Why Do Diets Fail?
How many diets have you tried? In 2007, Traci Mann and her research team at UCLA did an exhaustive review that included 31 studies of popular diets. Mann concluded that calorie restriction garnered very short term weight loss, with up to 66 percent of dieters gaining back more weight than they lost.
The trouble with a diet is that it ends. That is, there is a fixed moment when the “healthy” eating stops and the “normal” or old eating pattern resumes. This is why the plan described in my new book Slimming Meals That Heal can help you make a breakthrough. Instead of putting you on a restricted diet, it works with you to develop a new normal. What if your new food choices left you so deeply satisfied that there was no need to eat the foods that harm you? What if new comfort foods also healed your tissues, allowing your body weight to establish its natural set point?
Here are 3 main reasons why diets fail:
1. The diet is sold as a “fix.”
Most people experience diets as a temporary state. You are willing to put up with temporary shortages and the torture of watching your favorite food be served to others in order to squeeze into a dress for a wedding or a swimsuit for your vacation. But then you lose motivation, and the weight comes back.
Slimming Meals That Heal Solution: Let go of the concept of dieting once and for all. Break out of food prison and embrace a lifelong health strategy that I call not a diet but a “live-it.” Explore oodles of new foods from different countries to expand your choices instead of limiting them. Give yourself all the time you need to get used to new habits and then build on them. For example, you could take a cooking class, try a new cuisine next time you’re out, or experiment with new fun snacks.
2. The diet is too strict, and you end up binging on “forbidden” foods.
A diet that restricts a major food group (e.g., a low-fat or low-carb diet) ends up eliminating all your comfort foods. After all, you wouldn’t gain any benefit from restricting a food you weren’t eating to start with, right? So when life gets rough, you fall off the wagon. You might last a few months and lose weight, but boredom and deprivation will eventually drive anyone to break out of their food prison. It is unworkable to forgo all treats forever—our brains are hard-wired to seek pleasure.
Slimming Meals That Heal Solution: Enjoy healing versions of your favorite recipes, such as the chocolate pudding, bread, crispy onion rings, and sorbet found in my book. For those occasions when you don’t have time to cook, health food stores stock some tasty alternatives. Ensure that you eat proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in healthy amounts to combat cravings. By timing your treats and understanding that you will have another treat tomorrow, you avoid overeating and binging.
3. Hormonal challenges.
At 30 years of age, everyone’s metabolism begins to slow down. If you have a family history of low thyroid function or a history of extreme dieting with big swings in weight, your body may become stubborn and hold on to weight even when you restrict calories. If you binge, your body naturally stores extra fat in case you decide to go back on another “diet.” This vicious cycle makes it harder and harder to lose weight and keep it off.
Slimming Meals That Heal Solution: The good news is you can shift your hormones and break through the weight plateau that you’re stuck on right now. By embracing a “live-it” that is fun and sustainable, you can expect to lose one to two pounds a week—and it will stay off because your new way of eating supports hormonal balance. As well, by enjoying some movement (dance, yoga, rehab exercises), you can rev up your fat-burning engine to burn more calories per hour. If you are tired of strict, depriving diets, I invite you to join me in my “live-it.” You’ll boost your mood, reduce pain, and reach your vitality weight. Your vitality weight is not a number on a scale or a measurement dictated by society. Your vitality weight is found when you have reached balance and you feel content and happy in your body. Your body will start to love you and allow you to accomplish extraordinary things.