Hundreds of diets are designed for quick short term weight loss usually involving special meal replacement packs, calorie counting or even abstinence from food in some way. The good news is that this works short term because the science of weight loss is simple: less food and more activity equals weight loss - or the more calories you burn and the less you eat the slimmer you become.
Diets are very successful at dealing with one part of the equation when followed but are flawed in dealing with the second part. There is no balance. Deprivation is painful and not sustainable long term simply because we don't like it, and we tend not to do what we don't like as we are drawn to pleasure and away from pain. There is no question that they cause weight loss though- but so do bulimia and anorexia, however that doesn't mean that they are the healthiest strategies for weight loss.
Controversially, fast track low calorie fad diets have recently been linked with a number of health problems including heart failure, memory loss, blurred vision and gallstones. Dr Dee Dawson of the Rhodes Farm Eating Disorder Treatment Centre explains ' If you cut down on your calories, yes, you will lose fat, but continue on such a low -calorie diet and your body starts to eat it's own muscle in order to gather enough nutrition to function properly - including the heart! This could also account for general muscle aches and tiredness. If the heart muscle is affected, it may not be pumping enough blood to the brain, resulting in blurred vision and memory loss.' The side effect of blurred vision can also be due to losing fat behind the eyes that support the muscles. Gallstones post diet can be as a result of the stomach being unable to cope with proper food after such long periods of deprivation. While medically monitored, nutritionally complete very low calorie diets have been safely used by the NHS for decades, it is important to avoid fast track fad diets to ensure you remain healthy.
Psychologically, there is another major flaw in short term diets: desperation! We want to lose weight as fast as we can by whatever means it takes. We try too hard and this leads to failure. Now you might think that this is strong motivation towards the desired result and you are right it is! The problem is that it is unrealistic and negative. If you ask yourself how long it took you to gain the excess weight you now want to get rid of, you will get a realistic time frame as to how to naturally get rid of it slowly but surely.
Desperation is a negative state of mind which inevitably leads to measuring results using the scales and being disappointed that it isn't happening fast enough which makes you feel bad and even more desperate which then leads to comfort eating! This is the downward spiral of yo-yo dieting and failure.
Furthermore, dieting alone doesn't deal with the other psychological issues that at some level may be making you feel bored, miserable, anxious , depressed or a whole host of other negative emotions. Comfort eating invariably masks some underlying negative emotional problem. This is then compounded by feeling miserable even more because you cannot enjoy those little pleasures in life because you are on a diet! This is a recipe for disaster if it is not addressed.
A word of warning, before you rush out in haste to deal with your emotional problems by seeking out your local counsellor or therapist - be sure to choose the right one! Firstly check that they are a properly qualified therapist. Secondly choose one who walks the talk - i.e. they are not overweight themselves. Finally ask them about their style of therapy. I have dealt with hundreds of clients over the years, people who have been to one therapy or another to no avail. If your therapist wants to keep talking, week in and week out about the same problem, this may be doing more harm than good. The reason being is that you are strengthening the neurological pathways of the problem through repetition of the event and emotion. If something bad has happened once then that is enough, without you having to relive it over and over again. If you pick the wrong therapist, you could end up analysing your dreams, talking to empty furniture, free associating and all sorts of weird and wacky things. A good therapist will be taking a pro active approach to helping you overcome any emotional problems without having to go over and over the same ground again and again. A good therapist will help you to move on and develop more useful habits that will support and sustain a healthy balanced lifestyle long term.
Hypnotherapy is both good therapy as discussed PLUS using the programming visualisation function of the mind to help you achieve your new habitual health and wellbeing goals.