When you hear the word “diet,” what pops into your head? Hungry miserableness? Rice cakes? Failure? You get the sad picture. Instead of the dreaded D-word, I prefer the term “meal planning” or “nutritional guidelines.” Why? These options ditch the strict rules and emphasize picking healthy, whole, and yummy choices that leave you feeling energized and satisfied. Convinced yet? Here are the top ten reasons to ditch the diet cycle forever:
1. Diets Don’t Deliver
The problem with most diets is that they’re too restrictive to realistically fit into our daily lives. They tell you exactly what to eat, when, and how much. However, they don’t take into consideration your taste buds, lifestyle, emotions, and hormones, and not to mention what your family will or won’t tolerate at the dinner table. Let’s face it—most diets are impossible to follow for a long period of time. If you want weight loss to be a life-long thing, focus on making gradual, healthy changes to your eating habits.
2. Fads Diets Are Just Fads
We’ve tried them all: the low-fat diet; the low-carb diet; and the numerous cleanses that promise rapid weight loss and body renewal; and too many others that have done absolutely nothing to make a dent in the rising rates of obesity. These diets are restrictive, often proven unscientific, and can be gimmicky. Most people can only stay with them for a few days to a month—which is about how long it takes for any weight they lose to come right back.
3. Diets Are Temporary
The quick fix approach has proven ineffective—both in the labs and in real life. Once you give into your cravings or go back to living a normal lifestyle, you are no better off than before you started dieting. The concept of “yo-yo dieting” means that when you restrict yourself so much on your diet, you’re setting yourself up for failure and end up binging on the “guilty pleasures” you’ve been missing, making you gain the weight you lost right back.
4. Diets Deplete Your Energy
It’s no coincidence that the first three letters of “diet” spell “die” because that’s exactly what happens to your energy level! Drastically reducing your calorie intake and eliminating certain nutrients from your body can cause your moods to change. Dieting leaves you feeling tired, lethargic, and irritable. Your body needs fuel to function properly. If you’re consuming too little, your metabolism will shift into starvation mode. By slowing down the rate at which your body burns calories, dieting can actually cause those frustrating plateaus, where the scale won’t budge, even though you’re eating like a bird. To keep your energy high and your metabolism running smoothly, keep your body fueled with five or six mini-meals per day.
5. Diets Aren’t Always Healthy
Any diet that eliminates an entire food group isn’t going to be healthy and provide you with balanced nutrients you need every day. (Unless you have a food allergy or sensitivity). Being overweight is enough of a health problem; don’t make matters even worse by risking vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
6. Diets Are Labor Intensive
Diets usually aren’t adaptable for the whole family; so you have to buy additional foods and become a short order cook which takes more time. As hard as it can be when your kids are young, instilling a family dinner menu is beneficial in the long run. In my personal case, as my daughter was growing up, I wanted her to see me eat healthy and set a good example for normal and safe eating habits. I also have two boys but in particular, girls observe their mothers and pick up on how they eat and talk about their bodies.
7. Diets Make You Feel Like Hopeless
With so many restrictions and complicated rules, you are almost guaranteed to fail. Drastic changes in eating habits lead to quitting. And then, when you can’t keep up the unrealistic expectations you’ve set for yourself, you end up feeling ashamed and upset with yourself. Don’t fall into this diet-shame cycle! Small, gradual, and realistic changes make it easier to succeed over the long haul.
8. Diets Are Expensive
Diet programs often require special meals and snacks. Keeping your kitchen stocked with these special foods is almost always expensive and almost never convenient. I have found that when my overweight clients just let the whole “packaged meals” concept go and started eating more real food, closer to its natural state, they started losing weight.
9. Diets Make You Crazy
The more you diet, the more food-obsessed you get. Eat to live; don’t live to eat! The quickest way to develop a craving is to tell yourself you can never have it again. You then get a case of “food on the brain.” I personally find that a small indulgence here and there eliminates my craving anxiety. Can’t stop at just one cookie? Check out our article to learn how to take charge of your trigger foods!
10. Diets Won’t Solve Your Problems
Making small lifestyle changes and behavior changes is what leads to real weight loss for the long-term. It takes time to put the weight on; it takes even more time to take the weight off. A quick fix will never change who you are deep down. Anyone who has been a yo-yo dieter knows that weight loss goes deeper than a one-month diet. Only gradual habit and lifestyle changes will make a lasting impact!
Are you ready to ditch diets forever? How about taking the letters “D-I-E-T” and rearrange them to read “E-D-I-T.” These means making smart, healthy, and delicious choices that you leave feeling fabulous not famished. Check out my Getting Started with Clean Eating E-Book where I show you what you should be eating, and give you plenty of recipes that will fill you up without depriving your body of the fuel it needs!