Most of us have tried to diet at some point in our lives. Whether stricken with a disease that forces us to lose weight or the fact that we just want to look good for an upcoming event, we will go to great lengths to diet. We will eat more grapefruit, drink supplements, take pills, and read the next best-selling diet book to meet our goals. But, the sad truth is, diets fail-it’s that simple. Even if we stay true to the diet, once we meet our goals and go back to our old habits, the weight begins to creep back on. What keeps the weight off for good is creating a healthy lifestyle that will fit permanently into our life.
1. Fad diets fail because they slow our metabolism.
Generally, a fad diet is one that states it has found the magic bullet in weight loss. A fad diet may ask you to remove certain food groups or certain types of foods for a period of time, may suggest taking certain pills or eating or drinking certain foods or supplements. These diets significantly decrease calories in your diet and you lose weight. Sounds good. Because these diets are not usually realistic in the long run, when you return to your normal lifestyle, you gain most of the weight back. This happens because you have slowed down our metabolism–the way your body burns calories. Repeated dieting can make the problem worse, resulting in even faster weight gain. When you consume fewer calories than your body needs, your body will begin to hold on to the food that it does receive and store it as fat. The body does not like to be in this “starvation” mode. Also, when on these low calorie diets, your body begins to lose muscle mass as you lose weight. Your muscle mass helps to burn calories, therefore, the more muscle you lose, the slower your metabolic rate becomes. This vicious cycle makes it difficult to keep the weight off for good.
2. You may not be getting all the nutrients you need on a diet.
When a diet tells us to restrict certain food groups, our bodies may not be in proper nutrient balance. We need the nutrients from carbohydrates, fats and proteins to maintain normal body functions like controlling blood sugar levels. For example, when you restrict a food group, like carbohydrates, you may not be eating enough fiber in your diet. Fiber is important for helping remove waste from our bodies. Fiber can help you feel full, controls blood sugars and helps to lower cholesterol levels. Also, when we consume very low calorie diets, this may lead to mineral and electrolyte imbalances, which could become life threatening if not treated. Just because something says it is healthy, it may not be and you should always check with your doctor or dietitian before starting a weight loss program.
3. Diets can send us on an emotional roller coaster.
When we are on a diet, we often give it an all or nothing approach. If you have a bad day, you may beat yourself up emotionally, feeling as if you failed. The truth is, we are not perfect and it is good to enjoy the joys of certain foods. If you find that you are constantly riding the emotional roller coaster of diets, than you may not be ready to make lifestyle changes. Losing weight has more to do with being ready than just making a physical change to your body. A recent study showed that people who have a health-related reason for losing weight, were more successful than those who wanted to lose weight for appearance. Whether it was to lower cholesterol, maintain good blood glucose control, or to be able to have more energy to play with kids, the people who had a health-related reason were the ones who lost weight and kept it off. Are you ready to make changes to create a new, healthy, authentic life?