why diets dont work but it all boils down in the end to the principle of energy balance in our bodies. Our bodies are like any machine we know. It needs fuel of the correct quality and in the right quantity. Now the laws of physics state that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it just changes its form from one state to another. The energy we take in gets transformed into heat, internal organ processes, body movement or else get transformed (stored) into potential energy in the form of fat.
Whatever part of our energy intake we do not use, gets stored as fat for future use. This mechanism works all the time from the day we are born until the end. Periods of energy storage (positive balance) wil have to be cancelled by periods of energy depletion (negative balance). Therefore the physical shape and condition of your body at any time of your life is the cumulative sum of all the energy intake and expenditure over your lifetime up to that point in time.
Lets Remove the Stored Energy
All I therefore need to do is to skip a few meals to cancel the extra energy stored, right? Wrong. Our bodies are much more complex machines than that and they operate on their own set of internal instructions like a computer program. This program is hard wired to assure the survival of the body in periods of food scarcity. Therefore as soon as your body’s software detects that your food intake is less than what it is used to, it goes into survival mode an starts to store any surplus energy it can find, actually working gainst your aim of burning off stored fat.
But It’s Difficult
Most people forget that it may have taken them years to build up the positive energy levels in their bodies (overweight). So it would be unrealistic to expect to reverse the situation in a few weeks by some magic potion. It is also uncomfortable to be in a constant state of negative energy balance, especially taking into consideration the mass of food advertising we are bombarded with every day. These serve as constant reminders of our old lives of carefree consumption.
To summarize these are the things that make diets difficult to see through to the end and why most end up in failure:
- Natural resistance. Our bodies are conditioned to to our eating habits. Sudden radical changes cause resistance both on a physical level (as described above) and a psychological level (lack of our comfort food)
- Impatience We expect radical results too soon
- Brain washing. We get swept away by the powerful (junk) food advertising messages
- Food preferences. We are not willing to stop eating the unhealthy foods and start eating only healthy foods.
- Inactivity. We give up too soon on our exercise routines and fall back into our inactive lifestyle.
It’s not all doom and gloom.
There are scores of people that actually do manage to get their wieght down and keep their bodies functioning at their optimum weight and energy levels. The key to such success lies in your preparation and in your mindset.
Here are the core principles to apply in order to set ourselves up for success:
Banish the word Diet
Our current lifestyle brought our bodies to its current general state of health. The only way to change that is to change our lifestyle. Not only our eating habits but also the way we relate to food, our bodies and life in general.Always keep these wise words in mind:
“If you do what you did, you get what you got.”
Consider food as nutrition
Our modern society has loaded the concept of food with attributes and responsibilities that is not necessarily promoting a healthy lifestyle. Food’s primary function seems to have shifted from being our primry source of nutrition and energy to an important source of entertainment and comfort. This is evident from the multitude of cooking shows on TV and massive ad spend in the media. The core message of this media exposure is hardly ever focussed on its nutritional values but rather on its gastronomic superiority and social enjoyment.
Apart from the fact that we need negative energy flow for a sustained period of time, our bodies simply need exercise in order to function correctly. Everybody with a regular exercise routine will confirm this statement beyond a doubt (apart from all the medical evidence on record).
It Can Be Done
Even though most people that follow diets do not get the long term results that they wish for, it is indeed possible for everybody to enjoy the wonderful benefits that a healthy, balanced lifestyle brings. All you need to do is to seriously consider and apply the following basic principles.
- Healthy Eating Habits
- Regular Exercise
- Positive Outlook on Life
Once you start to enjoy the health and energy from your new lifestyle, you will not want to turn back to your old ways.