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Oct 03

Why Diets Don’t Work

Another failed diet. More money wasted on diet books that fail to deliver results. Here’s the secret that they don’t want you to know:

Diets don’t work!

Think about it. Consider the big business around exercise videos, diet videos, diet books, TV shows. It’s a money game. Let’s face it the only people achieving results out of the current billion dollar weight loss industry are the moguls who want your hard earned cash. That isn’t to say these products are intentionally deceiving you – it’s just that they are not tackling the root problem. In order to help you understand how you can achieve real weight loss objectives, you need to first understand why existing products so often fail.

Here are some reasons why diets don’t work:

Diets address the wrong problem

Diets work by identifying the source of the problem as food itself. They therefore avoid certain types of food, or encourage particular combinations of food or recommend and increase in intake of a particular type of food. The truth is food itself is not inherently bad. Actually, it’s OK to eat any type of food as long as you are aware and knowledgeable about that food. Let’s give an example. Chocolate cake is quite harmless if you eat one slice every 6 months, but if you ate it three times a day you would have a problem. So it follows the problem is not with food itself but with the person making the choice to eat a particular food at a particular time, in other words diets address the wrong problem! The source of the problem is not the food itself.

Diets are impractical

Most diets are too complex to understand or maintain over a period of time. They are just not practical. There are all kinds of diets out there – probably hundreds of them. However, so many of them rely on complicated worksheets, colour coded charts and long food lists. In the real world people don’t have the time or patience to deal with this. Can you see people arriving at a dinner party and then getting out their food list and checking things off and being fussy about what they can and can’t eat. It’s just not going to happen.

Diets are not long term

Mostly people have the idea that they “go on a diet”, then when they have lost weight they are somehow “fixed” and they come off the diet. As soon as they come off the diet they go back to old habits and gain weight.

Diets work by deprivation

Most diets work by denying you food. Unfortunately this makes you even hungrier, which results in your eating more food! Crazy. Food deprivation is definitely not the way to go and is generally not a long term solution. The body will tend to counteract any food deprivation by storing more energy as fat!

Diets often rely on counting calories

Counting calories is often inconvenient. To do it accurately, you would need to weigh all the foods used in every meal, and then use some kind of table to work out the total calorific intake. This is not something that is going to be kept up long term by most busy people. Also, what happens when you eat out? It would be quite difficult to determine the calorific content of takeaway or restaurant meals. While it is useful to have a rough idea of the calorific value of various foods, religiously counting calories is unlikely to be practical over the long term.

Diets are all or nothing

Most diets are things that you are either on or you are not on. How many times have you said “I’ll start my diet tomorrow”! In this scenario someone goes from a non-diet state to a diet state overnight. This “overnight change” approach doesn’t work. You wouldn’t go to the gym and start lifting the heaviest weights first – you will build up gradually. Diets tend not to take the phased approach, this is a big mistake.

Diets fail to integrate with people’s everyday lives

One problem with diets is they often require “special” meals. When you are a busy housewife and mum of two you just don’t get time to prepare special meals. Everyone tends to end up eating the same thing and that is often cooked with convenience in mind, not weight loss! The idea of preparing a special meal for yourself and then another meal for your husband would be too time consuming. Unless the whole family is on the same diet, creating a special meal may not be practical.

Diets are often too prescriptive

Diets tend to dictate the types of food you can eat. It tends to be a “don’t eat that” and “do eat this” approach. If it’s not on the list you can’t eat it! Diets so designed often fail in an important way – they fail to educate people about eating habits and the fundamental nature of food types. As a simple example of this, a person might come across a type of fruit. The person might not be able to decide whether they can eat this fruit or not as it is not specified by the diet food list. They don’t have sufficient knowledge of food to make the decision for themselves can I eat this or not.

So, these are just a few of the problems with diets. By helping you to understand the problems of diets it is possible to come up with a plan to find a weight loss programme that will work – without making the mistakes that diets so often do.

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