Why Diet Alone Won’t Do the Trick
Dieting has been used for ages as a way for people to shed pounds and hit their desired body goals. But what does “diet” really mean? In a general sense, it is defined as a restriction to certain amount or type of food one intakes. It sounds pretty simple but the things correlated to it may be a little complex. As time evolves, the subject of diet gave birth to diverse approaches and materials coming from experts that were made known to public and used by many. But with all these revolutionary techniques, the disturbing question remains—-why am I not losing weight? Perhaps there are still underlying justifications that are yet to be uncovered.
Experts are under the impression that the success and failure of one’s diet has something to do with our biology and psychology towards food. In a biological sense, when a person tries to cut calorie intake a little too much, the source of energy and food becomes limited therefore, the body changes gear and switches into survival mode. The body perceives this change as a “stressor” and when it experiences such, high amounts of hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) are produced that basically cause the rate of burning calories to slow down. It is counterintuitive that as we try our best to lose weight, our body is counterattacking our efforts, but only because its job is to keep us alive. Looking at an evolutionary perspective, our body’s resistance to this food scarcity is intelligible.
Sandra Aamodt, a neuroscientist and a former editor-in-chief of a brain-research journal, says that “mindfulness” is how to go about dieting and our biology. She explains that a mindful eating approach is about listening to your body’s signals and reactions. To simplify, eat when you feel hungry and stop when you are full. Allow yourself to eat but do not overdo it because much of weight gain is caused by eating when in fact, hunger has already ceased.
Along the lines of healthy dieting approach, comes intuitive eating. It is interesting to note that based on studies and testimonies, intuitive eaters are less likely to be overweight because they honor their hunger and respect their fullness. It is similar to Aamodt’s mindful eating only that it has psychological impact embedded to it. Intuitive eating is also extrinsic (social, mood or time factors), according to Marc David M.A and primary teacher of Institute of Psychology of Eating, a good example of this would be eating your favorite flavored-ice cream with a feeling of guilt. When eat in such mood, our brain sends a negative signal to the autonomic nervous system that causes inhibitory response from the digestive system. This can lower your efficiency in burning calories due to high levels of cortisol, again, the hormone created by stressors. So practically speaking, your feelings about what you eat is just as important as what you take in.
Moreover, Svetlana Sarantseva, a Certified Dietary Coach and founder of Dietary Coach Pte Ltd say that the key to shed kilos lies in Mother Nature. Veggies and fruits with lesser number of calories from fat have impact to digestive and metabolic processes. In short, indulge in nutrition and proper food mentality.
At the end of the day, it boils down to asking yourself if your current diet is doing you a favor with respect to your fitness goals. If the answer is no, then it might be time to respect your body needs, drop the stress and regain improved self-perception so you can take better charge of your health for the long haul.