Why Your 'Diet' Doesn't Work

I know this may shock some of you, but DIETS don't work. As Taryn Brumfit states in "Embrace", you shouldn't trust anything that begins with the word "DIE".

Society seems to like shoving diets down our throats in magazines and commercials, suggesting we need to look a certain way. I say that mostly because as a whole, we all glorify those images and body types that we find ideal, and instead of looking and appreciate what we have, we strive for 'better'. It’s simply a marketing gimmick made by the 60-billion-dollar diet industry, made to make you feel bad about yourself and meant to get you to buy their product or whatever service they’re trying to sell you. It’s clever, but it’s unreal - Happiness and contentment with one's body isn't good for business economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? It's become sort of a rebellious concept to be content, calm, or happy with our "non-upgraded", messy existence... 

Like I’ve said before:

DIETS. DON’T. WORK

We’ve known it since the sixties, but we still ‘diet’ which results in “nearly all dieters (90-95%) [regaining] the weight they lost within one to five years” (Fitness for Weight loss). So - Toss the diet! It’s about persistence and a change of lifestyle that fosters healthy habits long term.

Not eating carbs for six weeks will OF COURSE help me lose weight, but the minute I start eating carbs again, it will come back. I plan on keeping the weight I lose – I’d never like to find it again!

As I have been telling the same co-worker who tries to get me to indulge in ice cream, if you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you simply aren’t hungry and DEFINITELY don’t need ice cream. Why we “want what we want” in terms of our diets and eating habits fascinates me; As do cravings. A girlfriend of mine responded to her children over a debate about pizza and candy for dinner one night with “You’re going to eat this broccoli because it’s good for you. It’s not your birthday - Not every meal is supposed to be a party in your mouth.” So, Jaycie, why can’t I just go on a diet?

Results are Short Lived

Short term goals are great to have – they keep us accountable, however it doesn’t foster a maintainable change long term. You need to mentally change how you look at food. If you see it as fuel for your body, and have a relationship with the food you ingest, then you will succeed. It’s not about how you look – it’s about how you feel. I know people who have starved themselves for a couple weeks, only eating just enough to not pass out. Sure, you can fit into the next pant size down, but that’s not a sustainable method for longer than the duration of that particular method.

Diets focus on the things you can have and the things you can’t, not why you choose Del Taco and soda over homemade chicken and broccoli or why you go back for seconds when you’re already full; not to mention why you would eat mindlessly in front of the television/computer/tablet/smartphone. Yeah, sometimes it’s easier and I struggle with that too, but that’s the bigger picture, not “how can I lose X lbs.in X days?”

Diets are Stressful

Everything about the word evokes negative energy. When you think about all the things you’re restricted to or the deadline you’ve set for yourself, it creates tension in the back of our minds and food should be enjoyable to a point, and when our stress rises, so do the chemicals in the brain that weakens our body’s burning potential – our metabolism slows and nurtures the exact opposite environment for weight loss.

We have to learn to enjoy what we’re eating, and create a happy relationship with food. My friend Jeannette (who was also in my post about How Bon Affair Can Help Your Diet a while back) wrote a whole article about her relationship with food and the life associated with being a Community Supported Agriculture Coordinator for The Abundant Table, and did so beautifully:

“Growing up in Los Angeles of all places, it's neigh impossible to escape the city without swallowing an overtly negative tone to the daily ritual of eating. Bodies are rated according to their numerical value and food consumed is reduced to caloric intake, or perhaps "good" or "bad" polyunsaturated fats. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about these things until a few years ago, when I decided not to. One of the many benefits of an intimate connection with the food that is destined for your body is the realization that food, and particularly the vegetables that come from these Camarillo fields, are wonderfully complex, fascinating organisms that are so much more than the number of heat units that they break down into.” ~ Jeannette Ban, The Abundant Table, Jan. 2017 Newsletter

She continues on and concludes with the fact that we all have things about our outward appearance we wish sometimes we could change or enhance, but that regardless of our thoughts about our outsides, our insides are magically vibrant, breathing and digesting – doing what it was made to do.

So, Jaycie, what do I do??

I recently have been talking to a friend about her decision to take her eating habits to the next level, and get back into a routine favorable to thinning out and becoming healthy. We discussed what is and isn’t conducive to that goal, and I gave her a meal plan to follow that would allow her to enjoy food as well as stick to a change in lifestyle. That’s what this is – a lifestyle change, not a temporary or quick fix (like I said in How to Stay Mindful this Independence Day, last year). Personally, I started with eating things that weren’t processed (any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience). Processed foods include chips, bread, cereals, any microwaveable meals, or sodas.

The best and only way to lose weight for good?

Make small, gradual, and realistic changes to your exercise and eating habits over time and continue to enjoy the food you’re ingesting. It’s fuel.

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