Why diets don’t work

STOP! Don’t feed the Diet Industry with your money anymore.

If you walked past a slimming club with a sign on the door that said ‘80% of members actually put on weight, and 20% gave up in the first seven days’ – would you join?

What if you received an email about the latest celebrity-endorsed diet that said “95% of people who buy this diet plan don’t lose weight” – would you give them your credit card details?

Of course you wouldn’t. But they don’t say that, do they ? We call this piracy.

We’re all led to believe that if we just do as they say, and don’t eat this or don’t eat that, the weight will miraculously fall off.

They reel us in with attention-grabbing headlines like, “Lose 10lbs in four weeks”. And they promise that, in just a few weeks, we’ll look like the professionally retouched photographs they’re using to promote their latest diet plan.

But if the diet industry couldn’t tell lies, the sales pitch for their diet plans would probably read a bit more like this :

  • This probably won’t work.
  • You might not lose any weight at all.
  • In fact, there’s a high chance you’ll gain weight.
  • And, even if it does work – temporarily – you’ll end up even heavier than when you started.

The fun doesn’t stop there, either…

  • You’ll have to give up socialising, and spending time with friends and family.
  • You’ll have to eat strange combinations of food that you don’t even like.
  • And we can 100% guarantee you’ll be miserable most of the time.

But you wouldn’t give these one-armed diet pirates your money if they were honest, would you?

And as the diet industry is worth a massive $570 billion (2014), it pays for them to keep the facts concealed beneath their fancy hats.

But why don’t diets work?

Diets don’t work because they don’t include the top dog; that big computer inside your head that controls everything you do (like whether or not to eat that cake you’re not allowed) – your brain.

And your brain is a tricky customer. It doesn’t like empty promises and disappointment; it doesn’t take kindly to being bossed around or deprived (for no good reason); and (as you’ve probably discovered every time you’ve tried to diet) it’s a sucker for temptation!

Like those times when no matter how hard you tried to block the delicious slice of homemade lemon drizzle cake or sickly-sweet treble-chocolate brownie out of your mind, all you could think about was what it would smell like, what it would taste like and how happy it would make you feel.

It’s like a part of your brain is on  a secret mission to sabotage your good intentions and topple your resolve. Each time you manage to distract yourself from the foods you’re not allowed, it’s like that part of your brain flicks a switch that amplifies the volume of the food screaming “eat me”, and it makes the picture inside your mind even more colourful and increasingly difficult to resist.

It’s a bit like me telling you now, “don’t think about an elephant”. You just can’t help it, right? As soon as you tell yourself not to think about something, its already too late!

So then you feel an overwhelming compulsion to eat the god-damn cake.

And rather than sitting down to savour every bite of a small slice, with a cup of tea – as you would if you weren’t on a diet – instead, you’re standing in the kitchen like a crazy person working your way through a family-sized cake like you can’t get it in your mouth fast enough.


Your brain hates:

Your brain loves:

  • Restriction/ Deprivation
  • Unrealistic goals
  • Strict Rules
  • Failure
  • Choice
  • Flexibility
  • Positivity
  • Success

The restrictive dieting cycle

Here’s a familiar scene; Monday comes around (after the last supper!) – you feel focused, motivated, and 100% determined that this time, this time, you will lose weight.

You go on a big shop to fill your fridge and cupboards with all the foods you’re told you should eat – walking defiantly past all the foods you enjoy.

And after a week of restriction, shunning social occasions and trying really hard – you’re delighted to see a lower number on the scales. It must be working, right?

But as time goes on and life happens – we get complacent. We tell ourselves it’s ok to relax the rules and have a little treat as a reward for being so good. We deserve it. And because of the cumulative effect of reducing calories over the previous few weeks, those little treats don’t show on the scales straight away, so we think we got away with it.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, after a few more little cheats, and bang – the weight loss stops. But we’re in the habit of enjoying a little treat now, and we think it’s ok because our weight isn’t increasing (due to the cumulative effect of what has gone on before). But soon the weight starts to increase – until we’re back at square one, where we are now consuming more energy than we are using. And the weight sneaks back on. So even if we try to amend our ways, it’s likely that our weight will continue on an upward spiral unless we resort to even more restrictive diets. This is the spiral that is Piracy.

Then the internal dialogue begins. We feel like failures (again), because we have been told; “stick to this and you’ll lose a lot” – but it’s so strict it is almost impossible.

Cue, the all-you-can-eat-end-of-diet buffet – where we eat all the foods we’ve not allowed ourselves over the last few weeks as a blatant act of rebellion. And 80% of us, quite quickly, end up weighing more than we did when we started.

“I’ll start again on Monday!” And so the cycle continues…

But each time we complete a new cycle of restriction, followed by eating ‘all the food’, our relationship with food becomes increasingly more dysfunctional.

Instead of viewing it as a legitimate source of energy – something to enjoy as a celebration of being alive – we begin to see food as the enemy, and something which should be feared.

How can I lose weight without dieting?

At this point, you’re probably thinking that all sounds very sensible, but you’re still overweight – you feel sluggish and unhealthy, and you want to look better in your skinny jeans!

And if you’re a serial dieter who has been battling weight problems and the yo-yo dieting cycle of Piracy for a long time, you’ve probably tried giving up dieting and hoping for the best before. But either you stayed the same or you gained weight because of the way you have been conditioned to think about weight-loss, and you probably reverted back to dieting.

But the real key to success and getting the body you want, the life you want, is to stop viewing weight loss as just a physical problem, because it is also psychological. What you eat is only part of the issue.

Even though training your body has a multitude of health benefits, if you want to give up dieting forever and get the body you want – the easy way; it’s your brain that really needs the training.

Learn how our programme can help you.
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