In a world full of diets promising quick weight loss, all too often we find that these quick weight-loss tricks end up being too difficult to follow for long periods of time. Therefore, people may revert to old eating habits, which can lead to regaining any weight lost and sometimes even some additional weight as well.
As a registered dietitian, I am often asked about weight loss or “What do you think about this diet?” My answer to that question is easy: Quick weight-loss diets cause a sudden drop in weight because the body is burning its usual amount of calories while calories are restricted. The body’s response is to go into starvation mode. When the body is in this state, it will store extra calories as fat, hindering weight loss and promoting weight gain when old eating habits return. This concept is called yo-yo dieting, and it can be a vicious cycle.
So, what is a better alternative for weight loss? A lifestyle change. Diet alone is not the key to sustained weight loss. A combination of diet and exercise is what allows us to lose weight appropriately and keep it off.
Intuitive eating is not a new diet. In fact, it is not a diet at all. It is a lifestyle change that has been around and taught by dietitians for decades.
This method focuses on a person’s relationship with food without focusing too much on the person’s weight. In every diet, there are always foods deemed “good foods” and “bad foods,” which adds a stigma and a certain level of guilt when we consume a bad food. With intuitive eating, no foods are off-limits. The goal is to untangle the stress that revolves around eating something considered bad and instead listen to your body and how it feels after you consume it.
Researchers have found that when a person begins this lifestyle change, they immediately gravitate toward junk food and overconsume because it is not off limits. Then, after a week or two, they begin to really listen to how their body reacts to those foods and often begin choosing healthier foods because they feel better after eating them. The theory is that if you eat the occasional junk food and learn to not feel guilty after eating it, then the allure of the item diminishes, and you will eventually gravitate away from it.
Your body is like a sports car, if you put the best fuel in the tank, it will perform at it’s best.
So, listen to your body and fuel it with the best foods, but don’t forget to enjoy all of the foods you love in moderation.