3 Reasons Why Diets Don’t work and 3 Things To Do Instead
During my life, I’ve tried so many diets and supplements. Just name the diet and I’m sure I tried it. Low carb, high protein, keto, fasting, metabolism diet, carb cycling, and many more.
I was there, I tried it and it worked…but only for some time and then my body stopped burning fat. Strict diets simply don’t work and there are three main reasons why.
But why is that? Why do diets work for some time and then out of nothing you stop seeing results? Well, there are mainly three reasons why
First of all, your body and your mind don’t like restricting foods and declaring foods good and bad. When we don’t get enough food, our brain goes into scarcity mode. Imagine your brain getting fearful and asking itself: “When will I get food (or my favorite food) again?”. This mental state can trigger binge-feelings, impact the physical body composition, lower energy levels, and reduce serotonin and dopamine production – our happy hormones.
A long time ago, I was a huge fan of restricting food and with every new diet I started I thought “that’s it, this diet will change everything”. The only thing that changed, was I banned different foods from my life and thought that would make me happy or skinny or whatever goal I had at that time.
I was eating “clean” for weeks and my cravings got worse and worse every single day but I forced myself not to eat this little piece of chocolate or the pasta I wanted to eat because in my mind that would have messed up my progress. I kept doing this until I couldn’t handle it anymore and fed my body with all the fast food and sweets I could get and find.
The moment I ate everything I desired for weeks was amazing but the second I stopped I felt like trash… what have I done? Why did I eat all these bad forbidden foods and calories? The day after I punished myself with hours of cardio to burn all the bad calories I ate and I was starving myself. This leads us to the second reason why diets won’t work
Did you know… that according to the Council on Size & Weight Discrimination, 95% of dieters regain their lost weight within one to five years? Research tells us also that dieters regain weight regardless of whether they maintain their diet or exercise program. It doesn’t matter the diet: low-carb, low-fat, ketogenic, whatever.
The fact is no matter what diet you try, you will have to ban some sort of food out of your life or the calorie intake is ridiculous small that your body will stop reacting to save you from starving to death. The moment your brain receives the message that you won’t be able to eat carbs, you will start craving them, and the more you restrict them the more you want them: it’s science!
Of course, you will lose weight at the beginning but at some point, you can’t cut more calories and your metabolism will slow down to save energy. You will feel hungry, angry, and without energy all the time and at some point, you will lose the motivation and go back to your old lifestyle where all the amount of food you want is allowed. All the weight you lost is back in a few weeks and the starvation was for nothing. Frustrating right?
What about the super expensive magic supplements where you don’t have to change anything and by taking one pill or one specific shake a day all your fat problems vanish? I can guarantee that with most of these magic supplements the only thing that vanishes is your money…
Diets are not associated with long-term weight loss. Moreover, diets create a restrictive, controlling relationship with food. Acid Alkaline Diet, Paleo, Juice Cleanse, Ketogenic…are very popular diets, but also among the worst (not surprisingly) for your body and for mind. The research behind many diets is lacking it makes no sense to have a one-size-fits-all approach. One thing’s for sure: eliminating an entire food group or preferring one micro or macronutrient over the others is a horrible idea.
What all these diets have in common is the result: a slowed metabolism, lowered energy levels, hormonal imbalances and many gastrointestinal issues. So what to do instead
1. Intuitive eating
My personal experience taught me to listen to my body carefully. I’m a woman with a menstrual cycle and my hormones are changing constantly during the month. The key is eating for physical, rather than emotional, reasons. If your body is craving food and needs a bigger portion, give it more food. Since I started to change my relationship with food and listen properly to my body, all the crazy cravings vanished.
2. Eat food you enjoy without the guilt
There will be days where I’m happy and satisfied with my green juice and oatmeal and other days where I want cookies and pizza. What I can say is that you’ll have a better relationship with food when you listen to your body’s needs and cues. And you know what the best part of this is? I love my body more than ever and I feel so good about enjoying all the food. There is no more good or bad food, there is only food I like and food I don’t like.
3. Create a lifestyle instead of losing time with diets
I apologize if you were reading everything and expecting I’m telling you what diet and supplement work because there is no specific plan to follow. Don’t “diet.” Instead, focus on forming healthy habits for life.
The only plan you can follow is to change your current lifestyle to a realistic and healthier lifestyle where you change habits gradually. If your lifestyle doesn’t make you happy and doesn’t allow you to enjoy life, it will be impossible to make it a lifestyle. You will just end up failing in another frustrating diet.
There is no magic pill, no magic workout, and no magic diet. If you want to get there you need to take the stairs like everybody else. If someone is telling you something else they probably are trying to sell you something. If you need any help to get started I’m happy to help!