Why diets never work
Our society is bombarded with the latest designer diet every day. There are so many ways to approach the topic of healthy eating: multi-vitamins, probiotics, fibre, etc. However, are all these supplements and foods appropriate for your body? What does your body really need?
You can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with western society’s hottest obsession: weight loss. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you into trying the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally) be the solution – your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop a distorted body image and are often on diets as early as nine or 10 years of age.
Our culture touts diet pills; celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. World populace has reached its highest weight in history. For example, about half the population of America is overweight; one-third is obese. Diets steer us away from our own common sense and dip deeply into our pocketbooks while eliciting few, if any, lasting results.
Why? I’ll give you a couple of answers on this question from the different perspectives of western and eastern nutritional science:
1. From the western scientific point of view, most diets don’t work because
- They rely on small-scale studies or studies that have been incorrectly conducted and published in scientific journals with a low impact factor
- The conclusions are too far reaching (not every cholesterol-lowering substance automatically protects against heart attacks)
- They publish only studies that confirm their point of view and ignore studies that negate their objectives
- They concentrate on a biochemical mechanism and ignore the entire biochemical picture
- They focus mainly on weight loss and do not take into account the long-term effects, such as a shortening of life span expectancy. A diet or diet from the point of view of bio-gerontology (the science of aging), really keeps this in mind
2. From the perspective of ‘Food as Medicine, which emphasizes the importance of balancing the body, mind and spirit
- Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle; how could one diet be right for everyone?
- Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet
- Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body
- Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions, when often they are the primary reason for weight imbalances.
We are always ‘trying’ to start our diet on Monday. We prepare ourselves mentally all week (or a couple of weeks before). Monday morning we wake up with one thought: “Oh… I am so fat; today I will start this very difficult diet. I really need to lose weight. I want to look sexy”. Or, I want to be ‘healthy’. Or, “I want to fit into this beautiful bikini this summer”. Or, “the doctor says, that I need to eat less meat”. We push ourselves very hard. We are fighting with ‘healthy’ food, thoughts, emotions and people around us. We can’t go out with friends; we miss our chocolate, our coffee, and our relaxing moments with ‘pleasure food’. We become very nervous and irritated; then the craving comes. We start to think: “What’s wrong if I just eat just one small piece of chocolate, just one”! Yes, just one. Then it becomes 2, then 3 piece’s. We give up. We feel guilty. Then we eat even more ‘bad food’ than before we started the diet. It’s the normal reaction of ‘emotional eating’. Naturally, we start to gain more weight.
All of us know this situation: This is the typical western diet cycle. Many of us, who have tried one or more western diets, have had this kind of experience.
In all western diets we just miss one important thing – Balance. Unfortunately, balance is often the first casualty in the single-minded pursuit of another goal, usually weight loss. Who has tried the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the carb-free diet, or another such diet that includes restriction from entire food groups? Yes, you will probably loose weight (at least temporarily) if you eat nothing but grapefruit. But will you be healthier? Extend your life span? Increase your sense of wellbeing? Or in the end, will you simply shudder at the thought of ever facing another darned citrus fruit?
In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting.
Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom?
There is no such thing as a quick fix.
With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.
According to eastern philosophy, the most important
characteristic of nutrition is to bring balance to our body,
mind and spirit.
I always suggest my clients start with this kind of ‘diet cycle’. This is the first small step to understand our ‘bad’ eating habits. It really helps to change these habits and become a ‘mindful’ eater. This is also the first step in balancing your food, body, emotions and health.
3. From the holistic perspective of health and wellbeing
Below you will find some common questions I am asked in my practice daily:
What do you think about very ‘healthy diets’ such as the
Paleo Diet, Raw Food Diet, Vegan Diet,
Low Carb Diet?
My answer is very easy. There is NO HEALTHY DIET!!!! Any diet has both positive and negative traits.
The biggest problem in our current day and age is SEPARATION. When we talk about food we constantly tend to divide our food into ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ groups, according to western nutritional science. Most of the world’s population still thinks about food in terms of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, supplements, trace elements, healthy juicing, detoxing, and so on.
In our modern time, we now have the tendency to overdo ‘healthy food’. We become attached to some ‘healthy stuff’ without understanding how it really affects our SUBTLE BODY and of course, our health. Just look at some modern “new age” assumptions:
- I eat a lot of salads and they contain a lot of vitamins. All cooked food is ‘dead’.
Very interesting, but salad has the least amount of vitamins and minerals and other nutritional value. However, it is very difficult to digest. It constantly weakens our digestion and digestive fire. It weakens all of our energy systems. We become tired, we feel cold and have cold feet and hands, it cools our ‘fire of life’ and so on. You will learn more about this in the next book.
It has no taste. We take a lot of dressing and a lot of seeds and nuts to make it tasty and easy digestible. But the dressing contains a lot of oil and vinegar. Plus, nuts also contain a lot of oil. This is very bad for our liver. Why do you think you need a lot of detoxing for the liver? Because you have poisoned it with your overindulgence of tahini, oil, seeds and nuts.
Salads contain a lot of water. This promotes the holding of water in our system. What do you think is the cause of cellulitis?
- I eat a lot of fruit and juices. Perfect. In the section ‘Sugar’ we will talk about this topic.
- I am a ‘vegan’; therefore, I am healthy. Yes, you can be a perfectly healthy vegan as long as you know how to perfectly combine your meals. Of course, you must know everything about the energetic qualities of food. If you eat very strictly macrobiotic, it means you must have spent a lot of time studying ‘vegan food’ and you cook at home a lot. The same is valid for vegetarians.
- Vegetarians, be careful with diary and eggs! I saw a vegetarian who was drinking a lot of milk, eating cheese, as well as yoghurt and eggs. You will learn about these products in book 1. Don’t forget about excessive amounts of dressings, fruits, fruit juices, nuts, seeds, ‘healthy’ desserts and so on. When we don’t have enough proteins and fats, we just have a ‘sweet tooth’. You will learn about it further.
- I use a lot of very healthy super food. Did you know that if you use ‘super foods’ inappropriately, they could harm your health? For example, using green-blue algae for thin, tired and depressed people is very dangerous. The intention behind the intake of this kind of super food is to tonify energy. However, this type of person can easily become even more tired, depressed and mentally tight. This is because blue-green algae are not suitable for their body type. It makes them feel even worse. For this type of person, it’s better to take spirulina.
Also, the manner in which we take the super food is often very, very bad. We will talk about this later.
- We become attached to the modern idea as ‘Ahimsa’ (from Sanskrit अहिंसा ahimsā, which means “not injuring anything, do not harm anyone)”. We feel at one with all worlds. We are all one soul; we love our brothers and sisters – all living creatures. There is just one big problem: we are very often himsic (from Sanskrit, which means ‘harmful’) towards ourselves. We need animal products for some health condition; actually, I mean ‘unhealthy’ condition. For example, a very thin, young girl, who loses a lot of blood during her menstruation, suffers from anemia (blood insufficiency) and has a lot of problems with low blood pressure, tiredness, stress and insomnia, can’t be vegan. She needs meat, but it doesn’t mean that she needs to eat half a kilo of steak every day. No, she needs meat as medicine. It will be a small amount of a special kind of meat, and probably in form of soup or bullion. It’s the same with women who have just given birth. They need to have bouillon. In China, every woman after giving birth consumes a bowl of pigeon soup. It is a very strong blood and kidney tonic. Unfortunately, in my practice I often have patients who refuse to understand this. They prefer to be ill rather than seeing beyond ‘Animism’. They also remain very himsic to their Inner Self.
These are just few very small examples of our unchallenged assumptions and belief systems.
I wonder if you are still intrigued by the question: What is a healthy diet?
My turn now; I would like to ask you a question:
How can a person who adheres to a very strict, low-fat diet,
still register a high cholesterol value in their blood,
posing a high risk for heart problems?
Or, why do we eat so much sugar/sweet when we are upset? Why do we like salty chips so much? How does our food affect our emotions and mind?
The answer is very easy. We always see our body, our mind and our food as small stacks of puzzles. WE NEVER WANT TO SEE THE WHOLE PICTURE!
Is this because of our ignorance or our lack of knowledge?
We always study western nutrition, anatomy and physiology OR eastern nutrition and energy anatomy of the body. OR, we just study nutrition alone, without any deep knowledge of anatomy and the physiology of our body (like most western nutritional therapists). OR, we just study medicine, without studying nutrition (this is a big problem with western doctors, they rarely study nutrition). How many people study the length and breadth of energetic anatomy? We always have one small piece of the big picture as a specialist or a doctor. What do you expect from people who have never studied this very wide and very difficult science?
We just go to Google and punch in our questions. We are so overwhelmed with information, all at our fingertips; we literally don’t know what we need to do next. Plus, we really don’t know anything about the energy of our body.
Hence, why there is all this ‘food and diet confusion’.
The most important mistake I see made is that that we only consider our food as carbs, fats, proteins and so on. This approach is relevant to the first chakra or first layer of our koshas or aura. This is the correct approach for our physical body. We will learn about the subtle body, further along in the course. We are very complex bio-energetic systems.
Food is one of the most powerful medicines that can balance all of our systems:
our body, mind, emotions – ALL!
Unfortunately, we still try to use food just for its effects on our physical body, without knowing first, how we can bring harmony to our emotional, mental and spiritual body. It can be done. You are the master or mistress of your existence. If you change your food, you will change your energy and therefore, your entire life will change!
Step by step you will learn about the miracle and powerful qualities of food. You will learn about whom you are, how you exist, and how you can bring yourself into balance and harmony just with a knife, a pot, a pan and a gas fire!