If you're looking for a weight loss method, the bad news is that none of the popular weight loss programs are perfect; in fact, many of the diets that doctors recommend have been proven to be ineffective by scientific research.
Since low-calorie diets are the most common diets used by the majority of overweight people, and low-calorie diets don't actually work for permanent weight loss, many patients have low self-esteem that comes from a failure that they blame on themselves, rather than the diet. This low self-esteem is added to the depression that is often caused by the diets themselves.
We are usually told that the success of any weight loss method depends on having a 'correct attitude'. We are told that the success of the weight loss program is up to us - just follow the instructions, cut back on calories, increase your exercise, and eventually you'll be thin again. If it doesn't work, it's all your fault.
Never mind that a scientific study done in 1917 proved that low-calorie diets never work for permanent weight loss, and they come with a number of physical and psychological side effects.
Among the 'tricks' that are supposed to make these diets work easier are:
- Eat at the same time of day every day, and be sure to eat at the time the diet author suggests.
- Eat as often as the diet requires - three times a day, 5 times a day, etc.
- Be sure to reduce the calories in your diet by cutting back on fat.
- Get more exercise.
- Drink more water.
- Eat more bulky, high fiber foods to fool yourself into thinking you're full.
None of these tactics actually work. You can't fool your body into thinking you've eaten the food it needs, and reducing the fat in your diet will create food cravings, especially for sugar and other refined carbohydrates. This makes it even more difficult to stay on a diet.
People do lose weight temporarily on some 'easy weight loss' diets, but it's all because your body is starving. Starvation causes your body to slow down, it causes food obsessions and cravings, it can cause depression and other psychological and even psychotic illnesses, and as soon as the diet is over you'll regain the weight, plus 5 to 7 pounds.
Starvation is not good for you, whether it's done on purpose because you're on a diet, or if it's done accidentally because of a disaster or war.
Does that mean that all of the diet advice we hear is worthless? Not necessarily. For instance, most obesity experts suggest that you stay away from fast food and junk food. Since these foods are extremely high in calories and very low in nutrients, that's good advice.
You're told to eat your veggies, and that's good advice, too. Vegetables, especially organic veggies grown locally, have the antioxidants and other nutrients that you need to stay healthy.
It is also good advice to find a diet that you can stay with for a lifetime, and not just go on a fad diet for a week or two because you need to lose a few pounds. The reason why this is so important is that the same foods that made you fat also cause other illnesses, some of them life-threatening.
Among the food-caused illnesses are diabetes, heart problems, joint trouble and cancer. Most experts blame excess weight for these problems, but they are actually part of what's now being called the 'metabolic syndrome.' In other words, these illnesses, and obesity, all come from the same cause. Eating the wrong kinds of foods is the main cause of these dangerous illnesses.
Poor food choices can also make us so tired that it's hard to get any exercise, or even feel interested in activities that used to be fun. Changing your diet so that you feel better, both mentally and physically, can give you the energy you need to get outside and go for that walk your doctor keeps talking about.
It can also improve your moods enough so it isn't so difficult to get motivated. Depression is one of the most common illnesses associated with obesity - and who can get motivated to do anything when they're suffering from depression? Recent studies have shown that some foods, especially fatty fish, can help relieve the symptoms of depression even more than some prescribed drugs.
So, if you're looking for a weight loss program, make sure it gives you all the nutrition and energy you need for long-term health.