Since I am from the Granite State, I devoted a section of the book to New Hampshire’s slogan “Live Free or Die”. The second section I’ve included (“Why Diets Don’t Work”) discusses the scientific, psychological, and common sense reasons why diets don’t work. (I left out the scientific part–you’ll have to buy the book in order to read that).
Check out the latest excerpt from “The Book”.
Live free or Diet
Let’s take a moment and discuss the truth about the dieting industry. I think it may have started out as a “good thing” but it’s turned into a monster. It’s not even about nutrition or healthy anymore. It’s about playing around with physiology and nutritional science in order to end up with weight loss. It’s about making money off of people trying to get skinny. It’s about coming up with new products to sell to people. Guys, it’s a business. The diet industry doesn’t care about your well being. They don’t care how many diets you’ve been on (the more the merrier). They don’t care that you now have a messed up relationship with food and exercise. Sadly, they don’t have to care.
BUT you should.
Why Diets Don’t Work:
Yes, diets may actually help you to lose weight, but guess what? If you don’t work on yourself and your behaviors and thoughts surrounding food, you will have an extremely difficult time keeping it off. At some point you will revert back to your “old” self, even though in reality, YOU never changed. All you did was change what or how much (or both) food was going into your mouth. Big deal. That gets old quick.
I know the majority of you are actually sticking up for diets right now. You might be thinking to yourself, “Yeah but I did lose weight on the Atkins diet, Slim Fast, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and the Zone Diet”. Just listen to yourself think and speak. You just named off 5 different diets…and yet you are still trying to find a solution that works. Most diet books are now saying it is something you can be on for forever…which if it were true, wouldn’t you still be on them? SO word of advice: stop sticking up for diets. Start sticking up for yourself.
Psychologically, diets don’t work. Diets are just a bunch of rules. Rules are meant to be broken. Rules keep you in. Rules don’t allow for you being you. The brain can only handle so many rules controlling it all at once. At some point, your brain is going to kick in and say, “Why the hell can I only have 1 freaking piece of fruit a day?” and it will rebel. Why? Because life is already busy enough and now you add a diet of 20 rules and regulations to that busy life and WHAM! At some point, enough is enough. It’s not all about will power. I can tell you one thing. I don’t care how much will power you have, if you have to spend the majority of your day wondering what food you are going to eat and how much and measuring and counting carbs, calories, and protein grams…at some point, you are going to give up. I think people give up because if you are being honest with yourself, you will realize it’s simply not freaking worth it.
Here’s another issue with diets. They, 9 times out of 10, lead to binging. It is not just eating a single cookie or even five cookies. There is a BIG difference between eating something you feel you shouldn’t, and binging. Diets are all about deprivation. Depriving the body of specific macro nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins), enough calories, and even more importantly, depriving ourselves of anything that is not on the “nice list” and completely staying away from the “naughty list” items. THEN at some point, your body is going to send a signal to your diet-obsessed brain that it’s had enough. At that point, you end up hopping on the binging train and taking a ride, which could last for days, weeks, months, or even years. (This is a scary place to be, and trust me, I’ve been there.) Then you feel bad about yourself, feel like it’s your fault that it didn’t work, think to yourself that next time you are really going to stick to it and you promise yourself this (I’ve done this too), and then you go back on the diet. ONLY to then go through this cycle a few hundred more times. Sound familiar? Diets are messing with not only our body, but with your brain, and your psychological well being. There is a whole chapter in this book devoted to eating disorders because it is a conversation that needs to happen.
I compare dieting to an extremely toxic, abusive, and jealous relationship. You meet someone new and you automatically like the idea of being with them. You think a person will be good for you…that he/she will just make your life happier, more successful, and more fulfilling. That person completes you and makes you feel more whole. You start dating and it’s all honeymoon like. You enjoy each others company, you feel happier and you feel like it’s a good fit for you. THEN you become co dependent, obsessed, and you will take whatever the person throws at you. At first, it’s cute. He/she doesn’t want you to go hang out with your friends because he/she wants to spend time with you. Next, he/she is showing up at your work to make sure you are being “good” at work. THEN, you slip up and talk to one of your co-workers and smile at him/her and your boyfriend/girlfriend gives it to you that night. He/she ends up either verbally or physically abusing you. You think to yourself, “I shouldn’t have done that. It’s all my fault. I won’t do it again. Therefore, this will never happen again.” THEN, it happens again. You go out with your friends without asking permission. You make more excuses for the person’s abusive actions because you screwed up. At what point do you decide to BLAME the person who deserves the blame? At what point do you decide to blame the diet and not YOURSELF? Do we get it now?
I think the relationship you have with yourself is more important than any relationship you have with someone else. You have to get your relationship with yourself down before you can truly have a great relationship with anyone else. Same goes with food. You are going to have to at some point, tell yourself that it is not your fault that diet sucks. It’s the diet’s fault. Blame the person who is in the wrong. You know diets are don’t work. So why on earth do you keep blaming yourself? And don’t even get me started when you start dating another diet….once a diet, always a diet. BUT once a dieter, not always a dieter. You can turn that around.
I rest my case.
Thanks for reading!