5 reasons NOT to start a diet this new year

1. Failure is the probable result: most diets fail to help you lose weight or keep it off for any length of time. It is very likely that you’ll regain the weight back – if you have managed to actually lose any.  They fail for many reasons- mostly because you are human and diets are made for robots. What I mean is that humans (YOU!) were meant to eat good food, enjoy foods you love once in a while, eat with flexibility and eat with pleasure and occasionally for pleasure. Most diets take all of that away. They quiet your greatest internal food expert (hunger and fullness) and make you focus on an outside “expert” (a meal plan, forbidden foods, pills, etc).

2. You’ll always get what you’ve always gotten and then some:  If you have tried many diets in the past, and they have failed (presumably this is the reason why you want to start another one…), then chances are it won’t work. NOT because you’ve failed or did something wrong, but because dieting is a failed concept. Unfortunately, lack of losing weight may not be your only negative. Most people take their lack of success personally and fell like they themselves are failures rather than blaming the outrageous promises of the diet. Ads for diets are meant to hook you in; promise crazy results with even crazier suggestions of how to cut out food and fun. They are meant to dazzle and prey on people’s desperation to lose weight. Shame on them- NOT on you. Perhaps if we didn’t regard “being skinny” as the ultimate greatness, they would have less power.

3. There is a good change you may actually gain weight: not losing weight is a bummer. Gaining weight is an even bigger let down. This can be due to a few factors-  they can lower your “metabolism” (slow down the amount of calories you burn), increase your appetite and preoccupation with food as well as disconnecting your from your hunger and fullness cues.

4. They are a waste of good money: there are SO MANY other ways, that are far less costly and more effective to help you make changes to your life and diet. The secret all those diet books, pills and plans aren’t telling you- you can do it on your own with a few helpful books or websites. AND you don’t have to swallow any nasty shakes or bars. Consulting with a registered dietitian who are the experts on weight management will likely give you weight management tools that will help you for the rest of your life (vs diets that only help for the next few weeks). Just make sure you find one who specializes in weight management and takes the mindful eating/ intuitive eating approach.

5. They do not get to the bottom of why you have a certain lifestyle: they do not address the reasons why you emotionally eat, overeat, eat when you are not hungry and other hugely important aspects. They may claim they do this but many are too focused on meal plans, counting carbs/points or special products to actually help you explore these habits. Doing mental exercises that help you understand why you eat, why certain foods are chosen over others, and what emotions push you to eat are rarely included. In fact, some diets may actually fuel your emotional and binge eating.

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