Written by Guest Blogger: Megan Kuikman
It’s that time of year again. With the New Year upon us comes well intentioned New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions: weight loss. The dieting industry is well aware of this. As a result, there is an influx of clever marketing schemes promoting the latest diet books and programs to help with this New Year’s goal.
The diet industry is a multibillion dollar industry. Dieting is attractive. It promises quick drastic results and often appears structured and easy to follow. Based on all the diet books and programs available, you would think we would have a nation full of thin people. However, the reality is few of these diets actually achieve long-term weight loss.
Most people will lose weight on a diet. However, most people won’t keep the weight off. 1/3 to 2/3 of weight loss is regained within 1 year and 90% of weight lost is regained within 5 years. Dieting not only fails to help us with weight loss, but can also make it harder for people to lose weight in the long-term. This is because diets:
- Decrease the rate at which the body burns calories
- Increase appetite and cravings
- Decrease energy
- Decrease our ability to differentiate between hunger and fullness
- Increase fat storage
Following a diet won’t work in the long run. People don’t fail diets. Diets fail people. However, there is hope for those who would like to achieve weight loss. How? Focus on specific behaviour changes that are conducive to weight loss.
This approach to weight loss isn’t as attractive as a well-structured diet plan. There are no lists of foods to include versus avoid, no magic pill and it won’t result in quick drastic changes to weight. However, it is sustainable.
Focus on making permanent changes. Before implementing a behaviour change, ask yourself, “Can I make this change forever?” If this answer is no, then it probably isn’t sustainable. For instance, completely swearing off all sweets for the rest of your life is probably an unstainable change. Instead, you could limit sweets to one small portion per week.
Based on your decided behaviour change, make a measurable goal. For instance, maybe your goal is to aim for 30 minutes of exercise three times per week, or to reduce the number of pops consumed daily from 3 cans to 1 can. Set a time frame for this goal, so that you have something to work towards. Keep track of your progress. Once you have achieved this goal, and it is a regular part of your routine, select a new lifestyle change to work on.
Bottom line- make sustainable behaviour changes rather than going on yet another short-term diet that sets you up for failure. Move away from the diet mentality to one that focuses on a lifelong, sustainable approach to healthy, enjoyable eating.
About Megan Kuikman
As a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist, Megan specializes in maximizing sports performance through nutrition, as well as overall health and wellness strategies. Megan completed her undergraduate degree at Western University with an honors specialization in nutrition and dietitcs, graduating with distinction, before completing the London Health Sciences Centre dietetic internship. An accomplished long-distance runner, Megan's most recent accomplishments include 1st place female at the 2016 Mississauga Marathon, 5th Canadian woman at the 2016 Canadian marathon championships and 3rd Canadian woman at the 2017 Ottawa Marathon. Megan is actively involved in the Brantford community. She is a popular speaker providing group talks, grocery store tours and hands-on cooking classes to a variety of athletic groups. Megan is further committed to dispelling nutrition myths and supplying trustworthy advice to athletes through her weekly sports nutritiion blog.
For more information about services Megan provides in the area, to follow her blog or print recipes, please click here to open the Megan Kuikman Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Website
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