Why You Shouldn't Start Another Diet
4 reasons why diets are doomed to failure
I understand (and respect) the fact that you want to lose weight. It is not for me to judge whether your motives are good or not, right or wrong. But one thing I can assure you: Starting a new diet is a terrible way to achieve the lasting weight loss you want.
If you still doubt that diets are so doomed to failure, check out my top four reprimands about them. I hope you’re convinced that you do not need to start a diet ever again!
# 1 Don’t read the next line!
This is exactly what happens when someone tells you that you “can’t eat something”.
Restricting food gives them magnetic power.
It is in our nature to want what is off-limits. Do you know the maxim, “Everything that is forbidden is more pleasurable?” — it is well-founded.
If you put certain foods “out of reach” on the banned and “shouldn’t” list, they are more attractive. This can lead you to make less nutritious choices simply because you don’t know when you will have the opportunity to eat that again.
And maybe that’s why you find yourself voluntarily choosing to eat your friend’s stuffed cookie for the afternoon snack when you have that apple in your bag.
# 2 The induced food choices system (diet) disconnects you from your innate nutrition system
All those diets and eating plans teach us, unfortunately, is how to outsource responsibility for what we are eating. We are led to believe that we are incompetent to make assertive food choices, that our body is wrong and our appetite is unreliable.
This chronically leads us to lose our autonomy to eat — the one where we were born with and was repeatedly neglected by so many rules of “wipe your plate”, “this can and not”, “if you eat everything you will get dessert”, among others.
Diets assume that your body is unreliable in determining what to eat. You are led to believe that your body, which is capable of healing cuts alone and generating life in a belly, is somehow unable to choose good quality fuel.
Abandoning the induced choice system is a prerequisite for you to be able to practice nutrition from the inside out and reconnect with your body signals.
# 3 Experts make mistakes too, and science evolves all the time
Although nutrition has been properly studied for less than a century, we have eaten since the world exists. Believe me, your body knows what to do.
What I mean here is that Nutrition is a new science. General nutritional recommendations for population health have changed several times over the last three decades, at least here in Brazil.
I don’t want to downplay science, but I ask you to be critical of the kind of information source you consume. We often find contradictory results on the same subject and, unfortunately, not all scientific articles are unbiased.
Additionally, the accuracy of dietary prescription calculation software and calorie monitors disregard one crucial point: you are not a robot.
Your body is more complex than an input and output equation, because a simple change in your emotional state can alter your physiological mechanisms.
Think about it when you get caught up in the calorie obsession.
# 4 Knowing what you should not eat gives you no tools to effectively not eat it
Knowing how many calories you can eat in one day does not give you the ability to respect the limit.
Swapping nachos for cucumber sticks does not address the real reasons why you are eating without hunger.
The biggest problem with rule-based eating is that it is based solely on willpower.
Willpower is a finite resource that works best when you don’t need it — when you’re in a good mood, happy and cheerful. At these times, willpower is confused with motivation.
The moment you are tired, sad, stressed, bored, etc., it is not enough to keep you away from chocolate.
Willpower is used when you want to control behavior. A healthy relationship with food cannot be based on control, because any relationship based on control is not peaceful, it is abusive.
A healthy relationship with food is based on pleasure, freedom, and respect — things that dismiss willpower because they are based on love.
If you are not convinced yet…
Think you stayed for a minute holding your breath underwater. When you surface, would you breathe normally?
You would probably breathe desperately, panting, drawing much more air than you would normally need.
That is the same response you have food deprivation. It is a physical and psychological compensation.
When you give in (breathe) it is almost impossible to control or stop.
This is why you feel that there is no tomorrow. Knowing that tomorrow everything will be forbidden again is like knowing that you will be out of breath again.
Dieting teaches you to ignore your hunger and satiety signals and makes you obsessed with food when you are not physically hungry, and urges you to eat nonstop when you break a rule.
What can you do then?
Abundantly nourish your body with nutrient-rich foods, respect your hunger and appetite and abolish “bans”, making sure that you can “breathe” whenever you want.
Enjoyed this article? You’re sure to like this too about how your way of thinking is hindering your weight loss!
I am a Brazilian girl (living in Sao Paulo with my fiancé — and another 20 million people). I love coffee, books, and good food. I also really enjoy studying and learning new things that allow me to further develop myself both professionally and personally. I have a degree in Food Science and hold a Ph.D. in Agri-food Marketing. Also, I am a Certified Nutrition Coach and an enthusiastic Nutrition student.
There is a power that comes alive when women free themselves from the food prison in which they have learned to live, when they realize that they are capable and deserving of feeling fantastic in their bodies, and that confidence is a state of mind — not a body lotion which you get the right to use when you reach a weight-loss goal.
My work is dedicated to nurturing, celebrating and sharing this message.