6 Real Reasons Diets Always Fail
It seems like there are two major times when the world goes diet cray.
After Christmas (when everyone is full of red wine and cheese) and around Spring time when suddenly the TV is full of holiday adverts and magazines are full of 'how to get a bikini body' articles.
Suddenly we're full of remorse for not getting that perfect body last year and promise to ourselves that THIS is the time. This is the year we're finally going to have enough willpower, enough stamina to hit the gym every day, and the year we become happy with our thighs/stomach <insert appropriate here>
The diet industry is worth BILLIONS. And yet, there is ample proof now that diets do not work in the long term. 90% of dieters put all the weight back on within 5 years PLUS MORE. (You are literally going to get fatter because of dieting.) Yet, it's they're still taking our money year after year! WHY?! This is madness.
Happiness is not to be found in rock hard abs or a thigh gap. I promise. I know it can be tempting to believe the before and after photos, the celebrity endorsements and also the peer pressure from everyone around you. But you can be part of the revolution to choose never to diet again because diets only make us more miserable. You know this deep down.
Here are 6 real reasons why diets always fail:
- Diets do not address the ROOT issue why we are unhappy with our bodies.
It’s our minds that need attention not our thighs. Thanks to women’s magazines, social media and societal pressures we have forgotten to appreciate how amazing we really are. We are learning to measure their worth by the wrong scale. Diets sell you the idea that you’ll be happier if you were only a dress size or two or three smaller. But the reality? Diet mentality will only continue to tell you that you’re not good enough… just another 5 lbs. It’s a vicious cycle. There are vast numbers of thin people who hate their bodies. Being thin won't fix your thoughts. Our relationships with our bodies are rarely ever about food but the diet industry allows you to continue thinking that it is.
- Diets need to make up new rules to continue to make money.
It’s almost impossible to know what to eat when we’re bombarded with contradictory messages. Every week there’s a new quick fix out there. Are we meant to be eating fat? Carbs are evil? Do calories count anymore?! Fruit is full of sugar, right?! No wonder we’ve all lost our confidence around food. Many of these fad diets aren’t backed up by research. And even the big giants of the dieting world, Weight Watchers and Slimming Worlds have to adapt to keep our attention. How many times have they ‘rebranded’ their plans? Loads of times! Because they have to continue to make it new for the people who’ve been before, failed and want to come back to see ‘what’s new’.
Diets rely on willpower and fuck up your metabolism.
Ugh, doesn’t willpower take up so much energy! Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we put as much time trying to learn a language as we put into trying to resist eating a slice of pizza. And by it’s very nature, willpower is limited! Do you recognise the vicious cycle of testing your willpower on your latest diet until you ‘slip up’ and then fall into what I call the ‘fuck it window’, that space when you binge on all the ‘forbidden foods’ you’re not allowed. You tell yourself that as you’ve 'ruined the diet' you may as well eat everything in sight until you start again on Monday. So you eat until you feel terrible and berate yourself that you’re a failure. This cycle tells you that YOU'RE not good enough and there must be something wrong with you because everyone else seems to be able to do it right as your social media feed is full of photos of success stories. STOP! There is nothing wrong with you. You’re playing against someone with a loaded dice. The odds are never in your favour because no one has the willpower to restrict themselves forever. If you are successful in losing weight then in order to stay that thin, you have to stay on a restricted diet FOREVER. Your body is a machine and a smart one at that. The more you restrict the more adapts to the lower amounts of food. It lowers your metabolism to be as efficient as possible. When you go back to eating normally (which you invariably will) your metabolism doesn't speed up again - yup! It stays slow! This is the shitty piece of news which diet companies don't like to tell you. Diets are fucking up your body as well as your mind.
Diets tell you that there are good and bad foods.
Even when we think we have a balanced view of food we are often using dieting language. How many people here are ‘accidently dieting’ by labelling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or using words like ‘having a treat’ or ‘being naughty’? Even people who class themselves as ‘healthy’ are often excluding whole food groups they have demonised. BREAD IS NOT THE DEVIL! A piece of cake has no moral value in it. You are not a bad person for eating pasta. 'Normal eating' whatever it looks like for you should include a range of foods (cards, sugars and all) none of which are good or bad. Food is just food.
Diets don’t allow space for emotion.
We are living, breathing, feeling, emotional creatures. There are just some days when the only thing that will comfort you is a bowl of mashed potato. Rigorously sticking to chicken and salad is only going to make you more miserable. And the more we restict ourselves from what we really need, the more likely we are to binge. That is a fact. Read more about why emotionally eating is normal
Diets suck the life out of life. Who wants to go to dinner with the friend who only wants the salad and won’t even share a dessert with you. I used to avoid social occasions because I was afraid that the number on the scale would be affected. If I wasn't in control of what I was eating all the time it would make me anxious. This makes me so sad. Food is one of life’s pleasures and there is really nothing sadder than thinking about the thousands of people missing out on wonderful times with friends and family because of dieting. Diets keep us living for a mythical moment in the future when we will have reached our imagined goal weight, THEN we can start living. NO! Life is happening right now, and we must grab every moment while it lasts. Diets are literally taking away your life magic.
THROW AWAY THE DAMN SCALE. YOUR WORTH IS NOT A NUMBER.
Work out what healthy looks like for you. Build the vision of what that might might look like - empowered choices around food, more exercise, a new hobby, more home cooking. Think about all the things you’re going to ADD to your life instead of all the things you’re going to take out! And stop aiming for weight loss. It's only setting yourself up to fail.
Put all your effort into looking at your life holistically - from every angle - and stop thinking you'd only be happier if your body was different. The only thing you're losing when you put yourself on a restrictive diet, is your power. The power to choose your own happiness.
It has been proven again and again that diets do not work. At best they're boring but at they're worst they can lead to major dysfunctional eating for life.
THE ONLY SUSTAINABLE WAY TO HAPPINESS IS TO BUILD A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BODY AND WITH FOOD.
It’s a much slower process (and it is HARD) but only by unlocking how we eat, why we eat and our feelings of self-worth will the golden path to health and happiness be revealed - and weight loss may or may not be a glorious and inconsequential bonus.
If you feel like you need more support in getting rid of diet mentality, drop me a message and let's have a chat about how we can work together.
Until we're happy with how we are now, we'll never be happy in the future.
Love Harri x