The Journey: Crash diets actually hurt us over the course of weight loss efforts

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By Samantha Brazie, The Journey

Bonjour Paper readers! I am excited to bring the next topic in the column series to you.

This month, we’ll be discussing something I’m sure you’ve heard – unless you just crawled out from under a rock. That is, making your way of eating (WOE) a lifestyle change and not a diet. There are a few things that are engraved in my brain through my journey – and this is a big one.

We’ve all done it – needed to lose five, ten, maybe even twenty pounds and looked at the fastest way to drop the weight. It could have been for a special occasion, because you found an outfit you liked or just because you felt you needed to. Making a lifestyle change does not mean you can’t have that piece of pizza here and there or a sweet treat. Those should be exceptions, not the rule. Before diving in, please consult your medical professional and/or nutritionist before making any major dietary changes.

Let’s dig into a few reasons why diets hurt all of us over time:

• Crash diets are quick but unsustainable weight loss unless you develop some sort of eating disorder to maintain it. Your body craves the ingredients of nutrient-rich foods and there is no substitute for that unless your doctor deems medically necessary.

• A lot of times when we crash diet, we end up being at a higher weight than we were before. When you lose weight, fat cells don’t disappear – they just shrink. It is far quicker for someone that has been overweight to gain weight back than someone who hasn’t. Before you know it, the number on the scale goes back up and the cycle repeats itself.

• Crash diets can be so focused on calories that we don’t focus on the quality of the food we’re putting in our body. While being at a calorie deficit is a pretty consistent theme, doing that eating 1,500 calories of processed foods versus whole foods affects our bodies very differently. Think about your energy levels, physical ability and skin when you eat a healthy amount of vegetables versus 100 calorie snack packs. Not only that, but you can eat a lot more lean meats, fruits and vegetables for the same number of calories as processed food.
Lifestyle change may not be as fast or easy as a ‘diet,’ but it is a more stable way to lead our lives. Strive for balance, not perfection. Crash diets just don’t get to the root cause of the issue. You could be emotionally eating, have an eating disorder, not know enough about nutrition, not exercising and many other issues.

Download the “My Fitness Pal” app and honestly track every single thing you put into your body. Then objectively look at the nutrition in your day and think about how small changes can lead to big results. Hope Morgan, my nutrition coach at CrossFit Shakerag in Peachtree City, just had me look at the last month of eating and pick my favorite day. It was much tougher than I thought it would be and didn’t make me very happy; where I thought I was making better choices, I realized I was short-cutting far more than I should. However, it really made me think about how reactive I can be if I don’t plan as much as possible.

Lastly, find someone that can help you to be accountable because all of us need it whether we want to admit it or not!

Contact info: [email protected].

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