Every New Year seems to bring crazy new diets and newly released “health foods” that are being marketed to customers. It’s hard to know what works, what’s safe and what’s really healthy.
Why? Any form of extreme dieting, whether it be cleanses or calorie reduction, can be very hard on the body. Both cleanses (such as juice cleanses) and calorie reduction (less than 1800 calories a day) deprive the body of energy and force the body into a state of starvation. The results may be short term weight loss (or for however long the diet is), but once a normal diet is resumed, the body adds on more weight in fear of another bout of starvation. Our body actually holds onto MORE fat after an extreme diet, making it harder to lose weight again in the future. So, you end up stuck. You either have to keep eating less than what your body needs to keep the weight off or you risk gaining it back by eating a normal diet. Many people choose to continue on a low-calorie diet and suffer with lack of energy, digestive problems, fatigue, sleep troubles, and mood disorders.
Swapping Frugally: The best way to maintain a healthy diet is the 80/20 rule. 80% of our diet should be mostly vegetables, then fruits, healthy oils and healthy grains and 20% meats/eggs. (A vegetarian diet should include protein sources and Vitamin B-12 and iron supplementation.) If you’re clean eating and still having weight troubles, there is probably something else going on that needs to be addressed. Thyroid problems are one of the biggest causes of weight gain. Severe cases can be detected by a thyroid panel at your doctor, but less severe cases end up being missed by blood work. A basal body temperature can be done to detect these cases. Every morning before getting out of bed, take a glass thermometer and place the thermometer under your armpit for 10 minutes. Write down the reading each day. An average reading above 97.6 is normal, 97 degrees indicates a minor condition and below 97 indicates severe hypothyroidism. For more information on treating the thyroid, see my post here.
Periods of high stress can also cause weight gain as cortisol is increased in the body, raising body fat. See my post here for more information on treating the adrenals. Hormonal imbalances also can cause weight gain (more info on balancing hormones here). Narrowing down what the cause is and treating it, can help with weight loss without ever needing to go on a crazy diet.
A book that I highly recommend is The Diet Cure. In this book, the author offers several ways to help find out what the underlying problem is and offers natural cures for treating the problem. She also goes into detail on the best foods to eat and avoid to assist in weight loss, based on your condition. This book can be purchased by going here. She explains why low calorie dieting can cause major health problems, and offers alternatives.