Why Diets Don't Work
If you've decided that losing weight is one of your health and fitness goals, this naturally, this means going on a diet, right?
Not quite. I want to talk about "diets" today and why they may not actually be the best path to weight loss. In fact, sometimes people who go on diets actually end up regaining the weight they lost (and sometimes more). If you want to know why you should ditch the diet, then read on.
Before I get any further with this, I would like to point out what I am referring to when I say the word "diet". I don’t mean ‘diet’ in terms of what type of food you eat, whether you are a vegan or a vegetarian. I mean it the way most of us see that word these days - a highly restrictive eating program with the goal to lose weight. For example, I eat a Mediterranean-style diet, because that's the type of foods I enjoy. I don't eat a calorie-restricted diet or cut out any food groups.
The reason many people seek out these types of restrictive diets and wish to follow them is usually because they are unhappy with their weight, they want to stay motivated or see results fast. In reality, most people who start diets like these either fall off the bandwagon or end up unhappy because they have been depriving themselves.
So why don’t diets work?
Let's take a reason at some of the main reasons restrictive diets don't work - and are often counterproductive to improving your overall health.
They aren’t realistic
Most fad diets aren’t realistic because they promise quick weight loss results. While this may be achievable in the short term, it isn't usually a long term solution because it is so hard to stick to them. A lot of fad diets require you to only eat from one food group or cut out other food groups in order to lose weight quickly. I’m not sure about you, but I know I definitely couldn’t live off something like cabbage soup for the rest of my life.
Restrictive dieting isn't sustainable
In conjunction with my point above, many diets are not only unrealistic, but they aren’t sustainable. This is because if you are cutting out food groups or only living off one type of food, there is going to come a point where you will probably get sick of it.
This may result in cycles of eating too little and then too much, that are hard to break once started. The worst outcome of all this is the emotional ramifications that can occur.
They can be harmful
Depending on what sort of diet you are following, it can actually be harmful for your body. If you are restricting calories or certain food groups, you may be lacking in essential nutrients your body needs to function.
For many people, once your diet is over you often go back to your previous eating patterns, which may be what caused weight gain in the first place. If you decide to complete another diet, you may become trapped in the cycle we know as "yo-yo" dieting - which is not the way to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
They are no fun
Let’s be honest, when we are restricting ourselves and what we eat, we are generally not in the best of moods. Add to this the fact that our energy levels may also be lower due to the fact we are either restricting calories or other nutrients. Sure, you can "stick it out" and finish a diet, but when you do this are you really in a better place then when you first started? This way there is no pleasure involved in becoming "healthier". Rather than seeing this as a positive step in your life, you may build an unhealthy relationship with food and health in general.
Many people always tell me that want they think is healthy eating is so boring and bland, but trust me girls - it doesn't HAVE to be! I encourage you to try new recipes, experiment with herbs and spices and eat foods that you actually enjoy!
So what should you do instead?
Lose the diet mindset
If you constantly associate the term dieting with living a healthy lifestyle, it may make it hard to actually do this successfully. Being happy and healthy is a long term goal, not something that can be achieved in a short space of time.
Rather than opting for the latest fad diet, try to eat wholesome foods that have been processed as little as possible every day. Couple this with a regular exercise plan and the occasional treat. This way you won’t see it as a chore or something that is a short term process, it will become a part of your life in a positive way.
Be realistic about your goals
If you are trying to lose weight, whether it is a little or a lot, be realistic about how long it will take to achieve this. If you are aiming for weight loss that is permanent, it has to be done slowly as that is the only way it will stay off. Would you rather wait a little longer to receive better results or lose weight quickly only to have it all come back again?
Trust me girls, I know it can be an impatient process, but results do come if you stick to eating healthy and exercising consistently. You just have to set the right goals for you and believe in the process.
Don’t deprive yourself
If you love eating chocolate muffins there is no need to ban them from your food list for life. Just need to eat them in moderation. I’m not saying that it's okay to eat junk food whenever you want, but if there is a special occasion or something you want to indulge in, don’t feel like you can’t. If you were to take a look at my day on a plate, you'd notice that I make sure I get plenty of food and enough variety to fuel my body for everything I want to do.
I want to get rid of the word diet and instead replace this concept with the idea of being healthy. Treat your body with love and respect and it will reward you. Don't focus on the numbers on the scale, or a specific period of time. Focus on how you FEEL. Focus on the long term goals and focus on balance.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.