Monday, July 11, 2016

6 Reasons Diets Fail

When followed, most diets result in weight loss.  Whether it’s Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, Low Fat, Vegan, Cabbage Soup , Very Low Calorie Liquid meal replacements, or even Gastric Bypass, they all work for weight loss.
Free video: make healthy fast food at home.

But, in the end, they all fail too.
Success or failure is not determined by whether or how much weight is lost.  Success is determined by how much lost weight is kept off.  Part of the reason weight regain is considered failure, is that repeated weight loss and regain can actually be detrimental to health.  It may slow your metabolic rate.  And it will certainly put you in a really bad mood, leaving you feeling like a failure.   
In other words, if an individual loses 25% of her body weight and then regains most of it (or all of it and then some), that is considered failure. What is the point in losing weight if it is regained?  How much does someone have to regain for the diet to be considered a failure? Half of it?  All of it?
The Institute of Medicine says weight loss maintenance success is losing 5% or more of body weight and keeping weight below this minimum for at least one year (1).  For perspective, 5% of 200 pounds is 10 pounds.  It doesn’t sound like much, but dropping this amount of weight can lead to clinically significant improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
Lose and keep off 10-20 pounds out of 200, and keep it off.  That is the definition of successful weight loss maintenance.
And, do you know how what percentage of the total population is able to do this?  I mean, this bar is set pretty low at 5% of starting body weight.  Have you ever done this - lost 5-10% and kept it off for more than 1 year?
Researchers interested in weight loss maintenance have found that only 6 out of 100 people are able to keep at least 5% of their starting weight off after 6 years (2) (3).
When you add in counseling and group therapy, the success rate doubles (4).
These numbers sound so bad, and they could leave you feeling hopeless.  If the success rate is 6%, why even try to lose weight?  That is a question clinicians and researchers are now asking.  Is it really appropriate to recommend a treatment that is known to fail 94% of the time in the long run?  Isn’t that more harmful than helpful?  And WHY do diets fail?  Here are my TOP REASONS DIETS FAIL:
  1.  Maintaining weight loss isn’t very exciting.  No one notices it or celebrates you for it. “Wow!  You look amazing!  You haven’t gained a pound!”  You don’t get dressed in the morning and think “Awesome!  Last year's clothes still fit.”  That’s just not something we get excited about.  But, we should.  Dieting can feel very rewarding during the process.  Sure, it’s challenging, but losing weight is inherently positively reinforcing.  You feel better.  Your clothes fit better.  You like the results, and it makes you want to keep working.  Maintaining just doesn’t evoke the same feelings as losing weight. 
  2. Following a strict diet plan isn’t sustainable.  You’ve got serious routines and habits that you've developed over a lifetime.  You might have the sheer strength of will to turn your life upside down to diet Monday morning, but without the proper steps, it won’t last.  You’re not creating real behavior change that addresses your habits, lifestyle and personal situation.  The reason diets that include counseling and/or group therapy have twice the long term success is that they address behavior at the core.  And, they keep doing that for months on end, teaching you new habits, reminding you why you’re creating them, and helping you reinforce them again and again – with accountability. 
  3. Our environment isn’t conducive to maintaining a healthy weight.  Everywhere you go and everywhere you look is ultra processed, unhealthy, nutrient poor food.  If fast food consisted of whole plant foods without added fats, sugars and salt, it would be a lot easier to eat well all of the time.  But instead, we are inundated with ads for highly addicting and horribly unhealthy foods.  And they are so easy to get.  Fast food and ultra processed food is standard fare.  Unless you learn how to cope with is in a solid way, and get support, failure is inevitable.  Here is a video to help you start creating your own fast food at home.
  4. Social pressure is real. Friends give you license to overeat.  Family pushes food.  Research
    suggests that we are really similar to our closest few friends, and if your friends are overweight, you are likely to also be overweight.  Get support.  Find individuals or groups who also value healthy eating, activity and will stand in solidarity with you while helping you feel accountable
  5. Diets make you hungry, and you don’t know how to control appetite and cravings.  You count calories, carbs or points, but still eat foods that trigger cravings and do not satiate.  You aren't aware of which foods are really going to prevent you from feeling hungry all of the time and craving junk food.  Plus, your body goes through compensatory changes in metabolism and hunger after a period of restrictive dieting.  This makes it even harder to keep from overeating and re-gaining weight.
  6.  You don’t have a long term plan that works in your life.  A diet from a book, website, etc. is not very individualized.  It doesn’t take into account your family life, budget, work schedule, and all of your personal preferences.  When you work with a registered dietitian to create a plan that works in your actual life, you are more likely to succeed.  Plus, you need the ongoing follow up so the plan can be adjusted as you learn more about your habits and needs, what works and what doesn’t.
So, remember just because you can lose weight on a given "diet" doesn't mean that it is all you need as a long term strategy.  For long term success, get support along the way, eat whole foods that help satiate hunger, and come up with a plan that includes strategies to address habit change and accountability.  To get you started on ways to create fast food at here, get access to the free video here.
(1)  J. Graham Thomas, Dale S. Bond, Suzanne Phelan, James O. Hill, Rena R. Wing. Weight-Loss Maintenance for 10 Years in the National Weight Control Registry. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2014; 46 (1): 17 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.08.019
(2) Grattan, Bruce J. and Connolly-Schoonen, Josephine.  Addressing Weight Loss Recidivism:  A Clinical Focus on Metabolic Rate and the Psychological Aspects of ObesityISRN Obesity, 2012.
(3) Sarlio-Lahteenkorva, A Rissanen, J Kaprio.    International Journal of Obesity (2000) 24, 116-125.
(4) Ayyad, C., Andersen, T.  Long-term efficacy of dietary treatment of obesity… The International Association for the Study of Obesity.  Obesity Reviews  (2000)1, 113-119.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

3 Facts Your Doctor Didn't Have Time to Tell You About InsulinResistance, Prediabetes & Diabetes

1.     More than 40% of Americans over the age of 20 have Prediabetes or Diabetes, some with no symptoms, according to the 2005 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  Insulin resistance precedes the development of type 2 diabetes and is associated with fatty liver, clogged arteries, heart disease, skin tags and female reproductive abnormalities (PCOS).  And many more of us are at high risk of developing these conditions if we don’t get real about making good food choices.  Are you at risk?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases insulin resistance is “a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.”

CDC Obesity and Diabetes Maps over Time
Diabetes doesn't develop over night.  Most people develop diabetes slowly over many years.  In fact, you could be developing type 2 diabetes right now and not even know it.  
The path to diabetes starts with the body’s cells becoming resistant to the effects of insulin, the hormone that tells the cells to take in and burn or store glucose.  When the body’s cells ignore insulin’s message, the pancreas makes the message louder by producing more and more insulin in order to have the intended effect of getting sugar out of the blood and into the cells where it can actually be used.  

Eventually, the pancreas poops out and can no longer continue to over-produce insulin.  That’s when high blood sugar shows up on lab tests.  By the time your body gets to this point, it’s been dealing with insulin resistance for a long time, possibly decades.  And, while you can still turn things around, it would have been easier to do so before your pancreas got overtaxed and started dying.

The good news is that you may be able to identify and completely prevent insulin resistance from becoming prediabetes or type 2 diabetes!  Many people are able to normalize insulin and blood sugar by making specific changes in the way they eat, move and manage stress.

Figuring out what to eat, what not to eat, when and how to exercise, etc. can be so overwhelming that people put it off or start and stop repeatedly, trying every new diet that comes along. 
I want to help you stop feeling overwhelmed and start taking control of your health.  Stop chasing the newest fad diet and go for an eating plan that is guaranteed to improve your health.   

To get you started, I have simplified things with “Food Guidelines & Meal Plan” - a free 1 page download that tells you exactly what to eat and what not to eat to reach normal insulin and glucose levels.  And, it’s not your typical low carb, high protein diet.  It is a very nutrient-rich eating plan that will support your body’s ability to heal and function at it’s best.

2.     Causes of insulin resistance-related diseases include obesity or excess body fat, stress, genetics, inactivity, dietary saturated fat and certain medications such as steroids.  Or a combination of any of these.

Insulin resistance is diagnosed when your fasting blood sugar is slightly higher than normal, but not quite high enough to be diagnosed diabetic.  However, if the doctor says you have insulin resistance or prediabetes, you are headed straight for diabetes unless you make real changes in what you eat, how much you move, and how much body fat you have.  These three conditions are degrees of the same condition.  It starts with insulin resistance, and as it worsens, it becomes prediabetes, then type 2 diabetes.  Many people have no idea anything is wrong until a blood test shows blood sugar in the diabetic range.

Another way that insulin resistance can be detected is by doing a glucose tolerance test, which means drinking sugar water and having your blood sugar measured afterward.  If your body is able to maintain normal blood sugar, then you are insulin sensitive and all seems well.  If your blood sugar spikes up and doesn’t come right back down, you are insulin resistant, prediabetic, or diabetic – depending on how high the numbers are and how long it takes your blood sugar to return to normal.  Again, if the diagnosis is insulin resistance or prediabetes, you are headed straight for type 2 diabetes unless you change your body.  And, you CAN change your body! 

Once you understand that there are 3 controllable risk factors that are causing or worsening your insulin resistance and high blood sugar, you can address them.  They are:  dietary saturated fat, excess body fat and inactivity.  And, it’s not as difficult as you may think to improve your insulin sensitivity and adjust your food choices.  I've created a free 1 page guide and meal plan to get you started.

3.     You DO have some control over your health destiny.  You do not have to resign yourself to a life of medications, frequent doctor visits, low energy from imbalanced blood sugar, and terrible complications of long term high insulin and blood sugar - like kidney failure, blindness, amputation and heart disease.  

If you are the kind of person who does not want to be a victim, who wants to feel a sense of control over your life and you don’t want to be dependent upon our somewhat broken healthcare system, I encourage you to take the reigns and be in charge of your health. 
It may seem overwhelming to change the food you eat, move more and lose body fat.  But, I assure you, doing these things now, with proper guidance, is a whole lot easier and cost effective than dealing with the medical interventions needed to deal with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes and its complications.
My goal is to help you gain freedom from excessive medication and medical intervention.  I want you to live your life on your terms, and I know how to help you create the eating plan that will have the biggest impact on not only insulin resistance, but also overall health. 

Stay tuned for the next couple of blog posts.  I’m going to explain more about how to eat for best results and share some of the nutrition science behind the recommendations.  I’m going to tell you the truth about the ideal diet, I’m not just going to tell you to count carbs, eat less and exercise more.  I’m going to give you the real story on how you can stop overworking your pancreas and support your body in healing.

Until then, download the cheat sheet to help you get started.  It lists all of the guidelines plus gives you a sample meal plan.  Go ahead and get your free copy now, and stick with me so you can learn to incorporate your food preferences into a customized meal plan to get your overall health, blood sugar and insulin resistance under control.