Last week I was chatting with my client who wants to get leaner, tighten up and lose a bit of fat. Cool. Nothing new and nothing I’m not used to hearing. What sort of surprised me, though, was her saying “I mean, I’m 32 years old. I’m probably going to have to do something pretty radical if I want to change my body.”
After I screamed “NO! NO NO NO NO NO!” in my head (and maybe once out loud- it’s ok, we’ve know each other for a while) I realized that I live in this bubble where all the coaches I’m surrounded by preach moderation, losing weight slowly, allowing yourself foods like pizza and chocolate and helping clients achieve a balance so they can still reach their goals while liking how they eat.
What I forgot was there are still coaches out there saying things like “THIS is the fastest way to lose belly fat!” followed by a picture for the Master Cleanse (seriously…are we still doing that??} or “Samantha lost 28 pounds in 12 weeks using our simple system! DM me for details!” or “Sugar will KILL you. Let me teach you how to live sugar free!”
Everything is so freakin’ extreme!
And there’s no judgement here. I’ve done the Master Cleanse. I’ve tried the shakes and pills, I even tried a weight loss patch when I was in college. Every time I’d start a new extreme measure that PROMISED me results, I’d tell myself “This is the time it will stick. It’s going to work!” only it never did work and I ended up right back where I started, if not a few pounds heavier.
When we take extreme measures to lose weight we never get what we bargain for. The results don’t last, we feel like garbage and the effects it has on our minds is pretty intense. Below are 5 reasons why quick fixes and fad diets do more harm than good when it comes to reaching your goals.
1- Muscle Loss. Extreme diets can promote some fat loss in the very beginning stages. The problem is, the methods are so unsustainable that 99% of people end up gaining the weight back and then some. Along with losing a bit of fat, we’re also losing water weight and…muscle. Which we definitely don’t want when we’re on a fat loss journey. The more muscle you have on your body the more calories your body will burn at rest and throughout the day because your body has to work harder to maintain that muscle, which is ideal for fat loss! So if you come across a diet that promises losing 10lbs in 10 days, move on. Your muscles will thank you.
2- Lower Energy. When we cut calories in an extreme way, we’re not giving our body the necessary calories to function at an optimal level. We can become forgetful, lightheaded, lethargic and irritable all because we cut calories too drastically. It’s always a better idea to cut calories as slowly as we can to keep energy high and our body functioning at an optimal level.
3- Promotes negative body image and a negative relationship with food. When you’re constantly dieting and losing then regaining weight and switching gears in how you get there, it can do a number on your relationship with your body and result in a huge lack of confidence. Let’s say you hit your weight loss goal and you decide you ”earned” some pizza and wine- which you haven’t had in 4 weeks. The next day you hop on the scale and your weight is way up. What do you do? Chances are verrrrrry small that you’d be OK with the fluctuations and chalk it up to water weight. In my experience, most people think they’ve gained 8 pounds of fat overnight, binge like crazy all day/week/month, beat themselves up mentally and in the gym, until they get the guts to try the 4 week diet again.
4- We begin to determine our self-worth by how “good” we are at dieting or by how much we weigh. When we’re on a diet, we get attached to our goal. We want to lose x number of pounds, or fit into a size 8. We attach ourselves to not only the outcome, but to being our thinnest which means we’re “good enough.” If we gain the weight back, there’s something wrong with us and we’re a failure. When in reality, your bodyweight doesn’t mean one single thing about YOU as a person. It’s simply your bodys relationship to gravity. I’ve gotten some pushback on that and how “a number isn’t just a number when you have a lot of weight to lose” but I stand by that. It is just a number. There are plenty of people who are overweight, kind and happy just as there are plenty of thin people who are depressed and mean. You self-worth and your weight have absolutely nothing to do with each other. There’s also a misconception that when you lose weight, you’ll get a better job, get more dates, and be treated better overall, but this isn’t the case either. Just keep in mind that just because your weight is down doesn’t mean your life is going to be up and just because your weight goes up doesn’t mean your life is ruined. YOU determine your life, not your weight or your diet.
5- Causes a lot of unnecessary bodily stress & fat gain. Yes. These diets cause us to gain fat- not lose it. When there are too many changes or the adjustments to your eating routine are extreme, your body can begin to fight tooth and nail because it’s fearful that something serious is going on. In response to the extreme dieting, cortisol rises and adrenaline starts pumping, we can feel more hungry than normal as a result and therefore…we gain fat instead of lose. On the exercise front, a lot of extreme diets are paired with extreme workout routines which is actually doing you a huge disservice because those workouts also increase cortisol and adrenaline levels. The harder you push, the more the body will rebel. The key is to diet down slowly and make small adjustments as you go.
The Bottom Line
I’m all for people having their own journey and making their own choices to diet or not to diet. I mean, had I not gone through all my own stuff with following diets, hiring fat loss coaches and using supplements, I might not be here coaching my peeps today, but I want you to think about this the next time you’re tempted to try another diet or cleanse: Do you really want to go for a quick fix that gets temporary results and can actually do some real damage to your body and mind in the long run?
My hope by now is that you’ll say no (fingers crossed!).
To achieve your dream body and relationship with food, the change needs to happen within your mindset and with your daily habits. This means losing weight gradually as a side effect of your healthier habits. The key is improving your relationship with food, respecting your body and giving it the fuel it needs to function optimally. And yes, you CAN do it. You CAN have your cake and eat it too ;o)
If you’re ready to get going on your fat loss/nutrition/fitness goals and you want results that will stick around, you’ll want to join my membership group, Living Lean Lifestyle Club for September. Beginning on the 5th we’re going to hit the reset button and we’re going to detox Fueled Physique-style. That means no shakes, no pills, no potions, just solid nutrition, kick ass workouts and reconnecting with our body.
During the nutrition reboot, I’m going to give you everything you need and I’m going to coach you along the way. You’re going to get recipes, nutrition coaching, workouts, and lots of support from a community of women who are in your shoes and have similar goals.
We also like some friendly competition in LLLC so I’ve turned this reboot into sort of a challenge, too.
CLICK HERE if you’re ready to reboot.