Why Diets Don’t Work – and What to Do Instead

How many diets have you tried? One? 20? More? If you are still struggling with weight loss, the hard truth is probably becoming clear to you: diets don’t work.

The word “diet” often simply refers to your daily food and drink, but we also know it in its more insidious form: a word that describes temporary, restrictive, and typically futile attempts to lose weight, including gimmicks and get-thin-quick fads. Why are diets so ineffective? Consider the following:

  • You’ll probably gain the weight back. Time and time again, studies have shown most people regain any weight they lose within one to five years. That’s because people view diets as temporary, so when they return to their normal habits, their weight returns to “normal,” too.
  • Fad diets can hurt you. Restrictive plans often lack vital nutrients–and they don’t teach you anything about healthy eating. Losing weight quickly on a fad diet and then boomeranging back to a higher number is how yo-yo dieting begins, and it’s extremely unhealthy.
  • Restrictive diets don’t provide enough pleasure. Most of us love food and eating, and there’s no reason healthy eating can’t be a pleasurable experience. Many nutritious, natural foods are delicious, and we deserve to enjoy them fully.
  • Childhood trauma can cause obesity. That means for many people, overeating is an attempt at a solution – not the underlying problem. In these cases, therapy can often be helpful, and may even be necessary to achieving healthy weight loss.

So, what does work? Choosing a variety of whole, natural foods, controlling your portions, and getting regular exercise. It’s not fast or glamorous, but it does work.

When you’re serious about losing weight, the first step is to lose the “diet” mentality. You’ve tried it before, and you’ve seen for yourself it can’t give you the results you want. Instead of starving yourself or skipping meals, come up with a healthy eating plan that you can stick to for life. You’ll feel better and look better, and the small gains in your health will add up over time, helping you–finally–achieve your weight-loss goals.

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