It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that there is a new diet of the year out there, it seems. Let’s do a little review, shall we? Here are some of the top diets I’ve seen in my lifetime ~ fat free {Snackwells cookies, anyone?}, South Beach, Keto and now the big trend is IF {intermittent fasting}. As with ALL of the diet trends, I have an opinion. If you or someone you love is considering IF, please read this.

As a holistic health coach, this latest trend concerns me, as do all of the above I mentioned. Why? Because their focus is only on food ~ what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat. There is NO focus on the other factors that impact weight loss ~ food intolerances, {eating foods you are intolerant to cause you to hold onto weight vs lose it. Why? Your body’s job is to protect you and intolerant foods are like an invader to your system, so your body fights back}. Sleep impacts weight {why? because lack of sleep also increases the hormone ghrelin, which is known as the hunger hormone.}, Stress {why? because stress increases cortisol. Increased cortisol production is associated with weight gain {especially in the belly}. Finally, blood sugar balance. They are also not talking about other factors impacting weight like hormones, toxins/endocrine disruptors, and if you’re an emotional eater, that’s not even being addressed. The fact is if you are looking for something in food, no diet plan or program will touch what’s really going on until you deal with the root of the problem.

As you can see, there are a myriad of factors that impact weight loss, yet we seem to keep focusing on fitness and food, right? Is that maybe why we aren’t seeing the results we desire, no matter how many programs we are sold? Until we understand how we have been conditioned to relate to food and our relationship with food, nothing will change. It’s like a weed. If we pull it and don’t get the root out, it will grow back. However, if we are able to pull it out with the root, it won’t grow back. It’s the same with our habits. I went to school to become a health coach because I saw so many programs only focusing on behavior modification, not habit change, not understanding the why behind the why.

Personally, my issues with food {undereating, and bingeing} had nothing to do with food, but everything to do with what was happening internally. Food was my coping mechanism for handling what was going on {or at least attempt to}. This is relevant and rampant, friends. We start young with our kids ~ if we want them to do something, what do we do? Offer them a treat. They got good grades? Wonderful, let’s give you a free cookie. We are trained that food is a reward/a go to/ instead of nourishment.

Now, back to why I personally {as a certified health coach} don’t believe intermittent fasting is the way to go for weight loss:

  1. Is it sustainable? Are you willing to live the rest of your life only eating in a certain window of time? If that’s what you desire, more power to you, but to me that’s not freedom. That’s being controlled by a clock. No thank you. Think long term ~ think down the road to parties and events. Will this fit into your lifestyle and give you what you desire?
  2. IF can exacerbate existing issues that you may not be aware of, including adrenal fatigue, and SIBO and make your health worse, not better, as some claim it can.
  3. Are you honoring your hunger? A big thing I work with clients on is how to listen to their body and honor their hunger/fullness, something we have not been taught and that this method does not teach, it teaches eating in a certain window to reach your goals.
  4. Studies are showing that IF can have a negative impact on sleep, which I mentioned above is a key factor in weight loss. It is also showing it can cause stress and increase cortisol, also mentioned above.
  5. According to dietican Alicia Rumsey, “intermittent fasting can lead to decreased alertness because the body doesn’t consume enough calories during a fasting window to provide adequate energy.” “Fasting could also lead to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or dizziness,” said Rachael Hartley, a registered dietitian and nutritionist in South Carolina.
  6. If you lose your period or experience hair loss, it could be related to fasting. This is your body’s way of communicating to you that something isn’t right. However, we have not been trained/taught/conditioned to listen to our bodies, but to listen to and follow the latest trend. Sadly, those trends don’t show you what works for your unique body type.

The best thing I ever did was learn to listen to my body, to understand what foods worked for me, vs against me, to learn how to honor my hunger and fullness and change my relationship with food. My concern is that IF is very dramatic and can have lasting long term health implications, once we see beyond the weight loss carrot that society seems to chase whenever it is dangled in front of us.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can learn what foods work for you, you can eat amazingly delicious foods that nourish you and not feel deprived….all while losing weight AND feeling great. It’s not an “either/or,” it’s a “both/and.” We just have to change how we look at it and our approach to it. I’m living proof…..6 years ago, I lost 30 pounds by changing my relationship with food, my habits around food and learning what foods worked for me. You can have this too! I went to school to help other women learn to cut through all the diet confusion out there and learn what works for them. If you’re tired of being overwhelmed, confused and frustrated, let’s chat. I’d love to share how I found freedom and help you find yours, too. It IS possible!

With major love and belief,
Melissa

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