Diets Don’t Work

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According to the most recent weight loss research, 95% dieters end up regaining weight within two years. Calorie-restricting diets can be very successful in helping people lose weight but are not effective at maintaining that weight.

What can you do to lose weight and not gain it back?

Learn how and why diets fail.

It’s not because the dieters lack willpower or moral character that diets fail. Our bodies are wired to survive, so they perceive a decrease in energy availability (through diets) as a threat. Our bodies respond to calorie shortages with countermeasures, which include hormonal, neurological, and metabolic changes that overwhelm willpower.

Limiting calories can cause a slower metabolism, an increase in hunger hormone (gherlin), and a decrease in satiety (or ‘feeling full’) hormone (leptin). Not only will you feel hungry, but your likelihood of feeling satisfied or full is lower if you restrict calories which leads to a greater preoccupation with food. Then we have the desire to consume high-calorie foods that lead to a higher activity in the brain’s reward center.

Some people have genetic risk factors that make it difficult to eat food a restricted diet, with binge-eating (eating large quantities of food in one go, coupled with the need to eat more). Some people’s binge eat because of dieting. Binge eating can lead to lower self-worth and a loss of control over your life.

To protect your metabolism, make small, sustainable changes to suit your life. This will help you to achieve better health and a greater likelihood of maintaining it.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is this a sustainable diet? How long will the diet last? What happens next?

Have you had a similar diet in the past? What was your experience? What was successful and what was challenging?

Do you think there are foods that can be modified or eliminated?

Is this any different from what you are currently doing? Is it possible that changing your eating habits will make you feel odd?

Do you have the curiosity to observe and pause during the diet to assess this approach?

Avoid fad diets that restrict calories, like liquid diets, as they are unlikely to result in sustainable weight loss. These diets are more likely to cause frustration and despair than success.

There are many concepts that can help us reframe our thinking about diets, food, and weight.