The Diet Roller Coaster

Carbohydrates, fat, and sugar are staples of the American diet. Individuals eat foods such as; pizza, pasta, fries, bread, cookies, cake, and drink soda pop. Eating these foods leads people down a dangerous unhealthy path.  When you consume too many “bad” carbohydrates you don’t burn the calories and it’s stored as fat in your body, and the more weight you gain the higher you insulin level is. This can become a potential health crisis.    Poor food choices increase our risk of diseases.   Research shows more than 68.8% of adults are overweight or obese in the United States.  Every year billions of dollars are spent on the newest and fastest weight loss programs, pills, and supplements to get rid of the pesky pounds accumulated from what we eat, we then convince ourselves we must “go on a diet.”    People are told they can lose weight in less than 30 days by dieting or taking the latest miracle substance.  And so, it happens, individuals hop on the “Diet Roller coaster” to nowhere.  The moment you are seated and buckled in, you are excited to lose weight, you bounce up and down, side to side, lose a little, gain a little, up and down, up and down, all to end right back where it started. This thrill ride is dangerous and has many consequences both immediate and long term.

The roller coaster starts slow, hits the top (peak), some pounds have melted but not enough to notice, then a sharp downhill spiral takes you for a loop, you gain the weight back. You have no idea why.  You are eating less, counting those calories, counting points, but, but, but…Your body screams for more carbs and sugar, you can’t take anymore, and the ride is now over.    A rollercoaster is a great analogy for what happens when you diet.  The typical rollercoaster is a machine, just like the body.  Energy is supplied and stored for the first lift (that big hill with the chain dragging the car to the top), as you descend it’s all momentum and potential energy that propels the car along the track.   Our bodies are a simple machine too we need energy to get up that big hill, and we could let our momentum carry us, but unlike the closed circuit of a rollercoaster we need to maintain a constant supply of energy to our cells throughout the body.    The health, fitness, diet, and medical industries differ in what are the best ways to lose weight, some say counting calories (points), eating less, drinking some magic which’s brew, a pill, juicing, and other “diet fads.”   All these examples can help you lose weight, but no one talks about what to do after weight loss.   How to keep it off?  It’s hard to maintain the new weight because your body is so accustomed to a certain set point that the body fights to stay in the comfort zone. Frustration moves in, and the pain “dieting” is too much, the coaster comes to a sudden stop, you are back to square one.  You jump unbuckle the harness and jump out of the seat and go back to your comfort foods. Dieting is never ending.  So why diet?  Why put yourself through all the pain and suffering.  Diet is a foul word and a negative.  It means you are depriving yourself of living.

You want off the diet roller coaster?   Don’t diet, but change your lifestyle.   Do an inventory of how what you eat.  What is the relationship you have with food?  Do you eat (foods high in fat, carbs, or sugar), how do you eat (out of the bag, on the run, or what’s easy), and why you eat (to fill a void, or for comfort)?  People say, “I don’t want to deprive myself from what I enjoy eating and I don’t have time for exercise.” Excuses!! All excuses.    A healthy lifestyle does not deprive you of enjoyment. It puts more enjoyment in your life.  The deprivation of enjoyment is an array of health issues from poor food choices.  Foods high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates cause obesity, in turn causes many physical and mental health issues for example, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, depression, and anxiety.  Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice. You choose to stay out of the doctor’s office and hospital.  You can enjoy many foods without all the fats, carbs, and sugar, and I bet you feel better.   Ever wonder why you are constantly hungry?  You are hungry because you are on the “Diet Roller Coaster” to nowhere.

A healthy lifestyle isn’t perfection, you don’t have to have a beach body, or prove anything to anyone.  What is a beach body, anyways?   Never be ashamed of how you look, accept who you are.   You are perfect just as you are.  The healthy lifestyle is never about weight loss, it’s about the way you feel, how you feel, inside and out.  When you make better food choices, eating less fats, sugars, and carbohydrates, and getting a dose of exercise you feel less stressed, the fog in your head lifts, and you think clearer.

Start slow and make small changes, pay attention to what you eat and other bad habits you may want to think about changing.  Eat what you like, start measuring and tracking your foods.  There are great apps that can help, one I like to use is “Lose it.”  It has a free version, it tracks your daily calories, carb, fat, and protein intake.  When you track your food and exercise daily it motivates you to stay on track.  One of the biggest pieces to a healthy lifestyle is a strong support system.  A support system is so important.  Family and friends must also be on the same lifestyle track, if you are not connecting with others who are on the same journey you will go back to your old habits.    Support is key.  If others are not living the same lifestyle and not supporting your choice to be healthy it’s hard to stay motivated and on track. “Your body is your temple.  Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.”  B. K. S. Isengar.

Living a healthy lifestyle can be unpopular and overwhelming at first.  Isn’t it time to take the unpopular road and make good choices for you?  Consistency in your food choices (eating over 60 grams of protein and less than 75 grams of carbohydrates) you will not only lose weight but will feel better, and the roller coaster history. When you look, and feel good people will begin to follow your path. You will be healthier and happier. Go ahead, try it. Unpopular is the new success.  There are no short cuts to a healthy lifestyle, but it’s so rewarding.   The road is long and winding, but it will get you to where you are going faster than the fads, pills, and other products that don’t work, but most important “The Diet Roller Coaster will come to a screeching halt!”