I’m preparing for a speech I plan to give in a couple of weeks regarding whether or not people should diet. It seems that the American culture is OBSESSED with weight, body image, dieting, and the pursuit of being thin. The weight loss industry brings in more than $30 billion each year. Yet, an astounding 90 to 95% of people who go on diets will gain all the weight back and then some. What’s sad is that when we as individuals fail at the diet, we tend to blame ourselves… not the diet – even though the statistics show us that MOST people fail at diets. Actually, the truth is that you didn’t fail, the diets failed you. Here’s a list of reasons why diets fail:
- They are too restrictive. Eating is supposed to be pleasurable, and when you go too long feeling deprived from the foods you love, you will stop the diet.
- They slow down your metabolism. This is because they cause you to lose lean muscle mass, which is crucial in burning calories even while resting.
- They lead to eating disorders.
- They lead to food cravings and binge eating.
- They may cause you to feel socially isolated, because you might avoid going to parties or out to eat with friends or family.
- They typically lead to feelings of inadequacy, failure, and low self-esteem.
- They cause you to mistrust yourself with food.
- They cause you to spend WAY too much time thinking about food – what you can eat, what you’re not allowed to eat, etc. Incidentally, this is why it leads to food cravings. Whenever you tell yourself that you CAN’T have something, you begin to WANT the very thing you can’t have. For the last 6 years, since I never tell myself that I’m not allowed to have something, I rarely actually want any of those things anyway.
- They cause you to ignore hunger/full signals.
The solution is to change your mindset entirely about dieting. Get rid of the diet-mentality, and focus on treating your body the way it needs to be treated for it to thrive, be healthy, and keep you active into your elderly years! It’s the simple age-old solution of eating small balanced meals and snacks with proper exercise and activity. There’s just no way around it.