5 Reasons Why Dieting Doesn't Work {Long Term} and What to Try Instead

Diana Marlin, RD, LDN

Diana Marlin, RD, LDN

5 Reasons Why Dieting Doesn’t Work {Long Term}

  1. Diets often don't make sense in real life. You may find it easy to follow a weight loss diet program for a short amount of time, but once a holiday, birthday, or dinner out with friends pops up, you may realize that it is not realistic to account for every bite you eat, or never eat foods that don’t fit the plan you’re following. This can lead to feeling like you've lost control and 'fallen off the wagon' any time you eat foods that don't fit the diet. This leads to yo-yo dieting.

  2. Restriction often results in yo-yo dieting, which can result in weight re-gain that surpasses the initial amount of weight lost once you stop strictly following the diet, or losing and re-gaining the same 10 pounds each time you start and stop a program.

  3. 'Going on a diet' is inherently temporary. People often go on diets with a finish line in mind: whether it's an upcoming vacation, reunion, wedding, etc. Unless you plan to eat that way for the rest of your life, you will not reap long term benefits from short term dietary changes

  4. Diet programs don't need to prove long term success to have convincing ads. It is easy for weight loss programs to advertise the short term success of their clients as proof that their program 'works', and then blame those same clients’ lack of willpower for not keeping the weight off long term {instead of acknowledging the known physical, biochemical, and psychological mechanisms that make long term weigh loss so statistically unlikely to maintain.}

  5. Food restriction can make it harder to have a happy, healthy and balanced relationship food.

5 Things to Try Instead

  1. Take time to determine which foods nourish YOU, satisfy YOU, and make YOU feel well, then find ways to incorporate them into your life in a balanced way. Your diet doesn't need to come with a name. It should be balanced, enjoyable, nourishing, and deeply satisfying to you.

  2. Embrace the fact that you are worthy and wonderful AS YOU ARE. True lasting wellness comes more naturally from a place of self care and love than it does from self deprivation and self doubt. The simple fact is, you can gain wellness without changing the way your body looks.

  3. Honor your hunger. Listen to when you feel hungry and what you feel hungry for, and do your best to honor this. It is difficult to feel full and satisfied if you eat foods you aren’t hungry for.

  4. Ditch the smaller plate concept and replace it with the balanced plate concept. It makes sense in theory to eat off of a smaller plate to eat smaller portions...but that will just leave you hungry! Eating well isn't about eating LESS, but about eating foods that nourish and satisfy you. Grab a big plate and pile it high with a balance of nourishing foods!

  5. Be patient with yourself, and understand that wellness is not an all or nothing situation. Erase the mindset that there is a wagon to fall off of, and instead, take every day as a new opportunity to learn what works (and what doesn't work) for you.

Diana Marlin