Why Diets Are Rarely Successful

Monday, 08. May 2017

Why Diets Are Rarely Successful

Diets are an age old fad that none the less often fail to succeed. Why is that? Read more here.

We've all heard of the yo-yo effect of dieting. Many people who have struggled with their weight have experienced this issue. No matter how hard you try to stick to your diet, you fall off the wagon and gain back lost pounds. 

Many paths lead to your desired weight

Today, there are an unprecedented range of ways to lose weight: from diet books to apps to training programs. Whether you try low-carb, low-fat, weight watchers or something else - there is a diet out there for everyone.

All these programs have something in common: if they are consistent, they'll help you get to your goal. The only problem is that lots of people gain the weight they lost back again after quitting their diet. 

A giant problem

Today, obesity is an extreme problem. More and more people are overweight, in fact obesity is becoming an epidemic. The health consequences of additional weight can include back pain, heart disease and diabetes and cost the health industry billions a year. 

Millions of genetic problems

The biggest problem in today's western societies comes back to the idea of foraging. We are genetically programmed to seek out unhealthy foods because we find calorie-rich foods particularly tasty.

This genetic trait used to be important because food was such a rare commodity. If you ate lots of food while it was available, you had better chances of survival. Our genetic programming tells us to eat when we can and only move when we have to-to find more food or reproduce.

We end up hurting ourselves

Today, this genetic program has turned on us. Over the past half century, we have had more high-calorie foods on the market than ever before. 

It's a curse and a blessing- we only rarely have to do hard physical work - if at all - and we also rarely suffer from hunger. On the other hand, we are drowning in a caloric flood that is difficult to say no to- because we are programmed not to.

Behavior management

In an environment where high calorie foods can be purchased on virtually every corner, we need to permanently modify your behavior. In terms of evolution, today's society is in completely new territory. There has never been such a large, constantly available food supply at arm's reach.

Please note: You get fat quickly

Today you do not have to eat much to get fat. Basically, being overweight is defined by consuming more calories than you need every day. In the long term, a few hundred calories every day can make quite a difference in our bodies. The excess of energy simply transforms our body into fat - which is saved as an emergency energy supply for bad times.

People who do not like to do sports or have an office job can easily gain weight. If you eat just a little more, you gain weight.

Problematic protection mechanisms 

To lose weight, you need to reduce the energy you consume. There are two ways to do this: either consume fewer calories than you need, or burn more than you have.

One problem is that your body needs to adapt to the changes you make, so that your metabolism can catch up. It can be difficult for your body to adapt.

What was important for our survival in the past makes it difficult for us to lose weight today.

The only solution:

It's hard to hear, but if you want to keep your weight off long term, you need long-term strategies. A fight against excess weight is a lifelong commitment. 

  • Cognitive eating control - but done right : diets are very strict, which is why we can't endure them long term. Completely giving up certain foods often leads to us losing control. Once you slip up once, it is hard to go back. We have lots of excuses that get in our way. 
    Consider using rewards rather than punishments in your diet. Allow yourself some little sins along the way. Have you exercised three times this week? Treat yourself to something sweet or a pack of chips. 
  • Pay attention when shopping : This is really simple: don't buy anything you don't want to eat. Leave behind the unhealthy snacks. Write a shopping list and stick to it! 
  • Regularly weigh yourself: I weigh myself once a week and record the results. This lets you be aware of patterns and changes.
  • Keep a journal: Write down everything that you eat or drink so that you can quickly see negative patterns and the positive ones.