Seeing all of this diet craziness on Facebook takes me back to the old days. I probably tried just about every diet out there. I tried the blood pledge with my sister; we pricked our fingers and vowed to lose weight. We didn’t! I ate cabbage every day for a week, alternating the next week with bananas. I did not lose weight; I only ended up hating cabbage. I know people are desperate to lose weight, but there is no magic trick. Even the things we thought, for so long, would work, don’t work at all.
Here is my list of things I thought would work —
- Will Power – I know people with the strongest will power ever known, and they still cannot lose weight. It’s so much more complicated than that. Our willpower is not limitless. Eventually, it runs out. We have to have a power source much larger than our weight problem. The power that is within us from the resurrected Christ is the only way to lose it and keep it off for a lifetime.
- Skip Meals – This actually does work for a little while—you will lose weight if you starve yourself. Studies show that drastic calorie cutting is not going to help you in the long run. That extremely low-calorie diet is not sustainable. You have then sabotaged your metabolism, and when you start eating a higher volume of food, here come the pounds and more.
- Punishing Yourself with Exercise. Trainers will tell you it’s approximately 70% what you eat (or don’t eat) and 30% what you do. It’s almost impossible to burn off with exercise the amount of calories it takes to lose one pound. It takes 3,500 calories burned to lose one pound of fat. To average one pound lost per week, you need to burn an additional 500 calories per day. If you’re only running just to lose weight, that means you would need to average about five miles per day—running! Seriously, there are not many who can do this every day for a week without sustaining an injury. Exercise is not meant to be punishment for your imperfect body or as a way of “purging” your body of those foods you have overeaten. It’s called exercise bulimia. Exercise is designed to strengthen your heart, tone and strengthen your bones and muscles. An added benefit will be an overall sense of well-being and burning some excess calories.
- Weighing Every Day. I know people who weigh several times in the day just to see if the scale somehow got it wrong the first time. Our bodies fluctuate so much during the day; how could you possible think you might lose three or four pounds just overnight? The healthiest and wisest way to weigh is once a week, about the same time of day. This will give you a much more accurate weight and not take you on an emotional roller coaster.
- Cutting out Carbs. My friend Mary shared about her daughter coming home for the holidays and announcing, “I’m not eating any carbs.” So she had lots of turkey and then some more turkey. It’s just not good sense to deprive your body of the valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber we get from eating carbohydrates. We can certainly eat quality carbs in their proper amounts. Now that might work!
- Focusing on an Event.How many of us go on a crazy diet just to fit into that mother-of-the-bride dress? It works as long as we stay motivated by the dress. But what happens after the wedding? All the weight comes back and more. A single event just does not have the staying power of something that has more value—like losing weight to be able to play on the floor with my grandchildren. That will sustain me a lot longer than a beige dress.
- Going it alone. Okay, if we could do this by ourselves, we would have already done it! We like to keep our dieting to ourselves, really just for one reason, so that when we fail, no one will know! Accountability with other like-minded folks ensures us of an honest effort. Finding a FP4H group that will pray for you and not judge you is the way to go for success. And you just might be the answer to someone else’s prayer!
None of these brilliant ideas listed above work. It’s been proven with clinical studies over and over. Let’s stop the nonsense and go with what works. First Place 4 Health is my lifetime choice.
Vicki Heath, National Director