I count myself very lucky to have a long and varied career that includes helping people lose weight and improve their health. During this time many people have asked the question “Why did my diet not work?” Many of the clients/patients I’ve worked with have followed one diet after another, often over decades; usually with the same results; any weight loss is regained, usually resulting in a weight heavier than the one they started with.
Weight loss is a complicated subject, that’s not just about eating less and moving more, our hearts and heads are in the mix too, but that’s a topic for another day…..
As many of you reading this will realise, for most people, fad diets just don’t work. The main reason being that many people see them as something to dip in and out of to achieve a desired weight for some significant upcoming social event; a wedding, a christening, be beach fit ready, the little black dress for Christmas nights out……that people want to look good for. I completely understand this, however, throughout our lifetimes how many times do these events come around? Well, Christmas turns up in my house every year; sometimes a beach holiday too (I do live 5 minutes from the beach, but it’s not usually warm enough for swimwear at Seaburn at my age!!!), not so many weddings and christenings in recent years, but sure that will change as my niece and nephews develop into adulthood.
So here’s the thing, this approach to these, often, very restricting regimes where people pay attention to what and how much they eat, is temporary; meaning the unhelpful weight gaining habits are reintroduced. Usually resulting in regaining the weight the person went on a diet to lose in the first place; repeating the same cycle all over again prior to the next holiday, wedding, christening……
For many, the permanent helpful for weight and health dietary changes come about when they are diagnosed with a serious medical condition like Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc., etc.; or after surviving a stroke or heart attack. I remember working with a very lovely, bubbly, outgoing lady who attended my group nutrition education programme which she was referred to by her GP. She was one of the few who made no changes to her diet and lost no weight; I’ve no judgement here, people always have choices, it’s not my style to force people to make changes they’re not ready to. About a year later I received a referral from a GP asking me to make a home visit to a lady who was house bound, immobile and wanted support to lose weight as part of her rehabilitation after a massive stroke. You now know where I’m going with this one! Yes, it was that same lovely lady, now chair/bed and house bound, unable to do anything independently, to use her words “trapped in this b****y chair”. She was so very frustrated and depressed about her situation because she had a very active social life prior to the stroke. This time she did lose weight, all be it progress was slow, since she was unable to be physically active. Although her health did improve, she remained very restricted in her lifestyle options as a result of the significant and irreversible damage caused by the stroke. She said many times, “I wish I’d made these changes years ago so I wouldn’t be in this position now.”
The good news is that most of the ill-health conditions mentioned earlier, with the right support, can be prevented, have significant improvements or in some cases/conditions entirely reversed.
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of fad diets promoted by magazines, newspapers and celebrities; some temporary dietary manipulation to achieve weight loss. Unfortunately they mostly fit the bill of weight loss and regain cycle mentioned earlier. So, you could embark upon the latest “diet” hitting the headlines. However, it may not suit your unique specific lifestyle and preferences, or offer the motivational support necessary for you to succeed.
Working with someone who can support your specific set of circumstance can significantly improve your success rate. A dietitian can help with this; trained to the highest standards of excellent, unbiased and in depth nutritional knowledge, with the motivational skills to be that point of contact to support you achieve your goals. Together we can focus on understanding exactly what you want to achieve; collaborating to develop a balanced approach to food and your beliefs that empowers you to celebrate your successes and overcome each obstacle and setback, one at a time. As the L’Oreal ladies say “Because you’re worth it!”