We’ve all been there, sat on a website and NEARLY bought a meal plan after scrolling past hundreds of testimonials of body transformations, all claiming that this was “the diet for them.” The trainer or website gives you a set diet plan that you have follow every day for 12 weeks and regardless of how you are feeling that day, you have to follow it. While I have seen amazing results because after all they are putting people into a calorie deficit (the underlying crux of weightless), I’m here to tell you WHY it does not work for everyone and why that’s okay.
Our Hormones Our bodies are complicated little devils and one that we are all too familiar with is our hunger signals, that belly grumble you feel when you want to eat is called Ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced and released mainly by our stomach and is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. The opposed hormone to this: Leptin, is our satiety hormone which notifies the hypothalamus in our brain when there is enough fat in storage and prevents us from overeating.
The problem with being told when to eat…
When we are dieting or told when we should eat (such as 3 meals a day, 2 snacks), it is very difficult for the body to regulate these hormones because our bodies change so much every day. I’ve done it myself, been on a meal plan set by a dietician and when it comes to snack time I forced myself to eat it, even when I wasn’t hungry, because the plan said I had to! However, the counter argument to this is that eating regular meals and snacks helps us to regulate our metabolism, so it is really dependent on the person.
Our bodies crave certain foods, (if you are a woman you will feel this more because of your cycle) and one day we may be extremely hungry and another day, we may not. Each of our bodies are unique, I can’t even predict what I want to eat that day. That is why it is extremely difficult to take a “one size fits all” diet plan and why it won’t work for everyone because depending on how in tune you are to your hunger signals, you won’t want to eat at a specific time just because someone told you to.
A good nutritional strategy should approach your end goal while keeping you as an individual in mind, allowing you to be in tune with your hunger signals, cravings and overall satisfaction levels. Just because you’ve tried a diet plan and it didn’t work for you, does not make you bad or wrong, just make sure you choose wisely. If you do decide that a food plan is the way forward for you, my top tips would be to pick a trainer that keeps you and hunger levels in mind, as well as your favourite foods and is flexible to fit in with your goals and your cycle.
About the Author:
Abbie is a student of naturopathic nutrition, meditation instructor and a transformational coach; helping people break out of their stressful patterns. She runs a health and lifestyle blog, where she breaks down barriers around food stigma and posts her favourite recipes. You can find her on Instagram & Twitter @AbbieWhiddett
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