If you were went to the Apple store to buy an iPad, and on that iPad it stated that there is a 95% chance it wouldn’t work, would you still buy it?
My guess is you would NOT buy that iPad if it had a 95% failure rate.
Well, guess what my friends? Diets have a 95% failure rate!
So, why do we continue to diet? Why do we continue to support the $ 60 billion/year diet industry?
The reason we keep going back to diets is because they don’t focus on long term weight loss – because if they did, we wouldn’t have a 60 billion dollar industry. The diets would do their job and we would move on.
I can’t tell you how many women I sold diet programs to over the past five years. Women would purchase the latest and greatest diet program, do well for about 2 – 8 weeks, start to fall back into old habits, and then a few months later, come back and purchase the NEXT latest and greatest diet program, hoping that this new program would be their magic ticket to success. And the cycle just continued to repeat itself.
For years, I thought that I was an anomaly, that diets actually did work. I managed to keep off the weight I had lost dieting for 10 years. But guess what? Eventually, the weight started coming back on.
So the question we need to answer is, with so many different diets, and so many differing approaches, and so many experts and books — why are we not seeing lasting results?
It turns out that the very premise of dieting works directly against our biology, psychology and our unique needs. And it’s these three things that can help us understand the three KEY reasons why diets don’t work.
Reasons Diets Don’t Work
Biological: Diets Slow Down Weight Loss
Diets tell us that if we eat less and move more, we will lose weight. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?
I hate to break it to you, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
This will sound counterintuitive, but hear me out…when we start eating less and moving more, our bodies actually start to work AGAINST us! This is because our bodies experience dieting as a stressor. When our body is under stress, we produce large amounts of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones cause our body to slow down the rate at which we burn calories (metabolism.) Our body intentionally slows down our weight loss efforts because it perceives our reduced calorie intake as a threat to it’s survival.
Our body is just trying to keep us alive and healthy, every day, all day long. So when it perceives a threat such a dieting, it will try it’s best to counteract that. You will notice you start to crave more foods, especially starchy, sugary foods, you become more lethargic, you become more moody. These are all things the body is doing intentionally to try and get you back into balance. Since your body doesn’t want you to starve, it responds to overly-restrictive diets by slowing your metabolism which of course makes it harder to lose weight.
Psychological: Diets Aren’t Fun
All diets have an element of deprivation. There is often a list of “don’t eat this” foods to avoid. Diets require us to have willpower and an ability to stick to the rules.
But what happens when we have rules placed on us?
We want to rebel!!!
I remember when I first started dieting, I had to give up red liquorice. This was a hard task, since I enjoyed it so much. But you’ll never see “Twizzlers” allowed on any diet plan. So I gave it up cold turkey. It was so hard not to think about that delicious red liquorice though. I thought about it constantly. Eventually I caved and bought myself a package of Twizzlers. I think I ate the whole package in about an hour.
Diets deny our pleasure, there is no joy in becoming healthier and trying to lose weight. We give up foods that were once pleasurable. We deny ourselves that feeling of complete satisfaction. We start obsessing over the foods we miss.
I can tell you that since becoming an intuitive eater, I’ve allowed foods like red licorice and cookies back into my normal eating. And guess what? I don’t obsesses over them anymore. I’ll have a piece or two of licorice and move on. I’ll have a cookie and not think about it anymore.
When we start denying ourselves food and put so many rules on food, we become entrenched in a battle of willpower, until eventually, we give in and end up overeating and gaining more weight.
And as a side note, let’s not forget that many cases of obesity and disordered eating is usually caused by some sort of childhood trauma. So trying to diet to lose weight is futile. We need to get to the root of the problem, and dieting only offers a bandaid solution. Cognitive therapy would probably be a better prerequisite to health — it could help clients identify the feelings and situations behind emotional over-eating and replace it with healthier self-care patterns.
Diets Take A “One Size Fits All” Approach
Every month you see a new diet out on the market touting weight loss and amazing results. But are we asking the question, “Would this work for ME?”
Sure, this diet could have worked for the person who created it and some people in their test group. But do they show the people it didn’t work for? Do they show those people 3, 5, 10 years from now? NO.
For every ONE person who has success, there are usually NINE who don’t.
Diets don’t take into account that each person’s metabolism operates differently. Diets assume that if we all just eat the same way and exercise the same way, we will all look the same way. But there is so much more that goes into a person’s ability to lose weight that calories in vs. calories out: stress, hormones, genetics, our job, our relationships, and so much more.
Diets give us rules to follow, and our unique circumstances, personal history, and individuality are rarely considered.
For example, someone who is very active all day needs more carbohydrates than someone who is sedentary all day. But do you see low carb diets telling those who are active to stay away? I know for myself, I have days where I’m ravenous and days where I’m not that hungry. When I was doing the 21 Day Fix, I had to eat a certain amount of calories each day. Some days, I was starving for more. Some days I was so stuffed I felt sick.
Our bodies are not calculators or machines that require the SAME amount of fuel each and every day. Our bodies are complex and require different amounts of food and exercise based on our own unique situations.
Only YOU know what’s best for your body.
If you would like to hear more about my story about how I dropped the diets and started eating intuitively, please grab my FREE Food Freedom Guide.
Have you tried diets and failed? Are you ready to give up dieting for good? I would love to hear about your experiences with dieting. Just leave a comment below!