Low carb, keto, low fat, vegetarian, vegan, carnivore, South Beach, Atkins, intermittent fasting, Mediterranean…these are all popular diets that many people stick to religiously, claiming that they are feeling and looking better than ever. But think about the last time you tried any of these fad diets. Did they actually work? Sure, maybe you lost a few pounds at that time, but then you quickly gained them back when you introduced that food or macronutrient that was forbidden during the diet.
Most of these diets are not sustainable in the long term, and they only create a yo-yo effect. So people end up with the same weight as when they started, or even worse.
Why Diets Don’t Work
Most health professionals agree that diets don’t work, and here are a few reasons why:
- Weight Loss Is Just Temporary – studies have shown that as many as 60% of those who start a diet then gain back more than their initial weight
- Dieting Makes Your Brain Crave More – we need food to survive and that’s that. When you are restricting a certain food or macronutrient, the body will produce hormones that will make you hungry and will make that missing food taste even better in the future. So it will then be even harder to resist that sugar, or that fat or whatever you are restricting
- Dieting Damages The Relationship You Have With Food – instead of learning how to eat in a healthy manner, people are unsatisfied with their bodies and are turning to extreme diets. This makes them hate certain foods and then always feel guilty when eating them
- Dieting Causes Stress and Emotional Overeating – when faced with an extreme diet, the body releases cortisol which is the stress hormone. Then, people tend to feel more hungry and to eat more than they should be in order to relieve that stress
- Dieting Slows Down The Metabolism – this study has shown that weight cycling is associated with extra weight and abdominal fat accumulation. So the more yo-yo dieting you do, the harder it will be to lose weight and the easier it will be to gain it back
- Diets Lack Important Nutrients – whether you are restricting carbs, or fats, or meat, or vegetables, or any other group of foods, you are limiting certain nutrients that are important to the body. Studies have shown that each of the popular diets is deficient in certain micronutrients, which can be harmful on the long term
- People Diet for The Wrong Reasons – if you are obese with multiple health issues caused by the extra weight, then it is essential to get rid of it. But most people these days (especially women) are trying to lose weight for the wrong reasons. They have insecurities related to their bodies caused by the beauty and fashion industries that are putting skinny women on a pedestal. Women no longer feel beautiful even though they have a normal weight, and pursuit extreme diets
What Should You Do?
So if diets don’t work, what should you do in case you need to lose weight and to look better?
- Focus on Feeling Good, rather than Looking Good – it’s important to change your perspective and to focus on feeling good both on the short and the long term. And it’s clear that diets don’t make us feel good. They actually make us feel worse. One of the ways to notice what truly makes you feel good is mindfulness
- Accept Yourself – some men will simply never have six-pack abs, while some women will simply never have flat abs or a “thigh gap”. It’s important to try to become the best version of yourself, but without comparing to others that have different genetics, different health issues, different lifestyles and so on
- Focus on Being Healthy, Not on Losing Weight – adjust portion sizes, re-educate your eating habits, learn about what to eat and how to choose your food, eat mindfully and the weight will slowly take care of itself. And the difference is that this approach can be maintained in the long term, and it’s not just another yo-yo diet
- Change The Way You Think About Exercise – do what feels right and appropriate for your current fitness level instead of trying to force your body into extreme weightlifting techniques or other crazy sports. Low impact exercises performed regularly can be more beneficial than extreme sports have done sporadically. Movement can simply be a way to enjoy life, instead of a method to lose weight. Do it because you like to, not because you absolutely have to
- Enjoy life – being stressed leads to unhealthy binging and then to weight gain. But if you are happy and relaxed, you will make smarter choices. You don’t need to wait to have that “perfect body” in order to enjoy life. Start to live the rich and meaningful life you deserve right now!
In case you need a healthy diet approach, mindfulness coaching or Yoga & Pilates classes, the Abbysan Center is here to help!