People don't fail diets, diets fail people

People quit diets for many reasons, and when they do they can feel unduly guilty. In reality, most diets are destined to fail in the long term.
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Judging by the calendar, many of the people who resolved start a diet for New Years have quit by now. If you’re among them, don’t beat yourself up. The reality is that most diets fail within a few weeks of starting and in many ways it isn’t the fault of the dieter, but of the diet. It seems that new diets are invented, promoted and sold every year, but from Atkins to Keto they tend to follow the same idea: restrictive cuts lead to rapid weight loss. The results might be significant, they are often temporary. Barring medical necessity, most people struggle with cutting an entire food group, like carbs, to an insignificant number of calories. Sticking to a diet regime that is so restrictive as to be impossible to sustain for the long term can lead to feelings of guilt, failure and frustration. These repeat roadblocks can result in yo-yo dieting. This happens when a person drops weight on a highly restrictive diet, gives up because of the difficulty, returns to old eating habits and regains all the weight they lost. Yo-yo dieting can cause negative health effects that can be equally as unhealthy as extra weight. There are several common reasons that diets fail, and recognizing them can help repeat dieters find a new way to relate to nutrition. Cutting food items leads to fixation Many people find that when a food item is labelled as forbidden, it becomes all the more tantalizing. Dieters can find themselves fantasizing about restricted foods. When you can’t get the idea of crispy garlic bread or a slice of chocolate cake out of your head, it can lead to overeating those forbidden foods when your willpower fails. Restricting calories or foods can lead to future bingeing When faced with restriction, people tend to bounce back with bingeing. Whether the reason is psychological or physiological, humans have difficulty with long-term fasting. When our willpower fails, we can fall into a pattern of overeating. Fewer calories, slower metabolism Have you ever woken up the day after Thanksgiving and felt like you gained five pounds? The feeling was emotional, not physical. Faced with unexpected extra calories our metabolisms kick into high gear to burn them. The reverse happens when we consume too few calories for an extended period of time. Faced with the possibility of starvation, the metabolism compensates by slowing down. This can explain the “plateau” that some dieters face even after finding success. Weight loss often means muscle loss Not all weight loss is healthy, and when we drop weight, we drop it everywhere. Overly restrictive diets can lead to a loss of muscle mass as well as fat. This slows the weight loss process even further. Lean muscle mass speeds up our metabolisms, so as muscle mass decreases the metabolism slows. Dieting prioritizes weight loss over health There are proven health benefits to healthy eating and exercise, even when they don’t lead to weight loss. Increased cardiovascular health and a decreased risk of cancer are important gains, but they can’t be measured on a bathroom scale or in a clothing size. Fixating on weight can cause dieters to give up otherwise healthy lifestyle changes out of frustration. So what is the solution if not dieting? Lasting change is often incremental. If you are interested in losing weight permanently, talk with your doctor and make changes that you can stick with permanently. Replacing unwanted habits with doable, attainable changes. ]]>

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