Why Most Diets Ultimately Fail...

What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease.
--Alexander Pope
It is true that most diets fail, especially during the maintenance phase.

Why do 93-95% of dieters regain most (and sometimes more) of their lost weight?

I think the answer is pretty simple--dieters often sabotage their own efforts by making these common mistakes:
--Eating too little food.
Whenever we try starving ourselves, our bodies are programmed to seek out more food. Ultimately, biology will win the diet war, perhaps even resulting in a rebound effect, which is why so many failed dieters often gain more weight than they originally lost. Eat enough nutritious food and you will lose weight, perhaps not as fast as you would like, but a steady weight loss will be much easier to maintain.
--Viewing "the diet" as a temporary nuisance.
Not a good idea; in order to keep the weight off, you have to view your "diet" as a permanent change, practiced day after day, 80% of the time, even during maintenance.
--Basing your weight-loss program on food deprivation.
Any diet plan that asks you to omit entire groups of foods will not feed your body right. For example, not being allowed to eat fruit because of its sugar content or cutting out pasta entirely is simply ridiculous. Also, depriving yourself of occasional treats (like pecan pie) will definitely make you want them all that much more and send you crashing off the diet wagon.
--Using the diet as a way to "punish" yourself for becoming fat in the first place.
All I can say: get over yourself. So what if you're fat? Big deal. Instead, work on changing your thinking toward a more positive path. Embrace the process of making life changes and make your new eating plan your own and something that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. If you don't enjoy your diet, you won't stick to it. It's just that simple.
--Having unrealistic expectations and giving up too soon.
Keep in mind that you didn't gain your weight overnight, so you shouldn't expect to lose it overnight.

Too often, dieters give up, even when they are close to goal weight. It is true that as you approach your goal, you will lose slower, sometimes much slower.

Don't be so hard on yourself; allow your body to adjust to its lower weight by accepting plateaus as opportunities for your body to tone up.

Ask yourself this question: "What did I weigh one year ago? Six months ago? One month ago?"

One year ago, you were likely much heavier and could not do as much as you can right now.

Also look ahead, by telling yourself, "If I lose one pound a month for the next 12 months, by this time next year, I'll be 12 pounds lighter and one size smaller."

Better than being 40 pounds heavier.

Chances are, you will be at goal weight one year from today (depending on how much you need to lose).
--Expecting too much of the thinner you.
Your being slimmer is not going to pay your bills, make your children improve their grades, or save a failing marriage.

It is likely that you will have the same old problems, albeit with a thinner body.

You will feel physically better, but you will still have to work on any psychological issues that contributed to your being overweight in the first place, either through individual or group therapy.

Also keep in mind that being thin, at first, will feel exciting and new, but, eventually, life becomes ordinary again. The compliments will eventually fade away.

This is okay; now it will be time to find a new challenge, one unrelated to food.
That's it for now.


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