Why Diets Don't Work



Hands up who has ever started a diet on 1st January?  Me…..  Hands up who has ever started a diet after a holiday or Easter? Me……  Hands up who’s waiting to start until after that big party you’ve got?  Me….


It’s always a tough gig to think about starting another diet because inevitably, we think restriction, depravation and even failure, particularly putting ourselves under pressure if we’ve set weight loss as a New Year’s resolution.  It seems to be an added pressure.


I have spoken to many people over the years that tell me about the diets they’ve tried in the past – everything from the more commonly recognised brands such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World to some of the more extreme such as the Cambridge diet where you replace food with shakes and the maple syrup diet where you drink a weird concoction of maple syrup hot water and cayenne pepper.  I’m not quite sure what this is meant to do except probably make you sick……


And to be fair I’ve tried most of them in my life, or a good fair few, always looking at the next fad and wondering if it will work.  To be honest, I was fairly unusual in the fact that I only became a persistent dieter in my 30s.  I’d always been slim and when I got into my first real relationship the pounds started to pile on as I settled into domesticity and thinking I could eat the same amount as my then partner whilst snuggled up on the sofa.


I remember one day when there had been a serious incident in our neighbourhood and the police were making house to house enquiries.  I leant over the sheet the officer was filling in and the description of me was “large build”.  I felt mortified, and decided it was time to start another diet.  Which of course I was successful up to a point before piling all the pounds back on plus some.  And every time I dieted and lost weight, when it went back on there always seemed to be extra pounds.


And so the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting became ingrained in me as much the self-loathing  and disgust I felt with my every increasing waistline.


So why is it that diets fail?  Well here’s my take on it.


Firstly, I don’t think we always identify a strong enough reason about why we want to change.  “Oh yeah I need to lose a few pounds” is enough motivation to get you going, but won’t inevitably keep you on the straight and narrow.  Brides are classic examples of successful dieters because they have an absolute goal and end date in mind and are often prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to be successful.  But I wonder how many of them put the weight back on once the magic day has passed by?  Willpower can start you off, but it won’t necessarily carry you through to success.


I’m quite lucky in the fact that through my fitness training I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t but there is so much conflicting information out there, we jump from one thing to the other trying to find the perfect remedy for our weight, and when it doesn’t work we’re often left feeling demotivated and confused.  The secret to losing weight isn’t that difficult, but if you’re not sure about



all the advice that you’re bombarded with, it’s hardly surprising that you struggle to do the right thing.  Honestly, there is no magic pill, it does take some effort and commitment, but more than that it’s about being consistent.  Not perfect, but consistent.


Once you’ve worked out what your main driver is, it’s about building strong foundations around several things.  In my video “The foundations for successful weight loss” I talk about the foundations of a house, and it’s the same with weight loss, you need to look at food/nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, motivation and habits.


What’s the point of promising you’ll get to the gym 5 times a week if your lifestyle isn’t going to

allow that?  If you travel away from home with work, you need to be able to fit things in around your schedule such as nutrition which may be more complex if you’re in a hotel.  And most traditional diets won’t cover these elements.  Let’s face it, we’re all different and therefore we need to look at what’s going to work for us as an individual rather than the masses who go to Slimming World.


By default, a diet has a beginning (I’ll start my diet on …) , middle (I’ve been on my diet x weeks and lost y pounds) and end (either getting bored or having a plateau, or making your goal and then not knowing how to sustain it).


Diet’s encourage you to change everything – you have a completely new eating plan which often means changing the type of food you’re eating, and what you’re cooking, all at once.  And this mass change I think is the key.  Willpower will only keep you going to a certain point.  And by having a made for you diet plan, you don’t actually learn about the best foods to eat or how to work your nutrition for you.


Finally, and somewhat cynically, the diet industry is worth $586 billion!  Frankly, the people that sell diets want you to fail so that you keep coming back.  They don’t want you to get sustainable results because they make money.  I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.  If you’ve ever been to a slimming group, you’ll see the consultant’s eyes light up as you walk back through the door for your next go at cracking the nut.  They want you to buy the products, come to the classes and spend the money.  Of course there are those people that are successful, but the percentage is very low.  85% of dieters fail – and that doesn’t surprise me at all.


As ever thanks for reading this, and if you have any question or would like to talk to me about my 12 week “Project You” transformation programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch lisa@lasfitnesshastings.co.uk or find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lisa.ali.520