Most people who join my courses have tried various diets but never got any lasting results (that’s why they come to me!) These are the reasons why diets don’t work (these are my observations, there can be lots of other reasons and I think for everyone these might be slightly different so please feel free to add your own in the comments!).

 

1. Unrealistic expectations.

Simply, too much too soon. I’m always a bit baffled when people are disappointed for losing ‘only’ 2 pounds in a week. 2lbs is the max you can and should lose for it to be sustainable. Anything over that is more than likely not going to stay off. I think it’s because of all the crash diets and their marketing messages that people expect to lose much more. It’s also our culture, we want everything now and with as little effort as possible. Unfortunately, our bodies haven’t quite evolved with our culture in that sense!
Think about all the times you lost a lot of weight fast – it all came back, didn’t it?. So clearly that approach didn’t work, time to try something new!

 

Change your thinking:

This can be hard because all those marketing claims sound so good but try to learn to think that any loss is better than nothing, so one pound loss in a week is good, it’s a step in the right direction and you can be sure that that pound stays off for good and many more will follow with very little effort.

 

2. Too strict

Fast weight loss requires drastic measures, so you have to be strict and use a lot of will power. It is HARD work. Studies have shown that the diet rules people have the more likely they are to end up binge eating on the very foods they’re trying to avoid!

 

Change your thinking:

The more it feels like dieting, the more willpower it requires and the less likely you are to keep the weight off. Aim for a lifestyle change rather than just weight loss. Give yourself plenty of time. Work on your relationship with food.

 

3. Negativity

Diets always focus on what you can’t have, what you’re not allowed.Food is labelled good or bad according to how it affects your weight (the rules vary depending on the diet). Even the kind of messages you see around this tend to be slightly negative – there’s cheat meals, confessions (I’ve been bad), a lot of memes you see are about how hard work it is but it’ll pay off etc. Personally, I don’t like this, it makes me feel bad about myself because I have no willpower, I don’t like hard work and it instantly makes me think about the fact that most likely, I will fail. There so much focus on the possibility of failure that that’s why people fail. I’m getting anxious just thinking about it!

 

Change your thinking:

Think positive. Focus on the new yummy foods you can enjoy (there are plenty!), how exciting it is to discover new foods and learn to like things you thought you wouldn’t like. Think about the positive impact this has on your health, your whole body (not just the size of it) and your mental health. Think about how one small change, followed by another one and another one, is going to lead to a major lifestyle change. If you make one change a month, in a year you will have made 12 big changes – how amazing is that? Take the focus off weight alone and learn about nutrition and why processed foods are so damaging to health. Even though this means that you shouldn’t eat them, you can learn to think about this in a positive way – once you learn what they do to you and how misleading and sneaky food marketing is, how you’re being fooled by the industry, you’ll go off processed foods. Why would you even want to eat something that is destroying your health and making you miserable? It’s nothing to do with weight, even if you are slim, these foods are still going to damage your health and put you at higher risk of many serious illnesses. Likewise, even if you’re overweight, eating healthy will almost instantly improve your health.  See it as a positive thing, you are going to stop torturing and damaging your body and health with all the junk food and you’ll be nourishing it with good stuff instead.

 

4. Focus on weight

Obviously, it’s unhealthy to be overweight, there’s no question about that. That said, if you are overweight now, you can start being healthy today, you don’t have to wait until you’re slim. If you start eating well now your health will almost immediately improve. Recent research has shown that if an overweight person is active, they can actually be as healthy as normal weight person. Slim people aren’t automatically healthier. In fact, I think those people who never seem to put on weight, no matter what they eat, probably have the worst deal because the junk food is still damaging their health (slim people get sick too!) but because we’re so focused on weight, they feel (and everyone around them confirms this) that they’re lucky because they can eat whatever they want and don’t put on weight, so they don’t have a strong incentive to change their diets.

 

Change your thinking:

Health is more important than weight. If you focus on health first, weight loss will automatically follow, even if it’s a bit slower than what you’re used to. If you focus on fast weight loss, it’s quite likely that your health will suffer.

 

5. Lose weight = look good = be happy (finally)

Most women think ‘if only I could lose some weight, then I’d be happy’. Marketeers know this, so they obviously market diets to us confirming this belief – all weight loss ads are basically saying we can make you happy. Buy this and then you’ll be good enough. This is not just diets, it’s mascaras, hair colours, chocolates etc – they all claim to be the key to our happiness! Their is no better customer than an insecure woman!

 

Change your thinking:

If you can’t be happy with yourself now, you won’t be happy when you’re slim. Weight is just like money: money is great if you’re happy with yourself first (with or without any money), then it can increase your happiness. However, if you need it to make you happy, i.e. if your happiness depends on it, then you’ll never be happy and the money will only cause stress and trouble. Weight is the same. If you’re happy with yourself and love yourself unconditionally even when you’re overweight, then being slim will feel great and losing weight will be quite easy because happy people don’t feel the need to comfort eat. However, if your happiness depends on being slim, you’ll never be happy. It’ll be hard work and you’ll never be perfect enough. Learn to love yourself unconditionally now, the way you are. Realise that you are perfect the way you are and once you realise that, you’ll automatically start treating yourself as you would treat someone you love and respect and I promise you the weight loss will be just a bonus.

 

6. Diets don’t address emotional eating

This was pretty much covered in the last point but I really want to emphasise this. The key reason why women struggle with weight is emotional eating and lack of self love. Of course, you also need to know what to eat but that’s the easy part – it’s just been turned into rocket science by the diet industry. The diet industry wouldn’t exist if people realised how simple it is! I would say weight loss and health is 10% knowledge/facts and 90% working on your emotions, learning to love yourself.
The more you approach your weight from the outside, i.e. with just managing your diet and focusing on your looks, the more your self esteem suffers, which leads to more emotional eating – this is the destructive cycle so many women are stuck in. Physically, the results might be fast but they don’t last long because you haven’t healed the underlying cause of your weight – your self esteem. If you start from the inside instead, working on your emotional issues and learning to accept yourself, realising that you are good enough, you’re getting to the root of it and creating a permanent change that is easy to maintain.

 

Change your thinking:

It can be hard to get your head around this one but be open minded. Realise that there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not lazy or unable to lose weight, you’ve just approached this whole thing from the wrong end. Be compassionate towards yourself. There are no mistakes, no failures, no wagon to fall off of. Whatever you do is just fine. You’re doing your best for YOU and it’s good enough. Be patient with yourself. Trust yourself – people have been feeding themselves and their kids since times began without any books, experts or google, so it can’t be that hard, right?

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