7 Reasons Why Diets Don't Work
The problem is, diets don't really work - not long term anyway. Diets are more like a quick, temporary fix to a persistent problem.
Look at it this way: have you ever wondered why these companies keep coming up with different diets? If diets really worked, wouldn't they stop creating new ones?
1) Diets focus on weight loss rather than good health.Diets encourage you to severely restrict caloric intake, or eliminate whole groups of foods from your diet. While they may indeed help you lose weight initially, what happens when you resume your normal eating habits? That's right, the weight just comes right back.
So you're constantly losing weight, gaining weight, losing, gaining -- and the problem never goes away permanently.
Most diets don't focus on changing your mindset to what's REALLY important -- nutrition and good health!
Here's the surprising thing: when you take really good care of your body by eating nutritious, healthful foods in moderation, you naturally lose weight. And you keep that weight off for as long as you follow a healthy lifestyle.
Permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes, not dieting! It's a lifelong commitment.
When you really get this, and when you realize just how easy it is to make permanent lifestyle changes, you free yourself from the endless cycle of dieting for good.
See: Top 10 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget
2) Diets force you to eliminate whole food groups or macronutrients (carbs, proteins or fat).It's never a good idea to eliminate whole food groups or any particular macronutrient (carbs, protein or fat) from your diet. Right now, you can probably think of at least a few popular diets that encourage participants to cut out entire food groups like dairy, fruit or meat, or encourage you cut out carbs or go low fat. Or they encourage certain food groups and macronutrients at the expense of others.
Your body needs nutrition from all of these sources. Your body needs protein. It needs fat. It needs carbohydrates. If you eliminate these nutritional sources from your diet, you compromise your body's ability to function properly.
See: What Percentage of Carbs, Protein and Fat Should I Eat?
Worse, you set yourself up for weight gain by depriving yourself, which always leads to bingeing later.
To lose weight permanently, you don't have to eliminate whole groups of food or macronutrients from your diet. You simply need to eat a balanced diet that includes foods from all groups. That way your body gets all of the nutrition it needs to come back into a state of balance - i.e. a healthy weight!
If you really want to eliminate foods from your diet, how about refined, processed, junk food? How about soda, candy, and fried foods? Your body won't miss that stuff at all! :) You don't have to totally eliminate these things, of course. But eating much less of them is always a good idea.
Keep in mind that there's a big difference between deprivation and moderation. Never deprive yourself; but DO moderate your intake of foods that you know are a problem for you.
3. Diets make you eat unhealthy foods.Have you ever used "meal replacement" products? Maybe drank a liquid shake or eaten a protein bar in place of a meal? Or maybe a food that's touted as "low calorie versions" of real foods? What about those packages of "100 calorie" snacks"?
These products are really popular on some diets and it's no surprise why: they're really convenient! We all lead busy lives these days, and we often feel like we don't have the time to prepare nutritious meals.
No problem, just pop open a pre-mixed diet shake or bar and you're good to go, right?
Except for one problem: most of these products are not nutritious at all.
They are filled with sugar (or artificial sweeteners which are just as unhealthy as sugar), and processed ingredients. They're "fortified" because in their original state they don't contain any nutrition at all.
See: 3 Ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings
The funny thing is, eating a simple, light meal would provide the same amount of calories, and it would probably be much more satisfying.
Granted, it does take a little more time and effort to prepare nutritious meals, but isn't your health worth it?
Believe it or not, healthy eating doesn't have to take a lot of time and effort. Plan ahead. Prepare and freeze various parts of your meals for quick and easy defrosting - like broiled chicken breast, sauteed shrimp, and brown rice. Keep your refrigerator stocked with fresh produce so you can quickly whip up a salad or a raw veggie platter to take with you.
Once you get used to doing this, it gets much easier and doesn't take a long time at all.
See: How to Put Together a Meal Plan
4) Diets drastically reduce your caloires.There are many diet programs out there that encourage you to decrease your calorie intake - sometimes to an unhealthy degree.
Sometimes people following these diets will reduce their calories even more in an attempt to lose weight faster, but this is never a good idea because the moment they start eating more calories again, they start gaining weight back. (Really, how long can you starve yourself before you can't stand it anymore and eat everything in sight?)
Drastic calorie reduction just isn't a good idea - not if you're trying to lose weight permanently.
Instead, here's a little trick that works like magic: Eat MORE food, but make most of it naturally low-calorie.
Eat fresh vegetables and fruit, lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and include healthy forms of fat like olive oil and avocados. This type of eating plan will keep your calories in line but also keep fueling your body with lots of good food so your metabolism revs up and you burn more fat.
See: 5 Tasty Substitutes for High Calorie Foods
Learn what a serving size is so you know how to eat in moderation.
One of the major keys to permanent weight loss is giving your body what it needs to function most efficiently - which includes vitamins, minerals, and lots of good nutrients.
It may seem hard to believe that eating MORE food could make you lose weight, but you'll be amazed by how well it works if you give it a fair chance.
Most people find that as long as they're choosing foods that are naturally low calorie most of the time, they don't need to count calories at all. And they don't need to starve, either.
5. Diets Make You Feel DeprivedDiets are filled with "rules and restrictions" -- in other words, they're centered around what you CAN'T have. They simply aren't sustainable for the long-term.
You probably already know why this is a bad idea. When you can't have something, you feel deprived and only crave it more!
And if you stay stuck in that feeling of deprivation for several weeks to several months, you can easily slip into a mega-binge and do a lot of damage.
See: 5 Ways to Eat Less Without Feeling Deprived
There's another reason why deprivation diets can be so damaging. They convince you that you aren't wise enough or strong enough to make the right decisions, and you need to follow a diet because there is something wrong with you.
You are much wiser and stronger than you think, and you are perfectly capable of learning what to eat and how much of it. A truly healthy weight loss plan won't be filled with tons of restrictions and rules you need to follow. Instead, you will learn how to make wiser decisions so you are eating healthier most of the time, while still allowing a few moderate treats here and there.
You don't need to be "controlled" - you just need to develop the awareness and willingness to take charge of your habits and change them for good.
If you really want to follow a "rule", here's a good one: Eat plenty of foods that support and nurture your body but that also taste great and leave you feeling satisfied.
Not only will this help you reach your weight loss goals, it will make you feel great while you do so!
6. Diets don't focus on the future.Most diets are really short-sighted. They focus only on the near future instead of the rest of your life. Before you begin a diet, you probably envision yourself sticking to it like glue, easily giving up your favorite foods and enjoying life as a slender person.
But the reality is quite different once you start the diet, isn't it?
You deal with constant cravings, feel awkward about eating in social situations, and cross your fingers every time you step on the scale. Who wants to live like that for the rest of their life?
Diets aren't meant to be followed forever. They're geared to help you lose weight in the shortest amount of time possible, but eventually you must return to normal eating.
However, if "normal eating" for you means poor habits, you'll certainly gain the weight back quickly.
So, what should you do to avoid this?
Start by expanding your focus beyond the next few months. Where would you like to be a few years from now, weight-wise? Do you want to be fit and strong, or do you want to still be stuck in the dieting/weight gain vicious cycle? Stupid question, right?
Now ask yourself what would help you achieve that desire. Another diet, or permanent, gradual lifestyle changes?
The best thing you can do to break out of the diet trap for good is educate yourself on healthy lifestyle changes, and start putting them into practice day by day. Within a very short period of time you'll not only realize how much easier and sustainable they are compared to diets, you'll notice that they really WORK to help you lose weight and keep it off.
See: 9 Small, Easy Changes to Encourage Weight Loss
7. Diets Don't Address the REAL Reasons Why You Gained WeightWhen it comes right down to it, diets usually fail because they do not address the REAL reason you gained weight in the first place. It's not just that your eating habits are out of control - there are usually some underlying emotional or habitual forces in play that keep you locked into destructive habits.
Maybe you eat for emotional reasons and you need to learn healthier ways to soothe yourself. Maybe your whole family has poor eating habits, so you'll need to work harder at overcoming yours. Maybe you feel safer as an overweight person so you keep sabotaging your efforts to lose weight.
There are endless causes for excess weight, but the important thing to realize is that diets do NOT address those causes. Diets act like a band-aid over an infected, painful wound - it just covers it up; it doesn't heal the wound.
Figuring out the root cause(s) for your own excess weight is as simple as thinking it through. Most often the causes will come from these categories:
See: Weight Loss Excuse Buster
Either you have some bad habits that need to be changed; you eat for emotional reasons or keep the weight on for emotional reasons (fear, etc.); or you are laboring under limiting beliefs that prevent you from making permanent changes ("My whole family is overweight so I'm doomed to be this way too").
Once you rip that nasty, old diet band-aid off and start really looking at what's going on under there, you realize it's much easier to heal the wound than you thought! One day at a time, one change at a time, you heal the problem for good and never have a need to diet again.
Who needs the torture of diets when a healthy eating plan like this is so much easier?
Are you ready to make a change to a healthy lifestyle? Here are 44 ways you can get started: 44 Ways to Boost Your Mood, Improve Your Energy and Lose Weight.