Women and Diets | Why are we always looking for a quick fix?

The better question is- why do we  (women) keep falling for the newest fad diet?  What is always making us search for the diet that is going to work and work fast?  Is it only me, or do we always seem to find ourselves needing to lose 10lbs? It’s not until I changed my whole outlook on what healthy looks and feels like that I realized we have such different relationships with food.

Women and Diets, why fad diets don't work

There is no shortage of fad diets, there never has been actually and I find that each and every one of these fad diets has manifested into a craze.  How many people do you know right now that are on a low-carb, high-fat diet? Almost everyone right? It is not to say that these diets do not work, they do, they are successful in quick weight loss and successful for those who have a significant amount of weight to lose.  The thing though is 99% of the time, these diets are not sustainable. A bigger problem is that most of the time people re-create versions of popular diets that have steered away from the purpose or method of the diet itself.  Let’s take the Keto diet for example. It’s the new hottest trend right now.  This diet was originally created in the 1920/30’s to treat people with Epilepsy and in today’s time, when guided by medical professionals/dieticians it is extremely successful for some cancer patients and for those who are morbidly obese.  The problem is not the Keto diet, the problem is people changing it!  It is such a trend right now, and such a money maker that people are taking the key concepts, the key principle of this diet that was created by a medical professional and changing it. People with no medical or professional education when it comes to nutrition are guiding and influencing others on how to “keto”.  This is where I have an issue with trendy diets because all this craze is what causes unhealthy eating habits and behaviors.  People are not learning how to eat, people are learning how to diet. 

“Fad diets operate on restricting you, and in effect will usually starve you of something important your body needs.” ~ Dr. Gillian McKeith, Author of You are What you Eat

You Are What You Eat, Dr. Gillian McKeith
You Are What You Eat, Dr. Gillian McKeith

When these fad diets are successful in helping you lose weight and fast, what happens next? Do you actually know how to eat in a manner that fuels your body? Do you know how to eat without following a plan?  Do you live the rest of your life with the restrictions to maintain your weight loss? What happens when you inadvertently  add the foods you took away back in?

My question when starting my research on this topic was- why are we always looking for the quick fix?  What is making women choose the next big thing over learning how to eat. As part of my research, I had the opportunity to speak with some amazing women who shared their stories with me. Each and every one of them had different reasons, different experiences, but they all shared one common thing, they were all moms.

While obesity and unhealthy weight is a concern throughout North America, the desire for us to lose weight quickly at any cost has caused us to equally engage in unhealthy eating habits and behaviors.  We spend so much time looking for which diet to follow and getting advice from other people that we have completely forgotten how to tap into and connect with our own body.

When I asked these moms “Why do you think we ( women) try so many different diets/ways to lose weight fast, especially after having a baby” one mom’s response hit the nail on the head!  She said “I think social media plays a big part in it. It skew our views of what we should look like. It creates an expectation that we need to look a certain way by a certain time after having a baby. It’s like keeping up with the Jones’”  Giulia, Mom of 3, Toronto Ontario.

As much as social media can be a place for inspiration, motivation and education, we get to choose who we follow and what we see. We have control over our social media feeds, we are in the driver’s seat and have full control on the content we see. We have to take what we see and read with a grain of salt.  How one person loses weight, what one person eats is not necessarily how it works for everyone. I think this is the trap most of us fall into “if it worked for her, it’ll work for me”

IMG_0035
Alexa and her daugther (3) Ceci

“I want to make better choices, i want to learn to eat healthy because my daughter is watching”. Alexa, a single mom to her  beautiful 3 yr old daughter Ceci. (always_lex1022)

It was such a pleasure speaking with Alexa and I feel honoured that she shared her story with me. Like all of us moms, Alexa shared her struggles with health and relationship with food especially after having a baby. Like so many of us, we get so caught up in taking care of our babies that we forget to dedicate time to ourselves.  And when you are busy, anything that seems easy and quick is our best friend!

When I asked Alexa, if there was one thing she could tell or share with other women, what would it be? she said  “I’d tell them that everyone feels the same way, we all go through this and you are not alone in this. I would tell them that we need to eat to feel good, to be healthy”

A few weeks ago I was speaking with one of my clients. She is currently at a healthy weight, is active and eats well.  She says to me “i’d love to lose 10lbs, and I’ll be the weight I was when I got married” Now I’m not surprised, because honestly, it’s a comment i hear often.   Here is what I want you to ask yourself- at this point in your life is the number on the scale more important to you then how you feel? If you feel good, have energy, are enjoying food, eating healthy and your body is active and healthy, do you really care what that number on the scale says? Whether you are 140lbs or 150lbs at this point in your life does it really matter above everything else what that number is?  If you asked me that question, my answer is no. That number doesn’t matter. What matters is eating healthy and ensuring that my body has everything it needs to be active, to feel good, to function not just now at 38 years old but for the rest of my life. My wish is for us to stop looking at eating healthy as a restriction of food, but rather a way of living.

“I just want to be able to eat healthy and not feel like I’m always on a diet. I don’t want my kids to see food that way” Giulia says  as she’s on the phone with me tucking in her kids. This made my heart stop for a second. How many of us have felt or currently feel this way.  What has happened that we have lost the ability to know how to just eat. With all these ‘diets’ out there, food has become so confusing. We have some resources telling us only to eat 20 grams of carbohydrates a day ( including vegetables), we have some’ experts’ telling us that eating bacon is totally fine, but eating an apple is not.  So when Giulia says to me that sometimes she looks at eating as “a bad thing or a punishment” I can understand why so many of us find it just easier to follow something that is scripted out for us and seems to work for other people without actually learning how to eat.

I asked Giulia the same question I asked Alexa, if there was one thing she could tell other women what would it be, she said “ I wish we could understand and appreciate that every body is so vastly different and to give yourself time”

Women and Diets, Why Fad Diets don't work
Me and My Boys, Jonathan (13), Daniel (11)

I think we need to be mindful of how we speak to our own self about our bodies. I think we need to do what Giulia says, give ourselves time.

We need to learn how to eat, learn what foods makes us feel good, we need to listen to our bodies and worry less what everyone else is doing.  I think you will find the most power in taking control of your own body. I think life is too short to be lived with restrictions.  I think healthy weight loss is something that needs to be talked about more and fad diets talked about less. I think we need to learn how to eat so that we don’t feel like we are always on a diet. I think we need to learn about food and its benefits to us.  I think we need to change the way we think about what healthy looks like and lastly, I think we need to change the way we speak to ourselves.

Eat good, feel good, look good!

Xo Denise

 

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