We Don’t Fail Diets; They Fail Us!

Decades of research have shown that diets, both self-initiated and professionally led, are ineffective at producing long-term health and weight loss (or weight control.) When your diet fails to keep the weight off, you may say to yourself, “If only I didn’t love food so much...If I could just exercise more often...If I just had more will power.”

The problem is not personal weakness or lack of will power. Only 5 per cent of people who go on diets are successful. Please understand that we are not failing diets; diets are failing us.

The reason 95 per cent of all traditional diets fail is simple. When you go on a low-calorie diet, your body thinks you are starving; it actually becomes more efficient at storing fat by slowing down your metabolism. When you stop this unrealistic eating plan, your metabolism is still slow and inefficient that you may still be eating less than you were before you went on the diet.

In addition, low-calorie diets cause you to lose both muscle and fat in equal amounts. However, when you eventually gain back the weight, it is all fat and not muscle, causing your metabolism to slow down even more. Now you have extra weight, a less healthy body composition and a less attractive physique.

Diets require you to sacrifice by being hungry; they don’t allow you to enjoy the foods you love. This does not teach you habits which you can maintain after the diet is over. Most diet programmes force you to lower your caloric intake to dangerously low levels.

The common theory is that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. But when you eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its life-sustaining activities, you’re actually losing muscles to provide the needed energy for survival.

Traditional diets which use calorie restriction to produce weight loss are no longer appropriate. Most loss are no longer appropriate. Most weight –loss programmes measure success solely in terms of the number of kgs lost per weight loss attempt.

Diets don’t take into account the quality of the process used to achieve that weight loss or the very small likelihood of sustained weight loss. For long-term good health, you need to move away from low-calorie diets and focus on enjoyable physical activity and good nutrition. Exercising regularly and eating lean-supporting calories, protein and carbohydrates and reducing fat-supporting calories, protein and only you look and feel better, it will also significantly reduce your risk of disease.

If we focused more on prevention and on improving our day-to- day behaviours, we could cut health care costs in half. Contrary to popular belief, leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to painful or time-consuming. Making gradual, simple changes in your diet and physical activity will make great improvements in your health and well-being and they can drastically reduce your risk of disease.

If your weight management programme is to be a success, everything you eat and every exercise you do must be a pleasurable experience. If you are not enjoying yourself, it is unlikely that you will continue your programme. It’s that simple. These small, gradual changes are not painful or overwhelming but rather the core of an exciting lifestyle that you will look forward to.

Take the frustration, guilt and deprivation out of weight management and allow yourself to adopt yourself to adopt gradual, realistic changes into your life that will make healthy eating and physical activity a permanent pleasure. You will soon discover what your body is capable of and begin to look, act and fell your very best. Good luck and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle.