We know from the diet research published over the past ten years, that the only diet that works is the one you stick with. Unfortunately no research study has been able to put a group of people on one diet that works for everyone. However, we know from studies on hunger, appetite and satiety, along with research on inflammation, insulin resistance, gut health, blood pressure and cholesterol control that our food choices impact our genes, body function and body weight. When you evaluate nutrition research based on how to get the body and mind to “stick” with a diet, a clearer picture forms.
Here’s the secret: When you eat foods that provide essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein, fiber, omega-3 fats, etc.) your body will be metabolically efficient, and will have its own momentum moving in a healthy direction. It’s like magic pill, only it comes in the form of multiple acts of daily self-care, such as prioritizing grocery shopping, making time to eat and eating mindfully. Oh, and it will be different for everyone based on our genes. This doesn’t mean that your genes are your destiny; it means that you control how your genes express themselves by the lifestyle choices you make. Ultimately, once you start feeding your body right and it gets what it needs, you stop having to try so hard to maintain a “diet”.
The challenge is that it takes a while for your body to respond to the messages you send with healthy food and lifestyle choices and to regain proper metabolic function. How long will you keep it up if you don’t see the number on the scale change?
Get healthy to lose weight, rather than lose weight to get healthy
Don’t go on a “diet”, start exercising and step on the scale to assess your progress. The scale won’t reflect the metabolic changes that are occurring, nor will the number on the scale accurately indicate how many positive changes you have made or how well you are handling stress and emotions. When weight is the only measure of success your hard work is disregarded if the number on the scale doesn’t move. Plus, when food is looked at through the lens of losing weight, calories rule and restriction is inevitable. When you achieve your weight goal, if that was the only reason to change your diet, do you go back to your old habits? If you don’t lose, do you keep exercising just because it’s good for you?
What if your goals were different?
- Wake up rested every day.
- Discontinue, or take the smallest dose possible, of medications to control blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugars.
- Improve body image.
- Reduce cravings.
- Have proper digestion.
- Maintain great energy all day.
- Improve mood.
- Have shiny hair and glowing skin.
- Reduce pain.
- Manage stress and emotions without using food.
This is a short list of indicators that your body is functioning properly, and that is how I define “healthy”. When your goal is to decrease blood glucose and have proper digestion, it’s hard to skimp on the veggies just because you met your calorie goal. If you watch your cholesterol levels, your inflammation, blood sugar, quality of sleep, and digestion you’ll see improvements, and without the illogical fluctuations in your weight to discourage you, you will maintain your motivation.
The reality is that when you strive to get healthy rather than to simply lose weight, you are guaranteed to reach your goals, whatever they might be.
On that note, September will be dedicated to the first step of getting healthy. Admittedly, it’s a bit cliché, but the first step is eating vegetables. It may seem insignificant, and something you already know to do, but if you are not eating loads of veggies, your body is missing out, and that means the progress towards your goals is slow. More to come with the first ever Nourishing Results monthly challenge!
Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.