What your diet doesn’t teach you- Part 2
By Nicole Gibson
This post is a continuation of a recent blog where I discussed things your diet doesn’t teach you. If you want a recap click here. Diets focus on avoidance– they only discuss what you “need” to exclude- and yet there are many more factors that need to be addressed in order to achieve sustainable weight loss and lead a healthy life.
Diets don’t teach about other important lifestyle behaviours that can potentially sabotage weight loss efforts, such as poor sleep or stress management and lack of physical activity. If you’ve had a bad sleep and felt constantly hungry and craving all the sweet treats the next day then that is completely normal, and your body is biologically programmed to feel that way. With lack of sleep your body increases production of ghrelin, your hunger hormone, and decreases production of leptin, your satiety hormone. Your body is tired, so it tells you to eat more to try and increase your energy, and sugar is the quickest way to send a surge of glucose to your brain. So as you can see, poor sleep quality can wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts.
Stress can have a similar effect as sleep; there are underlying physiological mechanisms that can make weight loss a struggle when chronically stressed with no healthy outlet. Also, many people turn to comfort foods and alcohol to manage their stress. Integrating good sleep hygiene and stress management techniques is crucial.
Physical activity is another one that may seem obvious, but I think should always be addressed. And I am not talking strictly about structured exercise (which is also beneficial). I am talking about incorporating more movement throughout the day; biking with your kids to school instead of driving, going for a walk after dinner instead of watching TV, going swimming or playing mini golf on the weekends instead of going to the movies. Obviously these might not always be feasible (i.e. winters up in the frigid North), but they are just some examples of ways to make movement more enjoyable without feeling like “exercise.” Adopting these healthy behaviours can make a noticeable difference not just for losing weight, but also for maintaining afterwards and improving overall health.
Diets don’t teach you how to nourish your body. One common reason for weight loss is to improve health. Food is more than just calories (or carbs, fats, or protein). Food contains valuable nutrients that help support our immune system, hormones, digestion, and cognition. Obtaining adequate amounts of all essential vitamins and minerals is necessary to actually FEEL good. When you cut out a whole food group, then you could potentially be cutting out or limiting specific vitamins and minerals. It is important to begin shifting our focus more towards what nutrient-dense foods can DO for our bodies.
Unfortunately, mainstream diets are not leaving anytime soon. The promise of quick fixes is always going to be enticing. And with so much conflicting information, it can be incredibly confusing as to what to believe. Fundamentally, building healthy and sustainable habits will reign supreme, and it is important to recognize that those fad diets are not teaching you that.
Are you looking to get even healthier? Are you interested in moving towards building sustainable healthy habits? Could you use some support figuring out what you need to eat to feel your best? Curious about how nutritional health coaching can help you make healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!