It’s that time of the year. Over the Holidays, people indulge on food like it’s their last meal while planning how, after New Year’s Day, they are going to start dieting and lose weight.
Many will attempt the latest cleanse, detox, diet craze, or diet challenge for a quick solution to their weight problem.
Have you done that? I used to always be on the lookout for the magic solution to my weight issues in whatever form it might take. I always started out with the hope that this latest fad diet (or cleanse or detox) was going to be the solution this time. But they never were.
I have to admit that it saddens me whenever I hear someone starting a new diet or doing one of these fad cleanses. Why? Because I know they will very likely fail.
There is a lot of research to back this up. For example, in 2002, 231 million Europeans attempted some form of diet. Of those, only 1% kept the weight off for more than one year. One percent! Other studies show diets as being effective in the long-term weight loss between 3–5%. Pathetic.
Think about that. Are you willing to try something that has a 1–5% chance of success?
I am amazed that plenty of people are willing to do crazy, even downright unhealthy, things to lose weight. I know because I used to be one of them.
Every day, millions of people start some kind of diet-induced weight loss. I use the term ‘diet-induced’ because there are other ways to lose weight that actually work.
For instance, I lost 46 pounds in my mid-50s, and I didn’t go on a diet. I didn’t give up any of the foods I love. I didn’t eat or drink expensive highly-processed special shakes or bars. And I didn’t regain the weight!
Despite all of the evidence against dieting, most women still believe the marketing behind the multi-billion-dollar diet industry, and they keep trying new diets. And failing. They still believe that diets are the only way to lose weight.
Then, when they fail, they believe it’s because they can’t lose the weight. But that’s not true. You can lose weight, even post-menopause, but not if you keep going on diets. Diets are the reason people can’t permanently lose weight.
Here are some reasons why you should NOT use any diet-based method of weight loss.
Your chances of attaining permanent weight loss on a diet are miniscule. Would you have surgery that promised only a 3% chance of success? Of course not. So why go on a diet that can’t offer you better odds?
Diets actually disrupt your hormones and make it harder to lose weight. The hypothalamus in your brain wants to keep you at your weight.
When you, unnaturally, restrict the amount and kind of food you eat, your body responds by reducing the amount of thyroid hormone and leptin (the hormone that tells your body it’s had enough food) it produces. As a result, you feel hungrier and your metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose weight.
Being restricted from eating the foods you love and not satisfying your physical hunger causes your body to feel stressed and produce extra cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol, in turn, interferes with weight loss. Stress is a very big cause of weight gain.
Diets create a scarcity mindset because they don’t allow you to eat certain foods. That makes you want them even more. Then, when your willpower fails and you eat these foods anyway, you tend to overeat and even binge on them.
Diets ignore your body’s needs and cause you to distrust your body’s natural signals. They tell you what and when you should eat and how much, which has nothing to do with your specific need for food.
Your body is sophisticated enough to know when you need nourishment. Your hunger signals tell you that, but diets ignore this. When you do diet, you are more likely to eat for reasons other than hunger, which results in overeating.
Because diets have a lot of rules and make many of your eating decisions for you, you don’t learn how to deal with real life situations after your diet, like going to parties and restaurants.
After being on a diet or cleanse, most people return to the way they ate before, and that’s what caused them to gain the weight in the first place. That’s why most people regain any weight they lost during a diet.
Diets don’t address the cause of your weight problem. Most people are overweight because they eat not only to fuel their bodies but also for emotional reasons. To permanently lose weight, you need to learn what caused you to overeat, and to address your emotional needs without resorting to food.
I have tried numerous diets, cleanses, and detoxes over the years, and never felt any better after doing them. In fact, I was eating healthy foods before I went on them anyway.
I was just eating too much! And for the wrong reasons. Diets and cleanses don’t address that at all. Sometimes, these regimens actually made me feel a lot worse.
Losing weight requires you to change your eating habits, and that takes time. There is no quick fix.
So, this year, do yourself a favor and avoid anything that requires you to follow strict rules about what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.
What are some things you have learned from dieting? Do you plan to do it again this year after the holiday season is over? What about considering the benefits of teaching yourself some healthy eating habits? Please share your thoughts and comments below.