Rozzi J: Three Reasons You Should Never Diet Again If You Want To Lose Weight

You decide it’s time to lose weight. You already know what to do, don’t you? You’ve done this so many times before. After all, it’s simple maths – calories in, calories out; eat less, move more. So you brace yourself for the start of another diet. Surely this is the one that will work, and this time, you promise yourself, you’ll stick to it and see it through to the end. 

Except that this or any other diet won’t work, not really. Sure, you may lose a bit of weight to begin with, but eventually you always fall off the wagon and put the weight back on. You always come back to square one, even more frustrated and deflated than before. 

Please hear this: it’s not just you! 

In fact, it’s well proven in the scientific world that diets don’t work for long term weight loss. For example, Dr Traci Mann and her team at UCLA rigorously analysed 31 long-term diet studies and concluded that

“…the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.”

There are a number of physiological reasons why when it comes to weight loss, diets fail us long-term. But in this article, I want to shed light on the key psychological reasons that often go unnoticed, but behind the scenes block your weight loss efforts. 

Here are the three main reasons why you should ditch the diets for good if you want to lose weight and keep it off. 

  •  Diets lead to cravings & food obsession

Let me paint you a picture – you start a new diet that requires you to cut out carbs or sugar (or both). As an experienced dieter, you dive right in, focus on your salads & soups and put your blinkers on when anyone mentions bread, pasta or cake. You start off strong with max will-power but with every passing day, it gets harder and harder to not think about those naughty foods you’re trying to avoid. It seems the more you resist those foods, the more you crave them and the more irresistible they seem! Until someone brings in some homemade cookies or you give into that glorious piece of bread that keeps looking at you from across the kitchen. Ah well, you’ve given in now, may as well eat the lot and forget the diet. 

There are two main reasons this happens. 

  1. The first reason is that the mind works in images and it doesn’t understand negatives. So if you decide you must not think about chocolate, your mind only understands that chocolate is important. The mind then creates the image of the word (in this case chocolate), and since it understands that this is something that’s important for you, it starts scanning your environment for chocolate! That’s why when you cut out carbs or sugar or limit in any way what you can eat, you end up craving and obsessing with those very foods! 
  2. Diets are based on restriction – limiting the amount or type of food you can eat. Restriction often comes with a feeling of deprivation – the feeling of wanting something that you can’t have. And the little rebel part of your mind does not like that one little bit! The more you restrict something, the more you want it. When you can’t have something you want, it almost adds a special halo around that thing and you want it more than ever just because it’s not allowed. This can be a big part of why so many of us on diets end up bingeing when we finally give into that little rebel voice telling you to go and eat the chocolate anyway
  • Diets rely on willpower & motivation

Diets, willpower & motivation go hand in hand, don’t they? Before you start a diet, you have to summon all your motivation and get yourself into that “diet mindset”, lock in your focus on the goal (losing weight) and prepare for what you know may be a rough ride. And when eventually you fall off the diet wagon, you, like everyone else, will likely blame yourself for not being strong enough and not having enough willpower. 

Well I’m here to dispel that myth. It’s not your fault you can’t stick to a diet after the initial excitement. The reason for this is that diets rely on using your willpower and willpower is a finite resource that runs out. It’s handy for short term bursts of motivation to do something that’s outside of your comfort zone or something you may not really want to do, for example braving the cold as you walk the dog in the pouring rain. But you only have a limited supply of willpower and you can’t rely on it long term. And since eating is something we do multiple times every day, we need a better long term strategy. 

Let me ask you this – how much willpower does a vegan need to stay away from bacon? Most likely close to zero. A vegan doesn’t need to force or will themselves to not eat bacon, because they just don’t want to. And that is where the magic lies – in getting your mind to not want to eat the foods you are trying to avoid or better yet, to want to eat healthy foods instead. 

  • Diets always have an expiry date

When you go on another diet, how often do you ask yourself if you can do this diet for the rest of your life? Most of us see diets as a means to an end – we think that by putting in a huge effort upfront, we’ll lose the extra weight and that will be the end of it. But that’s rarely the case. 

A much more likely dieting story is that you go all out, do your best, see some results, but cravings & self-sabotage kick in and eventually you go back to your old ways (and more often than not, your starting weight). 

Your “old ways” is your default setting, your eating habits that feel comfortable and familiar. So if what feels familiar is having regular takeaways, eating chocolate and icecream in the evenings or overeating or munching any food just because it’s nearby, trying to change that through dieting is going to be a hard slog. That’s because the mind loves what’s familiar, even if it’s not what you want. 

Your best bet out of this pickle is to focus on changing those default eating habits, so that eating healthy becomes your new normal and a part of your comfort zone. To do this, you have to give up the short term desperation to lose weight, realise that all those dieting fads never really work anyway, and focus on making long-term lifestyle changes that will stick. 

In conclusion, although counting calories or cutting out foods like carbs & sugar may help you lose a bit of weight in the short term, losing weight and keeping it off is a whole other ball game. Prolonged dieting ruins your relationship with food, leads to more cravings, food obsession & bingeing and when your willpower & motivation run out you’ll go back to your old habits. To truly lose the weight once and move past the weight struggle, you must get your mind on board to support you in making new healthy habits and long term lifestyle changes. 

Author: Rozzi J, women’s mind-body weight loss expert

Bio: Rozzi is a women’s mind-body weight loss expert, helping women end yoyo weight and reprogram their mind for diet-free weight loss, so they can become the happy, free & confident version of themselves in a body they love.


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