In this episode, you're going to learn why diets don't work, why I even hate the words and the 6 keys to actually losing weight and keeping it off.
Once a month, I'll be answering your questions, e-mails, and concerns about your health, wellness and the things that are driving you nuts and keeping you awake at night! So, feel free to reach out, simply email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, this e-mail is from Melissa in New Jersey. And she said…
“Hi, Karin, I don't know if you can help me. Honestly, I'm feeling so frustrated. I've been trying to lose weight for what seems like forever and I've tried pretty much every diet out there. Yes, I lose the weight if I do it perfectly, but then I gain it back as soon as I stop. So, I'm fed up of always feeling like I'm on a diet and feeling deprived and I'm fed up of always feeling like I'm failing and not good enough. Is there something wrong with me? She goes on to say that she's in her mid-40s and pretty convinced that it's pointless to even try at this point because she knows that her hormones are starting to go wacky, hoping you might have the answer.” ~ Melissa, New Jersey.
I want you to know that diets do not work!
I'm going to share some statistics.
30% of Americans right now are trying to lose weight.
Another 30% are trying to maintain their weight.
2/3 of people who lose weight on diets gain it back again within one year.
98% gain their weight back and more within two years.
Those statistics speak for themselves. Diets do not work.
I even hate the word. If you think of the word diet, there's another word inside of it that's D I E and it's kind of like you're dying.
You're depriving yourself of nutrition, you're depriving yourself of fuel so that you have less energy. I don't know if you can relate to that. Have you ever been on a diet and you just feel like you have no energy to work out? No energy to enjoy your life? You just feel deprived and perhaps inadequate and overwhelmed by all of the information out there. You just don't even know which way to turn. I mean, honestly, doesn't it feel like almost every month there's a new diet coming out? Is it Keto? Is it Paleo? What should I be following? Is it the Mediterranean diet?
As you more than likely know, as soon as you stop following whatever plan it is, it's going to stop working and you're going to gain the weight back. It's that easy. And it's nothing to do with something that you're doing. It's nothing wrong with you. It's just that we need to start thinking a little bit differently. That's all it is.
Five specific reasons that diets are absolutely doomed to fail.
Can you relate to any of these?
1. More often than not when you're choosing to be on a diet, it's to achieve some kind of short term goal. Maybe you have a wedding coming up or you want to get into a dress for your high school reunion or something that tends to be some kind of upcoming event that you want to lose weight before. So, diets from the get-go are thought of as a temporary action to get an immediate result. And once that result is achieved, the diet stopped and old eating habits creep back in.
2. So many people go on a diet, lose weight and then gain the weight back…we saw that statistic, 98% gain the weight back and more within two years. We just keep repeating this cycle, trying diet after diet after diet, looking for some kind of magic answer. And I'm going to be extremely honest because I always am. There's never going to be that magic diet. It takes a lot more than just following a specific plan. We can quote Albert Einstein. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
So, if you do diet after diet after diet, you're expecting different results. Yet when the diet doesn't work or we fall off track or we gain the weight back, the negative impact that has on our self-esteem is huge.
That feeling of not being good enough. That feeling of failing again is so detrimental to your health and it ends up just snowballing. More often than not, you're going to binge eat and you're going to reach for the ice cream and cookies and the cake and the potato chips.
Saying things like …I didn't do it again! I failed again.!
It's not about you failing, I promise. It's the way the diet is set up, it's not you.
3. So many diets don't work because they’re based on the premise of counting calories, using a formula that is meant for the general population, as opposed to an individual. Now every single person on the planet processes calories differently. Everybody's metabolism is different. Also, every calorie is not created equal. When I'm looking at a nutrition label, I'm not even looking at calories. Because that's not the important thing. Think of it this way. If we look at calories consumed, let's say you eat 1000 calories of French Fries vs. 1000 calories of Broccoli. What kind of nutritional value are you getting there? It's completely different! So, the body would process those calories completely differently. That's why calorie counting really does not work. I'm not a fan of it.
4. This is something that I hear really often, is that even before starting a diet, people believe that they're going to be depriving themselves of foods that they love.
So often it's like… this is my last night of freedom, and you binge on all of your favorite foods and then you start a diet the next day. Life should not feel like a prison sentence, so why do we put our bodies and mind into that kind of deprivation? We're doomed to fail from the get-go because it's not maintainable. That's not a place that we are intended to live. That mindset does not support long term success.
And that feeling of constantly being deprived leads to binge eating. It leads to food cravings. It leads to “I have to have sugar or I'm going to kill somebody”, which can be really difficult to ignore! And then what happens is we have five cookies. Then we beat ourselves up in our head for not feeling good enough, or for failing.
5. Diets don't work, because they don't address our food cravings and they don't address emotional eating and how to handle that. And literally, everybody, myself included, has cravings. And the reasons for those cravings can vary greatly.
So, for instance, did you know that if you're craving chocolate, a handful of almonds might quench that craving? Those cravings for something sweet can actually mean that we’re deprived of magnesium.
Here’s one of the tools that I use in my coaching practice to address emotional eating. Remember to F.L.A.B. it!
Whenever these bingeing habits happen, and I'm going to guess that it's more often than not when you're finally sitting down at the end of your day, you're putting on the Real Housewives to watch or So You Think You Can Dance and you're finally just relaxing. You've had a crazy day and you just want to chill.
And as soon as you sit down and put your feet up, you're like, oh, I would love some ice cream. And you go to the freezer, you grab the whole pint and you sit there as your mindlessly watching these shows and you just before you know it, scraping the bottom of the pint. Right?
What I would love you to do is, as you're getting that craving, whether it's ice cream or potato chips. (That's my thing!). But, as you’re getting that craving. I want you to kind of give yourself a timeout and say F.L.A.B. it.
Now, I want you to ask yourself, this is what flab stands for.
These are the four biggest emotional triggers. It's not to say there aren't others. I even suggest that you put a note with that written on it, either on the freezer or in the cupboard. If you're reaching for cookies or wherever it is that you're reaching for your go-to. And you know exactly what that is. Put a little note there that just says flab it, to remind yourself.
Next, after you ask yourself if you're feeling any of those emotions, and you realize what it is that's actually triggering this craving, then I want you to have a big glass of water, at least eight ounces. Go for a little walk if you want, do 20 squats, 20 pushups, 20 crunches and then ask yourself, do I still want it? Do I still want that ice cream? Do I still have that craving? And if the answer is yes and you're going to think I'm so crazy, I want you to have it.
What's happened in that few minutes that you've had that water and you've walked around or done those few little exercises. What's happened is your brain has switched. We've switched from an emotional brain to a logical brain and that logical brain is a completely different mindset. So, now what you’re going to do instead of picking at that whole pint of ice cream, I want you to take a scoop. And then you're going to sit and you're going to have that scoop. And here's the next important part.
You may not beat yourself up for having it.
I know crazy, right?
The thing is that when we beat ourselves up for things, we're in that negative mindset. And that's what sets the snowball going. Whereas if we actually give ourselves permission to live in this place of moderation. I'm not saying do this every night. But over time, you're going to start recognizing what those triggers are and you'll learn to deal with them differently.
It's adopting that kinder mindset that is crucial to living a happier, healthier life and also losing weight. And that's the goal, right? Lose weight and feel great in our skin, to feel self-confident, to be loving from within, to have a twinkle in your eye, to feel great in your clothes, no matter what size.
To me, the most important thing is to have amazing bloodwork, because when that bloodwork is good and I've seen really skinny people with terrible blood work with high cholesterol, high blood pressure with their A1 C, which would be a diabetes marker off the charts.
But if you've got great bloodwork and you're feeling confident in your skin and you're looking good and your skin is glowing, your hair is great, your nails are great. You've got energy.
That's what we're striving for. That's a healthy lifestyle.
Now, obviously, in Melissa's e-mail, she also mentioned that she's in her mid-40s and yes, ladies, that does mean that things are changing. Be it perimenopause, menopause or post-menopause. Everybody post 40 is dealing with those hormones starting to change and that means our metabolisms are changing. So again, it's not about dieting and depriving your body of food. It's finding the food that fuels your body to run like a well-oiled machine.
That means doing what we call biohacking. And that's different for every single person. We have to figure out what works for you because there is no one diet that fits all. That's why you see your friend being successful on a diet and you're not because it's not what works for your body. It's all about finding out the foods that work for your specific body.
How do we lose weight if we're not going to diet?
Start listening to your gut. And I don't mean just intuition, although that is definitely a part of this for sure. But we have to listen to what our body is telling us. You see our bodies communicate to us every single day, but so often it's almost like it's speaking Chinese and we speak Russian and we aren't listening. And even if we do, we're not speaking the same language, so we don’t understand. For instance, you might be feeling tired all the time, you’re constantly exhausted even when you wake up in the morning and you've slept. Do you have headaches and terrible sleep, constantly interrupted and up and down to the bathroom, do you have digestive issues, IBS, are you bloated all the time? You might have terrible gas, constipation, diarrhea. All of these can be signs that what you're eating is not working for you.
As well as allergies, rashes, hives, anxiety and also, believe it or not, pain, achy joints, and muscles. Again, those can be signs that there's inflammation in your body. Inflammation causes weight gain. By the way. And those are signs that what you're eating is, and drinking is not working for your body.
So how do we even start to figure all of that out? Right, because typically those symptoms have come on over a period time. They didn't just appear and typically, we're so used to feeling them. We're just feeling off and run down, completely depleted.
We just think that’s life. We think this is the way it has to be and I've even had clients that have gone to the doctor feeling like this and the doctor's like, well, what do you expect? You're getting older. That makes me so angry!!!
Just because we're getting older does not mean that we need to be living in pain and dealing with digestive issues and running to the bathroom constantly or headaches that are just debilitating every afternoon.
We don't have to live like that. So, the easiest way and I know it is a pain in the neck but trust me and try it for one week, is a food journal.
You’ll find one below so that you can download it. The Food Journal is going to have you be aware of the foods that you eat and how you feel afterward. So, for instance, if you're on that third cup of coffee in the morning and your heart starts racing, that's a sign that that third cup of coffee is one too many.
My limit is two cups of organic coffee a day and then I switch to decaf teas, water, and Kombucha. But it's the same for food. If you're having chocolate or banana, yes it could be a food that we might consider to be healthy. And this can be hard to sometimes wrap your head around. If that banana is making your heart race, then that does not work for you, even though it's considered a healthier food. So just because the food is healthy, it could be broccoli and it bloats your stomach and it gives you horrible gas and you're in the bathroom, then that means that broccoli does not work for you. As you're doing your food journal and you're writing down every single thing that you eat and drink, I want you to start recognizing how your body is reacting to that.
One of the things for me I used to note is that if I had eggs in the morning, an hour later, I was on my face. I was so tired, I felt like I just hit a brick wall. Guess what? Eggs don't work for me. Does that mean that I never eat eggs? No. It just means that if I'm going to eat them, I know how I'm going to be feeling afterward. So, I don't eat them all the time. I don't want to feel like that. I want to feel energized. So, I try to find the foods that make my body feel clean and energized.
Brain fog is another big symptom I see often in clients. Brain fog is often triggered by gluten, and you’ll be surprised to know that about ninety-five percent of my clients do not tolerate gluten. Does it mean that they never have it? No. It just means that they minimize it. Although you will see that any of my programs are gluten-free.
I’ve lived without gluten for over 10 years, so I know all the tricks, so feel free to reach out if you're looking to go gluten-free. But when a statistic like ninety-five percent of my clients doesn't tolerate it, well, you can bet that all my programs are going to be without it.
Do you notice after you have dairy that you're feeling full of phlegm? Or are your sinuses feeling pressure or are you feeling pressure in your chest? Upper respiratory symptoms can often be linked to not tolerating dairy well.
So, all of these foods that we don't tolerate cause inflammation in our bodies. So naturally, to lose weight, we want to reduce that chronic inflammation. And that means finding the foods that work for us. This is why we start to listen to our body and pay attention, because I know life's crazy. I know it's hectic. I know it's busy. I know that you're overwhelmed. But what we have to think about is in life, what do we get to control? So by just adopting these healthier habits, getting in touch with what how you feel after you have foods is going to be huge. I promise you. Just taking that step alone is going to be a lifesaver.
As our bodies change, as our hormones change, do our needs change? Yes. But once you learn how to listen to your body, it's not so hard to figure out what we can do to fuel it and obviously, I'm here to support you for all that those changes.
Six tips to lose weight and keep it off.
Tip 1. Eat real food. Staying away from processed foods, because 80 percent of the foods on our supermarket shelves have hidden sugars in them. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Even savory foods have sugar in them!
Sugar is one of the major things that causes inflammation and leads to many serious diseases, including things like diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
Tip 2. Know that fat does not make us fat, sugar makes us fat.
I follow Dr. Mark Hyman closely. I studied under him at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and one of the things I love about him is that he talks in real people talk, not Dr. talk. confusing. He's been talking a lot lately about how sugar is making us fat and how it's in absolutely everything we eat. I mean, for it to be hidden in 80 percent of our packaged foods is absolutely crazy.
The body actually needs fat. This can be a hard concept, because for so many years and you know, I bought into it, too we were on that low-fat journey and no fat journey. And what was put into food during that time were chemicals and preservatives that actually are making us extremely sick.
There are good fats and there are bad fats. So, the good fats are things like your avocados, almonds, olive oil, things like that, coconut oil, things like that. Those are good fats. And the body needs those. We need it for our brains to function properly. We need it for our body to digest food properly. And we need it to help transport things out of our bodies. So, it's super important. And honestly, you're going to find that, you don't get that long term weight loss unless you're giving the body the fuel in the foods that it needs to really do its job effectively.
It's interesting that we really do pay more attention to our cars and our car engines than we do our bodies. Think about how often you change the oil in the car. Do you do that for yourself? Do you do seasonal cleanses? Are you aware of foods that are going to help support your liver and your kidneys and clean them out? Probably not, because that's not something that's often spoken about. But the average person is carrying around 10 pounds of toxic burden. That's why that last 10 pounds is the hardest to lose…because we need to be eating real food to lose that weight.
Tip 3. Low fat, no fat, low sugar, and no sugar = A chemical shit storm!
As they take out the fat or the sugar from any product, they've got to put things back into it to make it taste good. So, what goes back in? A bunch of preservatives, a bunch of chemicals, a bunch of artificial flavorings! They can say that something has natural flavorings doesn't mean that it's good for us.
There is a reason that obesity is on the rise and diet everything is flying off the shelves. There's a disconnect. Please look at the big picture. Diet soda is one of the absolute worst things that you can put into your body. Soda, in general, is bad… diet soda…Worse! Just a bunch of chemicals.
What happens when we put those chemicals into our body? Our body doesn't know what to do with it. So, it's just kind of hanging out there, clogging everything up, while the body is saying what do we do with this stuff? Hey, I know…let's turn it into belly fat! We’ll hang onto it, because I don't know what to do with it. I don't recognize it. Doesn't look like food. Definitely not fuel.
So, when we go to the supermarket. Think of shopping the outside aisles. That's where all the fresh food is, not processed food, but the fresh food. Make sure that if you are shopping for dairy that you're actually looking for a full fat, preferably organic full fat came when I was in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition going through my health coaching certification I learned over 100 different dietary theories and one of the things that we learned was about fat and how we need it. I try everything out on myself before I even think of giving some kind of anything to any of my clients. So, I went from eating low fat I’d been eating low-fat yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese and I went from eating that to organic and full fat.
And guess what? I lost weight. I was less bloated and I had more energy. And I felt cleaner immediately. So, within two weeks, you know, and you can tell the difference by eating these foods that are less processed and have fewer chemicals. It's absolutely amazing how quick the body can bounce back.
Tip 4. Learning to live in moderation, not deprivation.
Earlier I talked about why that was important and the mindset that's behind it. And that deprivation is often one of the biggest causes of diets not working. So, finding that gray area… it's like changing the mindset from being either on a diet or off a diet. We want to live in this gray area in between where it's about discovering the foods that fuel your body rather than I've got to follow this plan as part of this plan.
It's just a completely different, kinder mindset.
Tip 5. Practice compassion with yourself because negative self-talk is so toxic and that's going to lead you towards the emotional eating again. One of the ways that I get out of this vicious cycle is using this catchphrase called a dozen eggs and it goes something like this…
If you have a dozen eggs in your hand and you drop one, do you throw the rest of the dozen on the floor?
Of course, we don't! So why is it that when we are eating well, everything’s great and then we have a day that's not so great. Maybe it’s been a really stressful day? Maybe it is a day where you are super busy? So, you picked up pizza for dinner. Maybe it's just one of those days? Instead of having that negative self-talk and you start beating yourself up. “Oh, there we go again. I failed!” that then snowballs into chocolate for breakfast the next day, picking up a caramel macchiato at Starbucks loaded with sugar. That just keeps you going on that sugar rollercoaster ride.
How about instead of that, you pick up that pizza, you do whatever you've done and you just say, “oh, well, I dropped an egg!”.
That's it. That's all you need to do. The next day, you pick up and you start again.
Tip 6. Major allergens can be causes of inflammation. So, when food, doesn't work for your unique body it can then cause inflammation. The five most common allergens are gluten, sugar, dairy, corn, and soy.
Everybody's body is different. We just have to figure out by listening to these cues, that you’ll begin to learn by doing your food journal. Listen to what works and what doesn't. There is no right. There is no wrong. We're all different.
To learn how if you’re allergic or sensitive to any of those major allergens, you simply eliminate them for two weeks and then you start to reintroduce them one at a time. Use your food journal as you're reintroducing and see what happens, be aware of any negative feelings that you have. Is your heart racing? Are you tired? Are your joints aching? Do you have headaches? Maybe brain fog? Are you having mood swings? There so many different things that food can trigger.
Our gut is responsible for 80 percent of our immune system health. So, what we eat is crucially important to our health and well-being. But this is where we start. We start by figuring out the foods that work for us and the foods that don't.
I have seen people change their entire lives with this approach to food and self-care. I understand that the hard thing is stepping away from the media. Stepping away from magazines, stepping away from the TV, stepping away from all of this stuff that has been ramming diets down your throat forever.
Because you know that they don't work. You've tried them enough to know that they don't work. So why not try something that's just different? That's kinder and honestly so much easier, right? Finding that place a moderate moderation rather than living in this horrible, sad place of deprivation.
I want you to have energy. I want you to fill your life with joy. I want you to feel amazing and confident in your own skin, no matter what size. And it's all about just establishing these new lifelong habits. So, if you need help, please feel free to reach out: email@example.com.