Summer body diet? Or long term sustainable diet?

It gets to about the same time every year when people feel like they need to 'diet' to get in shape for summer/holiday. Yet these are the same 'diets' that are being promoted year on year... juicing/carb cutting/whole 30/calorie counting/5:2... etc. There is a reason they're heavily marketed and you have to do them every year for your 'summer bod' and do you know why? Because they're not sustainable.

Yes, you might lose weight and feel great for a few weeks/months, however, majority of people who lose all this weight in such a short space of time when dieting for their summer bodies put the weight straight back on. There is, in fact, a statistic that found 95% of people will, in fact, regain all the weight they lost in a year.

So why is that?

There is a lot of science behind dieting and how it can play havoc with your metabolism and your overall health, let alone your sanity. With so many rules and regulations around food, it can become exhausting.

Firstly - when you attempt to lose weight, your body reacts with a stress response and produces high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) which causes your body to slow down the rate at which you burn calories. Basically.. your own body is working against you! But there's a reason why it has perceived the change in calories/calorific input as a threat to natural survival and therefore wants to store fat to help protect you.

Secondly - Creating rules around food leads to a negative relationship with food. You'll start to restrict things or create feelings of guilt/shame around foods you perceive as being bad for you. This can lead to restriction and binge patterns of behaviour which aren't healthy for the body or the mind. It is important to develop an understanding towards your behaviours patterns around food to, therefore, help challenge your rooted beliefs and how to make informed food choices.

Lastly - Eating is part of your life. It's something you do often and need to do in order to survive. Therefore if you're eating something you don't enjoy often.. chances are it isn't something you're going to carry on with!

You might not feel like you're following a particular 'diet' or you've said you're 'just trying to be 'healthy'.. well, here's a checklist to consider if it's a 'diet' and therefore something that is not sustainable:

-Are there certain foods you have to avoid?

-Are there rules that can be broken?

-Are there 'cheat days'?

-Are you being told when/how often you need to eat?

-Do you have to weigh food?

-Are foods labelled 'good' and 'bad'?

If the answer to these are yes.. my point is this isn't as sustainable as you think.

So what does work?

There is no 'one size fits all' approach to nutrition, eating intuitively and mindfully is the most sustainable method. Dissecting and reconstructing your believes towards food can help you work towards the root cause of your eating patterns, rather than adopting a diet that solely works on the surface. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, SW10 9UU
Written by Rebecca Jennings, MSc ANutr
London, SW10 9UU

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