Is it time to let go of dieting? by Dr Liz Isenring

Have you overindulged after Christmas and the holidays? Still struggling from the pandemic pandemonium which has led many to emotionally eat and drink their way through 2020?

The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on your lifestyle and start including positive changes. You may think going on an extreme detox, fast or living on protein shakes and spending hours in the gym is the way to go but for most people this is not sustainable.

After a few weeks on these extreme diets it’s back to your usual way of life, or even worse, it can result in a period of yo-yo dieting. These extremes in your lifestyle are not good for your mental or physical health. Have you been trying to lose the same 10 kg for years? Then it’ s time to think about why you are in this situation in the first place and get to the root of the problem.

Common reasons hurting your wellbeing goals:

*emotional eating

*too much alcohol

*food sensitivities and intolerance

*Nutrition confusion (not sure what’s healthy anymore as the nutrition
messages seem to keep changing)

*Chronic inflammation

*Hormone issues

That’s why working with a caring and experienced professional can help. The challenge I see with many of my clients is that they are time poor professionals, creatives and business owners who want to improve their wellbeing but have limited time, motivation and a hectic lifestyle.

Helen came to see me as she was keen to get fit, lose weight and have the energy to play with the grandkids. She mentioned that she had tried many diets in the past including the grapefruit, Pritikin, blood type, weight watchers and meal replacement diets. The longest Helen could survive on these restrictive diets was about 4-6 weeks and then she would feel tired and irritable and start eating large amounts of the forbidden foods. Helen would then regain the lost weight and often a couple of kilograms extra.

Have you ever noticed that when you try and focus on not doing something you eventually give in? Just like the old trick, “Don’t think of a pink elephant”. You imaged the elephant, right?

With Helen the key was to assess where she currently was in terms of health. She already had a good base and pretty good nutrition knowledge. Helen did a 20 minute walk every day and didn’t eat many processed foods. She did have the habit of eating lots of dried fruit, nuts and cheese while watching T.V. with her husband and with a glass of wine before dinner. Her goal was to have more energy to play with the grandkids and reduce her aches and pains.

The path to help her reach her goal was focusing on easy and enjoyable strategies that she could consistently include in her lifestyle. Helen replaced one of her T.V. watching sessions with a walk on the beach, included air popped popcorn or sliced apple as her T.V. snack and had smaller serves of dried fruit, nuts and cheese a few nights a week after dinner where she enjoyed these rather than mindlessly eating them during Netflix. Helen also included easy deep breathing exercises, meditation and positive affirmations which helped reduce stress, improve her mood and motivation. She naturally decreased her T.V. consumption and increased her time walking, going to the beach and even included deep water walking in her pool. Helen put a greater focus on healthy meals and snacks and her husband also improved his diet without trying.

Easy Daily Tips to Get your Wellbeing Back on Track:

*Write down WHY you want to improve your health and wellbeing

*Spend 10 minutes in nature

*Add an extra serve of berries (e.g. in cereal, yogurt, smoothies)

*Include an extra serve of leafy greens like baby spinach (e.g. in
smoothies, salads, stir fries)

*Cut out milk and sugar from your teas and coffee

*Include 1/3 c of legumes like 4 bean mix, chickpeas, lentils to your lunch

*Drink a large glass of water 20 minutes before meals

*Go to bed 30 mins earlier and switch off devices at least 1 hour before bed

*Smile – it improves your mood and wellbeing!

Helen mentions, “The key for me was to have heathy snacks on hand so I never got too hungry. I actually had a pretty good knowledge of what I should be doing but would beat myself up if I broke a diet. I now realise so much is about having a plan, preparation and how you feel. Once you feel and look better you want to keep feeling that way.”

As Helen had such a long history of dieting, I actually put very little focus on diet and weight loss. Instead we focused on her compelling reason for improving her health, provided a customised meal plan that included her favourite foods and was a good basic healthy eating style and had a range of strategies she could use when she had cravings or experienced challenges. We focused more on what Helen imagined her ideal life to look like and improving her mood and confidence so she naturally became more active. Yes, Helen lost weight (2 dress sizes) but more importantly was her improvement in her confidence, sense of control over her life and improved mood and energy levels.

“I feel I have a new lease on life. Before I made these changes I could have imagined the next 20 years going the same way. Now I have more energy and a better relationship with my husband and grandkids.”

Do you want to know what is the best nutrition and movement for you? I have the qualifications and experience but more importantly I have a caring, holistic approach and have overcome my own health challenges so I know the importance of getting to the root cause of any problems rather than just managing the symptoms. Let’s work together so that 2021 is a year that you love!

Dr Liz is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, Nutritional Biochemist and Wellness Consultant.

Director of Linc Nutrition, Honorary Adjunct Professor, Bond University

Her online and one-on-one programs are eligible for Private Health Insurance cover.

Phone: 0434635090

Liz Isenring

Dr Liz is passionate about improving lives via evidence-based nutrition and wellness consulting. She's a Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, author and speaker.

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