The turkey dinner is finished, the box of Celebrations is full of empty wrappers and the selection boxes have been demolished. That means one thing, time for the influx of January diets.
The diet industry is very clever; they know exactly when to pounce. That is when you’ll feel at your heaviest and will do whatever it takes to feel better. Queue the next quick fix.
Now, of course you will be tempted to jump on the bandwagon of the fad diet frenzy. After all, you will be promised quick and easy weight loss without lifting a finger – sounds perfect and just what you need to shake off the December pounds. They might suggest fasting, juicing, only eating certain foods, etc. – you get the picture. One thing is for sure: you will be sold a concept that suggests to lose weight you must take drastic action which requires you to cut out food groups.
I know you may be tempted but please read on. Let this be the year that you ditch the fad diets in favour of something that will work long-term so that this time next year, you are not still struggling with the same five pounds. It is time to break the diet cycle.
1: The diet industry is a multibillion dollar industry
Someone is making a lot of money from you .
Before jumping onto the next trendy diet, we need to remember that the diet industry is a multibillion dollar industry. Top psychologists will have been employed to understand how best to sell this diet to you. They have the money to invest in heavy marketing to ensure that this diet is extremely desirable to you, feeding on your vulnerability and desperation to lose weight rapidly. Next time you are tempted to start a diet, please remember that you are tumbling into a sales funnel designed to make you believe that this is the miracle fix to all of your problems.
Unfortunately, health professionals don’t have billions of dollars to spend on promoting effective weight loss strategies. A lot of the money is spent treating diseases which result from the diet industry.
In short – the diet industry would not be sustainable if you lost weight. They are designed to fail.
2: If diets worked, do you think we would not have an obesity epidemic?
I am human. I too have times where I believe the next fad diet might just be the true answer to the overweight epidemic. As I said, the marketing is effective and convincing. But then I remember that over 90% of diets fail and if there truly was one diet that worked, every single person who wanted to lose weight would be doing it and we most certainly would not have rising rates of obesity. We have been brainwashed to believe that diets work, when the reality is that most people end up heavier in the long-run. (See point above, you will be a lifelong customer for the diet industry.)
Next time you believe that a fad diet is the answer to your problems, just think: is this something that you can do long-term? If not, then don’t bother you have still won’t have gotten to the root of the issue.
3. Diets can lead to disordered eating
Cutting out food groups, having strict food rules, having “good” and “bad” foods, conflicting advice from different diets… all of this is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your relationship with food. As a registered dietitian, I spend most of my time educating people about nutrients and why they are essential in the diet. For clients who have dieted for many years, it can be very difficult for them to let go of these acquired food rules. Diets do damage to our relationships with food.
Food becomes the enemy and something we are always trying to restrain ourselves from. If we think about it, this is utter madness and this restriction feeds cycles of binge eating. Do yourself a favour and don’t start another diet that will only deepen any confusion that you have around food. No food is good or bad on its own, it’s what you do over a 7-day period that matters. We need to take an eagle eye view of our diets just like we would any other area of our lives. Stop villainising carbs, fats, and chocolate. Learn how to eat them in a way that allows you to enjoy your life and achieve your goals.
4. Diets are like putting a plaster on an infected wound
There is no denying that diets do work in the short-term. They all work on the same basis. By cutting something out of your diet, you ultimately reduce your calorie or energy intake and therefore your body must take energy from your fat stores. It is not rocket science. This does not make the diet du jour a miracle worker. If I left you on a desert island with water and a calorie-controlled selection of healthy foods, the same thing would happen. The reason the diet works is because there are rules to follow. People tend to do well with rules – moderation is the hard part.
So where lies the problem? What happens when you stop the diet and go back to eating the foods you were advised to cut out? Well, the weight goes back on. Why? Because you never learned how to cope with the “problem” foods in your diet in moderation or, you might say, you haven’t disinfected the wound.
Let’s break it down:
This is like bringing your car to the mechanic because it keeps breaking down. The mechanic quickly realises that you have been putting diesel in the engine instead of petrol and that is the reason why your car keeps breaking down. If the mechanic doesn’t tell you this, you can’t resolve the issue and so you continue to put diesel in a petrol engine. Most people would be furious if this continued to happen repeatedly without an explanation. You certainly wouldn’t continue to go to the same mechanic and I don’t think they would get a heartfelt review from you?
Well this is the same thing with diets. A diet is like a mechanic fixing your car without telling you why the issue is happening in the first place. If you don’t understand which behaviour is causing you to gain weight in the first place, then how can you ever overcome it?
In short, quick fix diets will not work because you have not dealt with the underlying cause.
So what now?
If you truly want to lose weight, boost your energy and feel at your healthiest then this is most definitely possible. This will require altering your current diet and lifestyle habits, managing stress, increasing your sleep and most importantly, altering your mindset and allowing the time necessary for change. Diets are not designed to teach you how to nourish yourself.
Embark on a nutritional education programme today to learn once and for all the true secrets to long-term successful weight loss, and I guarantee you it won’t involve pills, shakes, fasting or any other drastic action.
Take it from someone who has personal and professional experience in the area: behaviour change is the true recipe for success.
Make 2019 the year you transform your health.