Top 3 Reasons Why Diets Don't Work
Updated: Feb 16
Most of us have been on a diet at some point in our life and the result, more often than not, is that we end up putting all the weight back on. Maybe you’ve tried dieting to lose weight once and given up, or maybe you find yourself doing the New Year’s resolution or bikini diet year after year.
So my question to you is, why keep repeating the same dieting pattern if, before you even start, you already know diets don’t work to give you the permanent weight loss you so much desire?
When we embark on the journey of weight loss, we can become tricksters. That’s right, we try to con our body with satiating pills, fat or carb binders, even go to the lengths of having cosmetic surgery. We can also become punishers, torturing our body with starvation, bland meals or excruciating workouts. We invest so much effort and sacrifice hoping for a quick fix.
But you see, in the same way, you don’t purchase 10 kg of fat to make an appearance on your belly by the next day, you don’t order weight loss on Amazon and have it delivered in 24 hrs.
I had a friend who tried losing weight by replacing 2 meals a day with a detox drink made up of green tea and watermelon water. But as soon as she stopped, she went right back to putting all the weight back on because, when it comes to dieting, long term commitment is difficult.
Dieting can affect not just your physical health, it can take a toll on your emotional well being.
Here is why diets do not work!
1. Lack of vision
You begin all excited to start your New Year’s or bikini diet and looking forward to buying that outfit you’ve got your eye on for some time. You’ve sorted out your meal plan for the week ahead, done your grocery shop and stocked up your kitchen cupboards, you’ve even cooked some meals ahead to have them ready to go. Great job!
As the days go past, cravings kick in, you are surrounded by people that are eating all the things you can’t eat and the temptation is everywhere. So you have a bite, here and there, of this thing and the other. Then the occasional bite becomes a meal. And before you know it, you’ve blown it!
What happened? You slipped once and went off track rather than forgiving yourself and getting back on the horse. Amazon didn’t deliver and you gifted yourself a full refund for all the deprivation and emotional distress you went through.
The missing ingredient in making your weight loss journey sustainable is to always keep your goal in mind. And no, your goal doesn’t mean 55 kg or size 10.
Your goal is what your weight loss will allow you to achieve, the ultimate desire why you want to lose weight. And that can be the pretty LBD (little black dress) you want to buy, the exciting party you want to shine at, the awesome guy you want to date, the adventure holiday you want to rave about, the weekend away with your kids at Disneyland Paris, etc.
We all have different reasons why we want to lose weight and different goals we want to accomplish once we get rid of it.
But having a clear and powerful vision of the wish that will be fulfilled when you achieve your ideal weight, and bringing it to mind daily, especially during those weak moments, is key to keeping you on track and sticking to your healthy eating plan.
2. Diets are restrictive
We have this misconception that weight loss can only be achieved by starving your body and eating lettuce and broccoli. Nothing could be further from the truth! Our body requires nourishment from all food groups and you should still be getting these to maintain a healthy body while dieting.
Extreme diets that promise amazing results fast need careful consideration on your part.
Of course, whatever type of diet you decide to go with is your choice. But what you should take into account is whether that diet is a lifestyle you can sustain in the long run or something you get bored within a few weeks. That’s one of the reasons why I dislike the word ‘diet’, it has a temporary connotation, while ‘lifestyle’ is something you can adopt for life.
I have been on calorie-controlled diets, the Atkins, the Dukan, low fat, low carb, the Paleo, the Keto, you name it, I’ve tried them all! Diets have failed to give me long term weight loss, but they have also given me the opportunity to discover what I like eating and what foods I want in my life. Based on that, I have adopted my own sustainable lifestyle to maintain my weight, which mainly consists of rice, pulses and porridge, the foods I love the most!
Of course, you are not going to lose weight on pizza, ice cream and cookies. But you know what? Everyone lives with some restriction one way or another. If you have a 9-5 job, you wouldn’t party every night (despite how much you may want to) because you’d show up at work like a zombie and very likely lose your job. If you have a partner, you wouldn’t clear out your joint bank account and go on around the world trip - you certainly wouldn’t appreciate it being done to you. If you have kids, you wouldn’t sleep in and let them go to school without breakfast and wearing whatever mismatched clothing they picked out of the wardrobe.
What you must consider here is what kind of restriction you’d rather have. Would you rather restrict chocolate, or be deprived of feeling attractive in your new body? Would you rather exclude sugar or deny yourself the joy of being in a loving relationship? Whatever vision you have of your future without the extra weight, would you rather give up pizza or give up your vision?
3. Emotional eating
We all eat to sustain our physical bodies. Then some of us, and 80% of the world population, eat, and indeed overeat, when we feel bored, or sad, anxious, depressed, angry, etc. That’s why diets don’t work! Diets are an external physical fix to a much deeper emotional issue.
Your emotions cause you to overeat, to binge eat, to finish everything on your plate, to eat like others eat instead of eating for you and your body. Once the root cause is dealt with, you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, you know when to eat and how much to eat.
If you want to discover what emotion drives your overeating,
take my Type of Eater Quiz
and receive personalised tips based on your results.
Finding the emotional root cause of your weight issue is the only effective way to lose weight and keep it off forever. Once the emotional root cause is eradicated, your approach to food, how you see and feel about food, and your relationship will food will change for good.
Weight loss does not manifest overnight, it is a process that requires time and commitment.
Feeling deprived and punishing your body is definitely the wrong way to go about achieving permanent weight loss. Changing your eating habits can be hard when you just diet, but it can be easy when you remove the emotional root cause and lose weight effortlessly.
Taking care of both, your body and your emotional wellbeing, in the right way, is really important. Short cuts only put unbearable stress on your body and do not provide long term results.
Because I want to give you solutions to the challenges you are facing in your weight loss journey, please comment below on what you want to have an answer to. In my next article will talk about what a good diet looks like.