Do you ever find yourself anxiously anticipating the next diet only to be, again, disappointed in yourself when you “just can’t stick to the plan.” The diet industry is definitely manipulative when it comes to, well, everything. It leads you to believe that you have done something wrong when you deviate from the strict rules it sets when in fact maybe your body just needed more.
We have heard these stories many times before and are here to tell you: it’s not you, it’s your diet. Don’t believe us just yet? We’ve listed five reasons why diets don’t actually work to help you challenge the latest fad and break the diet cycle once and for all.
5 reasons why diets don’t work
1. DIETS INCREASE FEELINGS OF GUILT AND SHAME
We’re only human! If you tell yourself that you can’t eat <insert any type of food here> and you’ve labeled this food as “bad,” when you inevitably end up eating this food, how are you likely to feel? Guilty? Bad? Disgusting? What happens then? You say: “to heck with it, I might as well just keep eating, I’ve already failed…” Down the dark, dieting rabbit hole you fall, which leads us to the next point...
2. DIETS LEAD TO A CYCLE OF RESTRICTION + OVEREATING
Yup, you tell yourself you can’t have said food item and then you end up eating said food item, and the negative thoughts attack. Why did you do that? Not because you are a failure and you suck at this, but because you LOVE food and food is delicious! READ: it’s not you that sucks, it’s the diet. If you listen to your body and allow yourself to enjoy this food, you might find you end up eating exactly the amount your body needs! Depriving yourself can only lead to overeating, which can, in turn, lead to more deprivation on the other side. Reduced calorie intake will actually push your body into survival mode, causing it to hold onto the energy and fat we have, and slow down your metabolism, which is most likely the opposite action you’re looking for.
3. DIETS NEGATIVELY IMPACT YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
And that’s not to mention the amount of physical and emotional energy you expend trying to control your body weight, shape, and size! Food and eating are meant to be ENJOYABLE. Often, diets stop us from enjoying social gatherings because they hinder our restrictive eating efforts. When your date takes you to their favorite restaurant and you can’t find anything that fits in your diet, what do you do? Bail on the date? Make all sorts of special ordering accommodations? When your soccer team throws a spaghetti dinner the night before a tournament game, what do you do? Stay home and miss hanging out with your friends? Bring your own food because you fear what is being offered?
4. DIETS HAZARDOUSLY CAUSE YOU TO SHIFT FOCUS FROM HEALTH TO WEIGHT
Health is defined by Merriam Webster dictionary as: showing physical, emotional and mental well-being, flourishing, not small or feeble. Sure, health in terms of food intake is eating foods that nourish your body, but it’s also enjoying foods that nourish your soul. It’s allowing yourself to have foods of all kinds: chocolate chip cookies and green smoothies. When you are always focused on dieting and weight loss, you often lose sight of true health, compromising your well-being and actual health in the long run.
5. DIETS DEPLETE VITAL NUTRIENTS
Diets typically involve eliminating a certain food or food group, leading to inadequate nutrition. Your body needs the right amount of ALL nutrients in order to function optimally. Your body requires an appropriate amount of carbohydrates so protein can get into the cell and properly repair it. Carbohydrates specifically are the body’s main energy source. Without enough dietary fat, you can’t absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A,E, D and K), some of which are also powerful antioxidants! You can dose up on supplements for years, but without the right balance of protein, carbs, and fats, those supplements are likely ill-equipped to actually do their job.
A DIFFERENT PATH TO HEALTH
There is a reason why the diet industry is a billion dollar industry: diets never work, but they are quite good at getting you to keep spending money. Ready to find a better way to nourish your body and invest in your health?
Your body will fight tooth and nail to be balanced and healthy. If you are willing to tune in to what it is telling you, you will find lifelong sustainable habits that aren’t built around restricting certain foods and certain food volumes. What if you were to start listening to what your body is asking for and giving it what it wants? By tuning in, you are granting your body the opportunity to THRIVE where it needs and wants to be naturally. Instead of attempting to control your hunger through “willpower” and restricting or avoiding certain foods, become attuned with your body. Aim to be mindful about what you’re eating, and try to listen to your body’s signals of when you’re hungry or satisfied.
Start by sitting down at a table with your meal, without any distractions, and give yourself permission to eat whatever you want. Take note of the taste and texture of the food and how satisfied you feel during and after eating it. Repeat this process at your next meal. Over time, this will help you figure out what makes you feel the best and how much and of what your body actually needs. Looking for more tips on how to break up with dieting? Start here.
We recognize that the idea of giving up dieting can be a daunting and sometimes scary task. The good news is that you do not have to go it alone! We’re here to help support you take steps towards your goals in a way that feels manageable and supported. Interested? Reach out to us, we’re here for you!