10 More Reasons Diets Don't Work
The statistics tell us that 98% of diets fail. This is shocking. This means that the multi billion dollar health and dieting industry that we all turn to time and time again has an overwhelming chance of failing us. Hear that again… you are not failing. The diets are failing you.
So why do intelligent people continue to offer up new “solutions” for our dieting woes that are ultimately just variations of the same theme? Every time I pick up a new diet book that claims not to be a “diet” it is still ultimately a diet. Even wellness plans packaged with "this is not a diet it's a lifestyle.." are still just diets. Why do we continue to buy into this?
The truth is, what we eat is only half the story. The other half encompasses our life experiences. Our past, present, and future. Who we are now and who we want to be. It encompasses our work life, our home life, our money troubles, our relationships, our sense of inner fulfillment, our susceptibility to addiction, our inability to properly manage feelings and emotions, our negative self talk, our perceptions of ourselves, and this list goes on… It’s not just about what you eat, it’s about what’s eating you.
So here are my top 10 reasons why we should all stop dieting and get back to living:
1. When we diet we are attacking the problem where it isn’t.
For example: When our stress levels increase we turn to food which can lead to weight gain. In an effort to lose the weight we resort to a destructive diet instead of addressing the actual problem… the stress. Compare the following:
- Get Stressed.
- Gain some weight.
- Hate on self.
- Go on unsustainable & restrictive diet.
- Lose weight quickly.
- Damage fragile metabolism.
- Start eating again (because you’re hungry).
- Gain weight back (because your physiology is now driving you to overeat).
- Get scared.
- Try a different diet.
- Get stressed.
- Gain some weight.
- Relax. Breathe. Cultivate compassion.
- Practice new self soothing and stress management strategies.
- Savor something delicious (because it helps).
- Take up yoga.
- Stress levels begin to return to normal.
- Desire to overeat naturally dissipates.
- Weight effortlessly returns to normal.
2. When we diet we are eating against our food culture.
We are literally salmon swimming upstream. The food we are surrounded by is never allowed on our diet so we begin to isolate. “No I can’t celebrate Christmas this year, I am on a diet.” Living in isolation is not fun so eventually we give up on the diet.
3. Dieting is hard.
It’s really hard. As humans we are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain and no one can sustain something for very long if they find it difficult and unpleasant.
4. We don’t think about what we’re going to do when the diet is over.
If we force weight loss by using a miserable restricting diet, then what will we do once we lose the weight? If the diet that got us there was truly awful, then once it’s over we still haven’t learned how to live a healthy life in a sustainable way. What will carry us through the rest of our lives at this goal weight?
5. Dieting often involves “hating ourselves” into “loving ourselves.”
This is backwards thinking. We believe that if we hate ourselves enough (think body parts) then we will be more likely to white knuckle our way through a pleasureless diet, lose weight, and finally start loving ourselves. This is ultimately an ineffective (and silly) approach. I might go so far as to argue that none of us are actually after weight loss or the perfect body… we're really just after what we believe the perfect body will afford us (think self-love, confidence, acceptance from others, etc.) This is false thinking.
6. Dieting involves control and force.
We as humans are naturally rebellious. I don’t care for chocolate cake, but tell me I can’t eat it and I will start obsessing over chocolate cake. What we try to control controls us. What we resist persists.
7. Diets don’t address stress.
If a weight loss strategy is stressful (stressful meal plans, stressful exercise routine) then it’s destined to fail. The toxic nature of the stress itself becomes counterintuitive to all our efforts. Stressing about dieting actual causes non-caloric weight gain (please be reminded this weight gain thing isn't inherently bad).
8. Weight problems aren't actually a problem.
Weight concerns are distractions. They keep us from focusing on our gifts and higher goals. Often times turning our attention away from our weight is more effective at producing weight loss than anything else. However, sometimes the body doesn't actually need or want to lose weight. If we're trying to restrict or control our food through dieting in order to try and control our bodies, it will likely only lead to further weight gain. Because in the eyes of our brilliant brains and bodies.... Weight gain is a GOOD thing.
9. Diets disempower us.
Following someone else’s idea of the perfect diet disengages us from our own bodies and its subtle messages. If you’re told that this food is good and that food is bad, then you might not notice when a “good” food upsets your stomach or when a “bad” food served to nourish your soul. Following strict diets pulls us further from being in connection with our own internal body wisdom. We are all capable of finding an individualized dietary approach that works well for us as individuals, but diets fail to nourish and cultivate this process.
10. Diets distract us from living the lives we’re meant to live.
We tend to get stuck thinking that life will finally start once we find the perfect diet and lose weight. But diets don’t work because they keep us from living out our fullest lives. The longer we stay distracted by diets, the more our lives will continue passing us by. Don’t keep your life and your dreams on hold any longer. Start living your authentic life now. I promise that can be done in ANY body.