Did you make any New Year's resolutions? If you did, you might have resolved to go on a diet and lose weight. We all want to lose weight or watch our weight. However, there is plenty of evidence that diets don't work. When you're on a diet you are restricting yourself in what you can eat. it's not unusual to think of food all the time and therefore fail at the diet.
Recent research published by the National Library of Medicine found that "evidence shows that most macronutrient diets, over six months, result in modest weight loss and substantial improvements in cardiovascular risk factors, particularly blood pressure. At 12 months, the effects on weight reduction and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors largely disappear." Macronutrients are the carbohydrates, fats, and protein that the body needs to function optimally.
The Mediterranean Diet
The one exception to this is the Mediterranean diet based on foods available in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. It is more of a lifestyle than a diet. It includes:
Set Point Theory
Nutrition experts have come to understand you have less control over your weight than you think. This is the set point theory. It suggests that genetics and hormones regulate our body weight at a predetermined level. This theory suggests that if you lose weight and your body is not comfortable at this weight and works to revert to your "natural" weight.
Rather than dieting, set point theory suggests intuitive eating which is eating for physical cues rather than emotional cues. You have permission to eat when you want based on your nutritional needs. Intuitive eating requires you to understand hunger and fullness cues. Simply stated, you should eat when you're hungry and stop when you feel full. A second helping at dinner or dessert may sound good, but if you're full, you're better off saying no to either of those. On the upside, intuitive eating allows you to eat the foods you enjoy once you have met your nutritional needs.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
For many of us, food is a coping mechanism to deal with feelings such as stress, boredom, or anxiety, or even to prolong feelings of happiness. Because of this, some believe the best way to lose weight is with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT requires you to understand what you're feeding when you eat. It will help you be mindful of your choices with the goal of eating food that will give you energy instead of zapping your energy. This is different for everyone so there is no predetermined meal plan. You'll also be encouraged to move more and drink more water.
The focus of CBT is on changing your thinking and habits instead of dieting. This will improve your overall feeling of wellness. Of course, it's hard work and goals are often accomplished over time with accountability.
"Nourishment is about so much more than food'" says Jennifer Maxwell, a certified Health and Wellness Coach. "Food is not the enemy. Eating is an opportunity to create an experience for yourself. The mind-body connection with food comes from slowing it all down. What you eat is only part of it. How, when, and who you are being when you're eating makes up the whole experience.
"Ask yourself this before you are about to eat: Am I stressed? If the answer is yes, take some time for mindful breathing. Eat from a state of calm. Aim for a 20-minute meal. It might seem impossible but look at it as a gift to yourself. You deserve it!"