Two days after New Year’s, my husband and I went out on date night. We ended up grabbing a seat in the bar because the restaurant portion was packed. Just as we took our seats and started chatting, the waiter brought over the food for the couple next to us.
The first plate caught my eye because I had never seen a steak quite that large. Being a vegetarian for 16 years will do that to you, lol. I eat meat now, and I actually enjoy it, but I couldn’t EVER imagine eating a slab that size in one sitting!
Anyway, that’s what made me notice them, but it isn’t what this is about.
Because I had noticed the guy’s dinner (and he was happily cutting into it with abandon), I then glanced over to see what his other half was eating.
What a difference! While his meal felt gluttonous and overwhelming, hers felt empty and lacking.
After taking a longing look at her guy’s plate, she turned to face her own, which consisted of a plain bowl of tomato soup and a quarter wedge of iceberg lettuce with a drizzle of salad dressing. There were a few feta pieces thrown on top for decoration. It must have been solely for decoration, because there wasn’t enough on it to be called food.
This was her dinner! I immediately felt hungry for her and thought about how she would feel in an hour or two. I HATE being hungry and felt a ton of sympathy for her.
Of course, I don’t know the background of why she ordered that meal, and I’m making it all up in my head that it was to lose weight, but It’s a pretty good chance that I’m right.
She was slightly older than me, I’d wager- maybe 50, and growing up we were taught that in order to lose weight, you must restrict your food and your calories.
Which is a very old mindset.
Plus, growing up in the 70s’ and 80’s was all about processed fake foods (like margarine) and Low-fat or diet everything. Unless she has grown and learned about healthy food choices, chances are she is still eating that way today. And eating that way does little to nothing in the way of nourishing the body or the mind.
Getting back to it…
Let’s just say (for argument’s sake) that she did choose her dinner because she was on a diet. And knowing what she had for dinner, I would ask you how long it would be before she became famished again. There was no protein (there wasn’t even enough feta to count it in the meal), Not enough healthy carbs, and no sustaining healthy fats. The lettuce was mostly water, and the soup was a watery, sugary, sodium filled nothing in a bowl. None of it was satiating or satisfying.
Now, let’s pretend she is home, and she is hungry. What next? Does she deny herself food and go to bed with a growling tummy? This would prove that she really means business this time around, yes?
She might think so, and she might keep this up for a few unhappy weeks and lose a bit. Which feels great and motivates her to keep going… But here is what her body is really thinking after a few weeks of this treatment.
Her brain is noticing that there is less food coming in. Much less food. So it assumes there is some sort of famine, which tells the metabolism to slow down and hold onto the fat it does have, in case it needs it at some point in the future. Yes, our brain really does that!
When we deny ourselves the food it needs, the brain tries to protect us, by holding onto our fat stores. This is why extreme calorie reduction- i.e., dieting, doesn’t work. It gets even worse the more times that we do it. You might lose some weight the 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd time. However, eventually the metabolism and hormones are so confused, that they don’t know what to do. How many woman do you know that try to diet once or twice a year, each year? It’s just part of who they are, right?
For the majority of people, that do lose weight like this, the weight will come back within the first 6 months to a year after the diet is done. Only about 5% of dieters are able to keep the weight loss off for life. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just trying to help you make the best possible choices.
Dieting in the traditional sense is a big waste of time, effort and mental/emotional stress. It does more damage than good, and has a tendency to create mental anxiety around food. There is more to taking off those pounds than just calories in, calories out. Stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, and emotional baggage all play a huge part in holding onto weight.
Since that is the case, you can clearly see that there is no ONE WAY to lose weight. It takes time to learn how YOUR body reacts and changes. It’s worth the effort of course, but it’s not over night. It’s a process… which then becomes a lifestyle.
I wish I could give you a magical recipe for weight loss. But I can’t.
Instead, I offer you some tips to help you in the process-
▪ Never believe anyone who tells you that their weight loss program works for everyone
You can also set up an appointment with me and we can discuss coaching options. I’d really love to help you meet your goals.