Why Diets Don't Work You can't turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with America's hottest obsession: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions of dollars luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution-your shortcut to a thinner body.

Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or ten years of age.

Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. As a country, we have hit our highest weight in history. About half of Americans are overweight; one-third are obese. Part of the reason? Diets steer us away from our common sense and elicit few, if any, lasting results.

Why?

  • Diets don't work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, lifestyle, activity level, dieting history; how could one diet be right for everyone? Of the 20 diet books you could go out and buy today, the likelihood of that book addressing the unique needs of YOUR body is slim to none.
  • Diets don't work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet.
  • Diets don't work because they are very restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body. Our body inherently fights against this restriction, and it usually wins.
  • Diets don't work because many of us are disconnected with the cues and signals our body provides each day, directing us to the right foods and quantities.

In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. This type of balance is just as important as eating your broccoli and brown rice. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting.

Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your body and your inner wisdom.

The ultimate reality: there is no such thing as a quick fix; you already have everything you need within you. With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.

Quick tips to move forward and leave diets behind:
  • Track your food for the next 5-7 days. Learn from your behaviors. Notice your energy, hunger, mood and choices. They are signals.
  • Experiment with different foods and combinations. Stay present with your body and notice how the food(s) feel.
  • Focus on fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grains, healthy sources of protein.
  • Sleep more. Decrease your stress. Give yourself some love.