This might seem a harsh statement but dieting really does more harm than good. It can be hard to accept this when we are desperate to achieve weight loss. Often we feel that we need to diet to stay motivated, to kick start our healthy eating plan, or to start seeing results. Unfortunately however with only five percent of individuals being able to maintain the lost weight from dieting after 12-24 months then it appears that diets don’t work in the long-term. In fact, most individuals regain the weight plus extra weight following dieting due to a change in their metabolism.
The reason diets don’t work is that we are forced to eat a certain way that is not ‘normal’ for us. We may be deprived of our favourite foods or the diet may be unrealistic to maintain and not flexible. This means we are excluded from enjoying social events. So then we succumb to eating our favourite foods and feel like we’ve failed our diet. This can start a cycle of yo-yo dieting which goes something like:
1 – Devote to sticking to a set diet plan
2 – Succeed in doing this for a period of time
3 – Start seeing results and getting compliments from others
4 – Feel like a success
5 – Start feeling deprived and/or hungry
6 – Succumb to temptation and eat our favourite foods
7 – Overeat or binge eat
8 – Feel shame and guilt
9 – Devote to stick to the diet again tomorrow or on Monday
10 – Fail again at sticking to the diet soon after
11 – Feel like a failure
This can be a dangerous cycle and lead to ever-increasing weight gain and low self-esteem. A better approach is to not diet but develop a low-sacrifice healthy way of eating that is both sustainable and enjoyable. This will lead to results in the long-term to our waistlines and confidence levels. More on creating this type of eating plan in my next blog but in the meantime try to see yourself as not having failed a diet but rather dieting has failed you.