Eat less, exercise more. It’s the dietary mantra that’s been around since the 1980s. And there is no way of avoiding it when you are looking for information about losing weight or improve your lifestyle. The mantra sounds so simple, anybody could do it, right?
Yet here we are, the number of people worldwide that are obese has tripled since 1975. In 2016, there were 1.9 billion people around the world that are overweight (1) . Instead of countering this weight gain epidemic it almost looks like the dietary mantra has been the fire starter behind the obesity pandemic. How can something, we have made to believe is so easy, be so hard to achieve?
Because losing weight isn’t easy, it is hard. And more often than not, if you fail to lose weight, it is not your fault. The solutions you have are being offered are failing you. And we do not have a lack of solutions! A simple online search provides you with a plethora of weight loss cliché’s, such as:
- Cutting calories and create a calorie deficit;
- Do lots of cardio, do lots of weightlifting
- Avoid fats;
- Avoid carbs;
- Eat lots of protein;
- Eat 5-7 times a day.
And this list goes on and on and on.
And they do not work. These so-called fad diets are too hard to maintain as a regular lifestyle, or other factors cause like your body’s natural process and hormones make you hit your weight loss plateau. Research has shown repeatedly that there are no long-term changes when people reduce their daily intake of calories. It turns out that the calorie deficit you’ve been hunting is a myth…
95% of the people restricting their calories, start gaining weight again after they hit their “weight loss” plateau
All diets work; until they stop working
If you have ever tried a diet, you might be familiar with this concept: all diets work, until they stop working. This concept occurs with every fad diet you will ever try.
There are two phases you go through when you try a new diet:
- You start your new diet:
You are restricting and counting your calories, avoiding those evil carbs, or even switch to eating cabbage soup all day long. As long as it works you try it, and it works! You can feel it in your clothes, the scale is saying it: you are loosing weight. The amount of weight you are loosing depends on your body and the diet but it is working, you are on your way to your weight goal!
- You hit your plateau:
You’ve been following the diet for sometime now and then there is that one day you feared. This diet was going to be all different, that what they said, whoever ‘they’ may be. But the scale is saying you didn’t lose a single gram. This stasis keeps going for a couple of days, followed by the inevitable other shock that was bound to happen: your body start to gain weight again… It starts with 100 grams but doesn’t stop there. The weight comes back faster than it took you to lose it. After a couple of weeks, you are back at your starting weight, or even worse, you added some extra kilos! You blame yourself because after all, we have been trained to believe that it is our own fault.
You give it sometime, do your research and you will start a new diet, starting this cycle again: the infamous Yo-Yo effect.
What did you do wrong? Did you let yourself go with eating? Didn’t you train hard enough in the gym?
We hate to tell you this after all these years, but it is neither of these, it isn’t you! You never had a chance with these diets, at some point the processes of your body kick in, and made you regain weight.
AVA’s approach: Díaita
First: all food is good food. We need to stop thinking in labels like ‘bad’, ‘clean’, ‘cheat’ and ‘guilt-free’ when it comes to our food. It’s more important to enjoy the food you eat and be aware that some foods should only be consumed in moderation. Not because they are bad, but because they give us only pleasure in the short term. By not having them we get happier in the long term But you shouldn’t cut them out of your lifestyle, we are all humans after all and have our guilty pleasures. Moderation is key here: eat three meals a day and, from time to time, have some chocolate after your lunch or dinner.
Second: your diet is so much more than food. Food plays an important role, we won’t deny that, but the same can be said for regular exercise, reducing stress and making sure you get enough sleep. All these factors influence our body and can lead to problems like a lack of energy or gaining weight.
So, when focusing on a healthy diet and losing weight we should not omit these other factors. It is the way of living that influences our body. This is not a new concept. When you search for the history of the word ‘diet’ you see that different cultures, from the Ancient Greek to modern day Japan, apply the idea that a diet is more than food: it is a way of living.
The Ancient Greeks called it ’díaita’: way of living.
This is the goal AVA has with diaita, including food, exercise and mindfulness in your diet, how you can get control over these different processes and use them in your day-to-day life. Because a lack of mental stimulation can have the same effect on your mood and energy as making too many unhealthy food choices.
The upcoming articles will have a stronger focus on AVA’s dieting philosophy. We will tell you more about what our research has learned us about what causes weight gain, and we can tell you this: calories aren’t your biggest enemy!
Don’t want to miss any of them, make sure to give us a follow on Instagram or Facebook. If you have any questions after reading this article, please ask them! You can leave a comment below, or email us! AVA is here to help you.