How to lose weight – and keep it off – is one of the most talked about subjects on the planet. The Weight Loss and diet industry turns over millions of dollars each year in Australia alone. So why is it such a hot topic? Because that ever elusive ‘magic pill’, that ‘miracle diet’ that guarantees absolutely everyone sustainable weight loss is yet to be found. Studies show that 99% of people who lose weight put it all – and more – back on again. These figures are staggering. What they show is that there is no one weight loss guru, system, diet or supplement that can claim to have a 100% success rate for losing weight and keeping it off. And that when it comes to weight loss, we must be doing something wrong.What’s interesting is that even though we know that diets are not sustainable, we as a collective keep doing the same thing over and over again in the hope that we’ll find the cure for weight gain, but we don’t. It’s like walking into a glass door, repetitively, that you have walked into before, and continuing to do so even though you know it hurts.
Sustainable weight loss – a fresh approach
Back in the 1950’s, it became widely accepted that weight was merely a matter of calories in-calories out – in other words, if you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight. It states that if we can control our calories in – by counting them – and control the calories out – by doing more exercise, we could all lose weight and remain slim. Then why doesn’t this work for 99% of people? Because the formula is too simplistic. Calories in-calories-out is only one part of the puzzle. Weight loss is about so much more.
Even though there are only a select few who are able to achieve sustainable weight loss via this approach, this theory is still viewed by many in the weight loss industry to be the holy grail. For the majority of us that it doesn’t work for, we feel we have failed – that we are weak. We feel sense of shame over what we are told is a willpower problem. But willpower is not the problem. Our lack of understanding of our bodies is.
Back to caveman
What we are starting to understand that our ability to gain or lose weight is influenced by much more than just pure caloric intake. Let’s take stress as an example. Science is only just beginning to understand the impact that stress has on the body. To illustrate how stress affects metabolism and weight gain, let’s go back in history to 1,000 years ago, when famine was a real threat. We’re in the middle of a famine, and are struggling to find food to feed the family. When the body realises that a famine is occurring, it enters a chronic level of stress, signalling the body into survival mode. It is here that all non-essential functions – such as digestion, assimilation and reproduction – are shut down and the body starts to store fat – as it has no idea where the next meal may come from.
The scary thing is that the human brain has evolved so quickly over the last 1,000 years, but our bodies are still left back in the dark ages. The ability to burn or store fat is still determined by a number of factors which served us well when we lived 1,000 years ago, but are less helpful in today’s age. Although most of us in 1st world countries no longer live on a daily basis with threats like famine, our bodies cannot tell the difference between a perceived stress such as financial worry and a real one (like famine). So if you are living in a chronic state of low-level stress, chances are your body is storing fat and digestion & assimilation are far from optimal. Not exactly the optimal state for weight loss, regardless of the number of calories we restrict.
Weight loss is a multi dimensional issue
The truth is factors such as stress, toxicity, emotional state and experience, beliefs, eating habits and speed, food quality, macro nutrient balance, sleeping patterns and food allergies all profoundly affect our metabolism and our body’s ability to burn fat. We are not just a physical body – but a mind, body and spirit. The basic principles of Mind Body Nutrition suggest that weight loss is so much more than just physical – it is physical, emotional and spiritual. It is only when we start to consider ourselves – and our weight loss journey – from a holistic perspective, that we give ourselves the best chance of achieving not only sustainable weight loss, but optimal health.
If you’d like to discover a little more about your own relationship with food, and learn how to start making lasting change towards weight loss – then book your free 30 minute exploratory skype/phone session with Louise. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 8904 0202.
Yours in health