Why Diets Suck and What to Do Instead
Diets straight SUCK...
Let's be honest with ourselves here... does anyone enjoy the process of losing weight?
If you had only seen what weight loss and dieting is from the perspective of social media, you'd probably think it was something fun and enjoyable.
There are millions of weight loss accounts on Facebook and Instagram flaunting pictures of fat-to-fit transformations of smiling weight loss successors...
There are also those annoying posts from friends expressing how much "fun" they had going for a 3-mile jog after work...
"I burned 300 calories!!!!!"
Here is the problem: If dieting programs and working out religiously are so fun and effective, then why do we continue to see a steady rise in obesity?
Interestingly (and unfortunately), there is evidence that weight loss diets don’t work long-term, and that they may actually lead to weight gain...
The purpose of this article is to address why our perception of dieting and being "healthy" is flawed, and what we need to do instead. This paradigm shift is not only critical to weight loss success; it is equally as necessary for sustaining a long and healthy life!
Why Dieting Sucks
The obesity epidemic continues to grow and as a result, many people turn to the latest and greatest fad diet in an attempt to lose weight.
However, individuals struggling with obesity aren’t the only people dieting...
Many healthy weight or slightly overweight people are also looking to shed pounds, particularly women and normally for special events. This is mainly due to poor body image.
Studies done on dieting have found that poor body image is likely caused by constant media exposure to slim models, celebrities, and athletes (1,2).
It's one thing for adults to have these body image issues, but it gets worse when kids get in the mix...
In one study, more than 50% of normal-weight girls aged six to eight said that their ideal weight was lower than their actual weight, this is often passed down from their mothers as well.(3,4).
Females aren't the only ones that deal with these issues either. I know plenty of Males who have struggled with poor body image (including myself). From what I have seen, men tend to be worse than women!
There is also the fact that the dieting industry makes BANK off of dieters...
It’s estimated that weight loss programs and products generate more than $150 billion in profits in the US and Europe combined! (5)
This wouldn't be as frustrating if the profits made were actually helping people. Unfortunately, the majority of dieters fail in their pursuits to lose weight, and many end up gaining all or more of their weight back!
Long term weight loss studies have shown how dieters ended up gaining one to two-thirds of weight lost from dieting after just 1 year.Even worse, after 5 years many dieters have gained all or more of the weight back from where they started! (6)
A small percentage of people manage to lose weight and keep it off, but unfortunately, most people regain all or a portion of the weight they lost (and some gain back even more).
So as you can see, traditional approaches to losing weight and "Fad diets" have lead many obese and overweight individuals to fail in their pursuits of leaning down. Even worse is that many healthy weight adults and kids are bombarded with super-fit models and try to lose weight in an effort to achieve the "ideal body"
What To Do Instead
In my Ebook (which if you are interested in getting it, click here!) I talk about strategies for sustainable dieting that go much deeper than simply counting calories.
Some of these things include eating whole foods and mindful eating.
Shifting your focus from a dieting mentality to eating in a way that optimizes your health can make sustaining a healthy body weight much easier and enjoyable.
I suggest you choose foods that keep you satisfied and allow you to maintain good energy levels so you feel your best.
Eating mindfully is another helpful strategy. Slowing down, focusing on breathing, and creating healthy eating habits can make eating these healthier foods more enjoyable and will likely lead to greater weight loss.
It's been shown that people who focus on internal hunger cues, intuitive eating, and eating healthy whole foods are much more likely to experience successful and lasting weight loss. (7)
I also believe that exercising regularly is a key component for both immediate and long-term weight loss. If you want to lose weight and create a habit that is sure to help you maintain a healthy body forever, start exercising!
Exercise can reduce stress and improve your overall health and sense of well-being. There is research that suggests at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity is beneficial for weight maintenance. (8)
Finally, stop stressing so much over losing weight!
Try to focus on being healthier instead of aiming for some “ideal” weight. Eating more nutritious foods, exercising regularly and living a low-stress life will lead to effortless weight loss.
Yes, you may need to do a little more than simply changing some bad habits to lose all of your desired weight (especially if you're extremely overweight or obese), but fixing these things first will allow other dieting tactics to become a walk in the park!
It's also important to understand that getting "ripped" or fitting into a size zero dress may not be the healthiest outcome for you. Some people are naturally thinner than others and achieving a "six pack" will require different effort depending on your genetics, lifestyle, etc.
Traditional dieting plans suck, and most approaches are obviously not working for us as a collective whole. instead of spinning your wheels trying to find the "next best thing" or "ultimate detox", focus on creating a lifestyle of habits and decisions proven to help people lose and maintain weight.
It may not sound as fun or flashy, but there is no denying the power of simplicity.
If you are currently overweight, try eating whole foods, exercising regularly, and lowering stress levels. Simply doing these three things will help you lose weight and make maintaining that weight loss easy as pie!