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Why Diets Don’t Work (Part 1 of 4): Top 10 Things Weighing You Down

Are you tired of the yo-yo dieting and results that don’t last? Is your weight holding you back from living life fully?

Probably like most women, I have always struggled with weight and obsessed with dieting which never led to the results I was aiming for. When I was young, I was very skinny and it was hard for me to put on muscle. I had nicknames like “Bones,” “Kildee (bird),” and ”Flaca” because of my boney legs. When I began to near 40, I quickly gained weight, but not the right kind, and it gathered mostly in my hips and torso.

My weight gain was contributed by stress, alcohol, and poor nutrition. As a Lab Manager, I was working between 12-16 hours up to 6 days a week. I was raising two troublesome teenage girls by myself. I was getting up at 3am to workout before having to start my 6am shift, so definitely sleep deprived. I had no social life and no moral or financial support from my family or my ex-husband. I was having health issues (spasms in my esophagus). I was exhausted and I was depressed.

Most of America’s weight problems are a result of processed foods, sedentary lifestyle, supersized portions, supersized dishware, busy schedules, take out, lack of primary foods, and stress.

This may not be your story, but maybe you can relate to at least some of it?

Here are 10 factors that may be weighing you down:

  1. STRESS. Stress puts a huge burden on your body. When you’re producing the stress hormone cortisol, it’s very difficult to lose weight, and you often develop stubborn fat around the middle of your body. Serotonin wipes out cortisol and is produced when the nervous system’s physical relaxation response is engaged. Hot baths, laughter, great sex, and (although seemingly counterintuitive) exquisite food, enjoyed slowly, are all great places to start.

  2. LACK OF SLEEP. When you’re not getting enough sleep, it triggers increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and decreased levels of leptin (the satiety hormone)- and you crave high-fat and/or high-sugar foods, leading to increased hunger and appetite that leads to weight gain. Aim for eight hours per night, and your cravings and weight will naturally come into balance.

  3. NEGATIVE WORKPLACE. A disrespectful boss and/or gossiping coworkers engage the body’s stress response and may make you feel useless, stupid, judged, or all three. It’s likely you spend forty hours or more in your workspace each week, so d everything you can to make it a positive environment or consider changing jobs if it becomes clear that it’s not possible to improve your current situation.

  4. TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS. Physical, emotional, and/or verbal abuse greatly contribute to the stress response. Honor your intrinsic worth and choose your relationships accordingly.

  5. ISOLATION. Do you tend to isolate yourself and have trouble reaching out to others? It’s great to spend time alone, but if you’re feeling stressed, it’s really helpful to connect with others and feel like you’re in a community. Next time you’re feeling weighed down, call or meet up with a friend or family member, even if only for a short period of time.

  6. OVER-PACKED SCHEDULE. When you over-schedule yourself, you don’t have time to fully feel into each experience – you merely skim the surface. Remove extraneous events from your calendar and move away from wearing stress as a badge of honor. Choose your commitments wisely – whether it’s a business engagement or a friend’s birthday party – and bring your whole glorious, calm self.

  7. LACK OF VACATION TIME. All work and no play doesn’t feed your soul. Many ambitious people have trouble taking vacation time, but the truth is that time off brings on the best inspiration. Value your down time as much as your work and you’ll see how they balance each other nicely – no need to teeter between the two!

  8. DISTANCE FROM FAMILY. Do you live far away from your family and feel disconnected from them? Make it a point to take trips to see them, schedule regular Skype/FaceTime dates, or consider moving closer to them. We often take family for granted when we should honor and celebrate them – they’re often our biggest supporters and fans.

  9. EXTERNAL FACTORS OUT OF YOUR CONTROL. A lot of people allow themselves to get stressed when they hit traffic or their train breaks down. Fully acknowledge that these types of events are out of your hands and that your job is to breathe, accept, and show compassion toward yourself and others. Let go of the things you can not control.

  10. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS. People trying to lose weight often disregard environmental toxins and pollution. To protect yourself, get as much fresh air as possible and build up your immune system by eating organic food and minimizing toxic skin and hair products. Spend as much time as possible in nature.

Diets don’t work because most, if not all, of these factors are not considered. Diets are alienating, stressful, restrictive, expensive, and don‘t take lifestyle and individuality into account.

When we are under stress, our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol, increasing sugars (glucose) into the bloodstream, enhancing the brain‘s use of glucose and increase the availability of substances that repair tissues. It also alters the immune response and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system (why your cycle may get thrown off or result in ED), and growth processes. It also has a significant impact on your mood and motivation.

Long term effects of stress can disrupt all of your body’s processes and can even increase health risks, such as:

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Digestive problems

  • Headaches/migraines

  • Muscle pain and tension

  • High blood pressure that could result in heart disease/heart attack/stroke

  • Lack of quality sleep

  • Memory and concentration impairment

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress

Stress is a part of life and some things are just out of our control, but there are ways to manage stress and learn to make healthier choices.

  • Making better nutrition choices and exercise

  • Get adequate quality sleep

  • Practice breathing techniques, yoga, or meditate

  • Journaling

  • Get creative with art, listen to music, or find a hobby you enjoy

  • Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and feel good

  • Find the humor in life

  • Give back, Serve your community

  • Seek professional counseling that help you learn specific coping techniques

Avoid unhealthy things such as excessive alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Once you learn how to manage your stress and come up with solutions, it will improve your quality of life, which will lead to easier weight loss, and more contentment with yourself. It may even result in longevity.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, schedule a free consultation to discuss further how health coaching can help you.

Rose Davis, MLS, INHC, RYT

Be Your Best Version

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