Why “diets” don’t work

Why does eating have to be a pleasurable activity? I’m still not sure what the evolutionary advantage of that is. Sure, it makes sense that we should want to supply ourselves with adequate nutrition (so as to have enough energy to propagate the species – that is the point of evolution, after all), but it’s far too pleasurable to overeat. You would think that by now the human body wouldn’t be driven to stuff itself as if it wasn’t sure when the next meal would come by, but maybe we haven’t gotten over that glitch yet.

Almost 2/3 of the US population is overweight or obese, and the future direction doesn’t look so bright. We’re going to be seeing an incredible increase in Type 2 diabetes mellitus, both in adults and sadly also in children. So why don’t the plethora of diets work? They all claim to be effective, don’t they?

“Diets” are meant for a short term only. Therefore, one’s diet should not be a “diet”. Follow? When people generally think about diets, they think of the diet as a short-term remedy to their problem with being obese or overweight. Whether or not they will admit it, their ultimate goal is to “finish their diet” and return to their normal eating habits that they have acquired over the years.

Diets only work if incorporated as a lifestyle change. Anyone can lose weight on a “diet”. If you restrict any aspect of your diet, you will probably be reducing your calorie intake and thereby drop some pounds. This diet may take some time to produce results, but as we know all too well, we are not patient creatures – we want instant results. Resorting to old habits will result in a return to one’s old body habitus, and this is the fate of most diets.

Diets are too restrictive. I love junk food, pizza, and pasta just as much as the next guy, but I’ve learned that I cannot maintain a healthy body by eating everything I like. I’ve also learned that I cannot maintain a healthy body by completely avoiding those foods that I like. Huh? The point is that you need to be allowed some flexibility, to indulge in your favorite foods on occasion. You need to learn how to incorporate these “cheat meals” into your diet just as you need to learn what foods should be your staple food items.

Diets are antisocial. Nearly every social event in our culture is based around food or accentuated with food to some extent. How on earth can anyone stick to a diet when you have commitments to be a part of these functions? People are not going to stick to a diet if it means that they cannot fully participate in important events without guilt.

Healthy eating is time-consuming. Two words: fast food. Sure beats preparing a salad or other home-cooked meal.

Diet without exercise is like trying to achieve wealth by cutting spending but not working to earn money. Study after study shows that exercise is a critical complement to diet for weight loss goals.

Some day, I’ll put together a tirade about the fad diets on the market. Here’s the punch line: they’re nothing to shout about.


One Response to “Why “diets” don’t work”

  1. pipacalada Says:

    Great post 🙂 exactly what I would like to say, just more eloquently!

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