5 Thoughts About Crash Diets this New Year
It is that time of the year. Tackling your health and your weight loss goals aggressively is very tempting. However, if you're thinking about pursuing a crash diet to lose weight quickly, you could be planting the seeds of future frustration or, even worse, future health problems.
In this blog and video, I outline five thoughts about crash diets and explain why they aren't a good idea.
1. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, let's go together.
Let's be clear: if you want to lose body fat and work on your body composition, there's no better time to start than now. But if you are going to try to rush it and do it fast, from a health standpoint, you're shooting yourself in the foot.
When someone asks me "how fast can I lose my weight?" or "how much weight can I lose a week?" and they are focused on the speed of weight loss, I stop them abruptly and share with them a proverb that I found a long time ago. It is of unclear origin but it's still very powerful.
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, let's go together."
Why I don't usually work on fast weight loss strategies? Very simple. Because people that want to lose weight fast don't need anyone. Just stop eating as much and drink water. In a few weeks, you're down to your goals.
2. The past is the greatest school to learn from, not a club to belong to.
You might be frustrated and think that losing weight fast is the only way to start because you have failed in the past because you had a bad experience or regained your weight. Your attempts to lose weight turn into another round of a roller coaster. And now you want to do it for once and all.
The reality can be deeply frustrating. I want you to know something. Those experiences belong to the past and the past is the greatest school to learn from. Not a club to belong to.
Don't dwell on your past experiences. Identify the pain that they're causing you today. Identify those hurdles that you have to face today that are related to your past. But it's exactly for that, to learn about the hurdles.
The idea is to focus on how to overcome the same hurdle but in a different way. Prevent the same pitfalls we had in the past.
3. Focus on sustainable solutions.
Don't try to compensate by doing things you don't normally do in your day-to-day, just because we are in the post-holiday madness. Focus on sustainable solutions.
Losing weight drastically is quite unhealthy. It might get the attention of people in the short term, at the office, at the gym, from family members, whatever it is.
However, by doing that, we're leaving behind the most important person in the story, which is ourselves.
You could end up with a lack of energy, mood changes, bone health issues, muscle mass issues, malnourishment, low immunity, hormonal changes that promote weight gain, and even cardiac issues.
There are numerous institutions that have already told us how to lose weight in a healthy manner. The information is out there. However, we might be suffering from what is called semantic association. We are bombarded with the same message over and over to a point that we are numb to the message.
4. It takes a village.
The reality is that it takes a village to lose weight healthily. Fortunately, society has changed and there has been a shift towards more acceptance and open dialogue.
Medicine is changing towards a more multidisciplinary model, and at the same time, other complementary disciplines are shifting towards a more scientific and evidence-based model. The result is a great opportunity for us to use.
That opportunity will bring us more energy, a sense of self-worth, self-realization, and increased muscle mass, which equals longevity, less diabetes, stronger bones, strength and resilience, better hormonal health, less risk of falling, more stamina, a stronger immune system, less risk or even signs of reversal of chronic diseases, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, and an opportunity to lower your medical drug burden.
5. Healthy habits can influence the rest of your life, too.
That's something that some people are really stressed out about. Transformation. That's the end result of this: a deep transformation where you will acquire self-knowledge. You will see who you are and what you are capable of.
You will develop new habits and disciplines in the field of exercise, sleep hygiene, diet. These new habits and disciplines might pair into other areas of your life. You will have more chances to be present and to provide value to those that you care about the most — your children, your siblings, your parents, grandparents, friends, communities, you name it.
All we want you to remember is that you have a whole department of health coaches working with your doctors to offer you the whole package — medical care with lifestyle medicine. It is yours to use.
And so it's not my words, there is scientific evidence about this. In a recent study, 1,432 people went through a program of weight loss and they observed the commonalities among those who lost weight.
The commonalities are not the diet. It's not the exercise regimen. It's not a supplement that they took.
It is three elements: expert coaching sessions, attendance to a weekly webinar, and working with a food log in collaboration with the coach. That's it.
Those elements are present in your membership and I hope that this message offers you some value and inspires you to make some healthy and respectful actions with yourself.
Get health coaching from PartnerMD this New Year.
PartnerMD memberships include access to our members-only wellness program, Wellness University, which delivers more than 70 physician-approved courses and certified health coaching targeting the 4 areas most critical to your health, including stress and sleep, brain health, nutrition, and strength and mobility.
With offices in Richmond, VA; Midlothian, VA; Short Pump, VA; McLean, VA; Baltimore, MD; Greenville, SC; and Atlanta, GA, you can experience primary care built around you, one focused on wellness and prevention to help you stay as healthy as possible, as long as possible. Learn more about health coaching at PartnerMD.