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Why Diets Fail PDF Print E-mail

Throughout the years we have seen the surge of various diets; some of them have stood the test of time whereas others have been fads that only hung around until the difficulty in maintaining it curtailed any long-term benefit. And of course there were many fad diets that were a mere flash-in-the-pan and became popular only because they were endorsed by some famous actress.

Off the top of my head I can think of the following:                                                                          ➢ Atkin’s Diet                                                                                                                                      ➢ Paleo (caveman) Diet                                                                                                                       ➢ Banting Diet                                                                                                                                  ➢ High-protein Diet                                                                                                                           ➢ Low–protein diet                                                                                                                           ➢ Vegan Diet                                                                                                                                       ➢ Vegetarian Diet                                                                                                                             ➢ Ornish Diet                                                                                                                                    ➢ Scarsdale Diet                                                                                                                              ➢ Blood-Type Diet                                                                                                                         ➢ Low GI Diet                                                                                                                                  ➢ Cabbage soup diet                                                                                                                     ➢ Etc

Whichever diet you choose you need to approach it with the aim of understanding the scientific principle behind why it works. Don’t just embark on a diet because your co-worker lost ‘X’ amount of weight on the grapefruit diet. Ask yourself why a grapefruit diet would work and what science there is that can support the claims that are made. Google is your friend – go find some clinical research studies that support claims made by unscrupulous manufacturers (and are not sponsored by people/firms with vested interests). Some of the most populat diets have no basis in science whatsoever, so it is not surprising that they fail in the long term.

Many of these diets lead to yo-yo dieting which wreaks havoc on the metabolism and damages your health in the long run. In the beginning you can lose weight on any diet but you have to consider the following:

➢ Any diet that bases its success on calorie restriction is bound to fail as your appetite is never satisfied. Furthermore your body may perceive the situation as starvation which means that it will automatically adjust the calories that are burned. So in the beginning you will lose weight until your body cottons on to the idea. The more you restrict your portions/calories the less calories your body will burn energy. This is a lose-lose situation. Ask anyone who has ever tried it how successful they were in keeping the weight off.

➢ You need to assess your mental and emotional state. Many diets fail because we simply do not have the tenacity to see them through. If you comfort yourself with a slice of cake or reward yourself with pizza then no diet will succeed. If you have a belief that you need to finish everything on your plate you need to review your beliefs. All of these are stumbling blocks based on our conditioning and no diet can overcome our mental and emotional blocks.

➢ Any diet that is not a lifestyle will not heed permanent results. You need to fully embrace and adopt the principle of the diet you have chosen with the goal that it will be for the rest of your life. The question you need to ask is “Is this sustainable?” Are you able to eat cabbage for the rest of eternity? If not then the cabbage-soup diet is not for you.

➢ Your body has a natural Body Set Weight (BSW) at which it will stabilize regardless of the type of diet that you choose. This is an evolutionary saftey net that prevents you from fading away to nothing.

➢ Any ‘diet’ that leads to catabolism (using your own muscles for fuel) is not a diet. It’s called anorexia and is a serious problem. However this is not a real threat unless you have severley restricted your calorie intake for longer than 8 months (even thin athletes can survive for more than 4 months off their internal body fat before muscle-wasting happens). Up until that point your body will use the internal fat around your organs for energy (once again a clever evolutionary trick that prevents your important muscle tissue being used for energy).

My experience and the evidence out there is that diets fail because of our mind sets. We need to address all our phsycological foibles before any diet will succeed. As Albert Einstein once said; "you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it". What is the reason that you are carrying the extra weight to begin with? How long have you been overweight? Unless you address this at its root cause you are unlikely to keep the weight off. Have you ever wondered why are there no “The biggest loser revisited” programs on TV? I think the answer is sadly self-evident.