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Why is it so difficult to maintain a healthy weight?

Welcome to THE SMART BELLY Blog

Enjoy eating healthy by trusting your gut feeling

Here it is January, and like every year, the good resolutions for the New Year grow like mushrooms, and like every year, they almost never work or work for a month or two.

How come? Why is it so hard not to overeat on food or drink? Is it just a matter of personal choice? How long can I sustain a restrictive "monastic" approach to food and drink?

I am often asked in my practice what my approach to dieting is, so I decided to share some of my core views on weight loss, intuitive eating, and restrictive regimes.

Why do New Year's resolutions or restrictive regimes hardly ever work?

They come from guilt. After spending more than a month indulging in highly energetic and tasty foods, we basically feel the need to punish ourselves by doing an intense cleansing or the so-called "detox" - that by the way scientifically speaking doesn't mean anything. Indeed, the more restrictive the regime is, the happier we are, because it makes us feel that we are doing the right thing: we are in control of our impulses.

After 2 or 3 weeks the guilt disappears and we are bored of our monastic routine, and those tasty options magically reappear on our plate.

Why is it so hard not to overeat on food or drink?

This question has several answers, and of course, each one is special and unique.

Here are just a few that occur more frequently in my practice. "I'm too tired to keep up with the diet" "I don't have time to eat during the day or go to the supermarket" "Healthy foods are boring" "My metabolism is slowing down" I chose these answers because they share the same underlying perception:

"I lost control of my own body". When you feel that you are no longer in control of your needs, it is easier to give up.

Is it just a matter of personal choice?

My instinctive answer is obviously a no, but I will try to clarify this important topic. Eating is more than just-food. When I am approached by a new client to lose weight, I ask to fill in a food diary. The reason I do this is that most of the time we don't realize what we eat and how we choose food. If I see a customer who eats chocolate at 5 pm every day, the questions I ask most often are: What did you have for lunch? do you have a stressful job? are you usually bored at that time of day? The underlying question brings attention back to the body: Am I really hungry or angry?

How long can I sustain a restrictive "monastic" approach to food and drink?

When the guilt fades and you get bored of your repetitive regimen, the urge for a restrictive approach subsides and you feel the need to indulge in satisfying foods. Obviously, this depends from person to person, but the point is that this type of approach on someone who already has difficulty adjusting to portions can create a greater imbalance that can lead to binges.


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