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How to Escape the Diet Trap

Yo-yo-diets

It's Time To Do Things Different.

Deep in thought with friends last night, the conversation turned to Jenni Murray and the open letter published yesterday morning. That letter was written in direct response to a dilemma which is familiar the world over to literally millions and millions of people: yo- yo dieting.

It is a very real concept a very real diet trap and it keeps millions of us unhappy and pre-occupied and, well, generally missing the point of life.

As each new commercial dieting program comes to us (Dukan, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Cabbage Soup, High-fibre, Low-fat, Zone, the list is endless), we sincerely believe it will make a difference to our mal-nourished bodies. And we try again for weight loss. What we forget, time and again, is that diets don’t work. At best, they are always a short term solution: most of us can lose weight if we set our minds to it but how many of us manage to sustain the weight loss? Short term gratifications (new clothes, new shoes, new hair cut, new man, new party) seduce us down the diet path but what is it that you want, long term?

If your long term wish is to be free to live life fully, to enjoy each day without waking up and venturing into battle with your self, to be “normal” around food and to understand food and the response it can trigger in our bodies then take a little education.

Take a look at the article Fat Storage Machine and learn about the relationship of sugar and insulin  and the response it has on your body. Further reading here on exactly how our modern diet is fuelling the obesity epidemic and try this excellent item Bad Fat – Good Fat to open your eyes to thebenefits of eating saturated fat in our diet. Challenge your current behaviours, think Human Shaped! Be radical. Eat bacon. Stand up, stretch and take a look around. If you keep doing what you’ve always done you will continue to get what you’ve always got.

Do your reading, do your thinking and make good choices. Every day what you do defines who you are. Get a few recipes under your belt, understand what you can and can’t eat for optimal health , use our ancestors as your point of reference (did they eat it,  would they recognise it as food) and never ever forget the fact that it is the food that is making you fat NOT some lack of will power or failing in you. It is the food that causes addictions and triggers behavioural responses such as overeating. Not you. It is a biochemical response. Chemistry. Not you. Clean up your diet and the bio-chemical reactions go, the behavior triggers go and now you have a fighting chance to achieve those long term goals.

And so, now we read that  Jenni Murray has opted for Weight Watchers.

Do you think this is the answer?

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Dukan v Paleo

Dukan-paleo

Yukan...though we'll give it a miss, thanks!

We get a lot of questions asking how our way of eating differs from say the Dukan Diet or the Atkins Diet.  Well the latter two are indeed quite similar in their make up and include similar foods although at different stages.  However many of the foods and even non foods (as may better describe them) included are in fact detrimental to both health and well being. In addition both these diets are specifically geared towards weight loss results and fall short on considering long term sustainability as they are both temporary programs with one focus, losing weight.  In particular the Dukan diet severely reduces fat intake and relies upon calorie restriction and exercise to provide results. The Atkins diet fares little better as it encourages you to purchase their own brand processed foods. We will look at the Atkins diet a little closer in this series, however for now we’re going to focus on the Dukan Diet

This diet is high-protein, low fat, low carbohydrate dieting with four separate stages:

Stage 1 The first phase is protein only for up to 10 days to get into ketosis, then you alternate pure protein one day, protein and vegetables the next day until you lose the weight you want to lose, then you gradually reintroduce other food.

Stage 2 Alternate days of protein only and protein plus vegetables.

Stage 3 Gradually re-introduce “forbidden foods” – apparently this generally includes one fruit and two slices of whole grain bread per day, one serving of carbs per week (e.g. pasta), and two cheat meals (they call it “celebration meals”) per week.

Stage 4 Eat anything you like here, or that is providing you do the following: Consume 3 Tbsp of oat bran per day, one day per week eat only protein, walk 20 minutes a day and avoid all elevators/escalators.

Well doesn’t much like fun to me, boring, restrictive and has little to do with long term health or even keeping the pounds off afterwards. While this diet has some elements that are beneficial to both weight loss and health, its focus is almost entirely on providing weight loss results at the expense of long term health and long term results. This is because many of the foods advocated such as bread, pasta and the like should be avoided as they are detrimental to long term health and disrupt the bodies biochemistry leading to weight gain.

Walk 20 minutes a day and avoid all elevators and stairs? Of course the only reason for this is to make the diet work and get results faster, which is totally the wrong approach. Firstly remember exercise is a fitness tool and although it has several benefits including social interaction and may also be used by professional athletes to make the grade, it has no place in weight loss for the man or woman in the street. If you are several pounds (or even stones) overweight, just moving around is all the exercise you need worry about. Think diet as your weight loss tool.  Eating the right foods is all you need to do to achieve almost effortless weight loss. Remember exercise less, eat more (of the right foods) rather than eat less exercise more.

A major concern of the Dukan diet is it encourages it’s followers to avoid fat, in particular animal fats. To actively promote the consumption of low fat products is not only ridiculous, but also extremely dangerous and counter productive when focusing on weight loss. Fat, particularly natural dietary animal fats are an essential requirement for our health, well-being and even happiness. They should make up proportionally the biggest percentage of our diet followed by protein and lastly carbohydrate making up by far the smallest portion.

Of even greater concern is the inclusion of significant quantities of oat bran. Bran once thought to reduce colon cancer and even heart disease has now been shown to have no benefit. It was also thought to improve irritable bowel syndrome but again has now been shown to have no benefit, in contrast it is now thought to actually exacerbate the problem. Bran is used in the Dukan diet because of it’s high fibre content which slows digestion and gives the sensation of feeling fuller. But why would you want to do this? Why would you want your body to think it has had more nutrients than it has? The answer of course has to be because the foods you are eating cause you to gain weight. There is never any justification for this course of action, simply eat nutrient dense real foods in the quantities you desire and your body will naturally take care of the rest, it’s that easy! Bran has also been shown to deplete the body of calcium, zinc, iron, sterols, fats and fatty acids. In addition bran is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, eczema, IBS, learning disabilities, menstrual dysfunction, osteoporosis, rickets and slow childhood growth.

So lets assume that even after considering all the above you persevere with the Dukan diet and lose several pounds or even stones and realise your weight loss goal. Now what? This diet then goes on to encourage you to re-introduce the very foods that made you fat to start with. Of course you probably won’t realise this at the time or see the connection and and may well blame yourself for gaining weight (again), hey you must have eaten too much and exercised too little…wrong! You just got taken in again, as many do. Welcome to yo-yo dieting, a sure fire route to becoming obese or even morbidly obese.

As for Dukan v Paleo. Well for effortless weight loss, sustained results, optimal health and happiness, it has to be Paleo Works every time! Paleo-works-how-to-diet

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