Why diets fail: Healthy eating is not a short-term affair

Today I am going to share the top reasons diets fail, and some tips to find a diet plan that will work for you.

Most diet plans fail because they only emphasize the ‘what to eat

Have you tried every single diet plan in the book and failed?  Maybe you never stuck with it, or maybe you did lose weight, but then you gained it all back (plus more).  When it comes to diets, the odds are stacked against us.   So what’s the answer?  Certainly the answer is not to give up altogether.

Today I am going to share the top reasons diets fail, and some tips to find a diet plan that will work for you.

The mindset around dieting is perhaps the number one reason most diets fail. For most people, the word ‘diet’ implies that it’s a plan you’re going to go on for a set amount of time, and then be done with once you’ve lost the weight. Instead of thinking of a ‘diet’ as something that you go one, think about having a diet.  Simply put, your diet is the way you eat consistently for the long term.  And, your diet will change at different stages of life.

Along with the mindset of short-term diets, many people go into an eating plan with drudgery.  They plan a ‘last supper’ event the night before the diet is going to start because they know their freedom to enjoy food will end once the diet starts.  When improving your diet, pick a plan that includes food that you enjoy.  Food is for fuel, and for pleasure.  If you are worried about not being able to eat as much as you have in the past, be grateful.  The food you eat and enjoy will give you energy, not weigh you down and make you feel bloated and overfull.

Many diet plans also fail because of the extreme restrictions it places on eating ‘eat this, don’t eat that!’  Some plans emphasize ‘fake foods’, with the goal of being able to consume as much food as you can instead of the intent of nourishing your body.  Think fat-free and chemical-sweetened alternatives.  Many diet plans also make you reliant on shakes, bars and pre-packaged meals, making it difficult to eat in the real world.

Finally, most diet plans fail because they only emphasize the ‘what to eat’, and forget about the ‘why to eat’ and ‘how to eat’. In my opinion, the ‘what to eat’ is relatively simple.  The ‘why and how’ is much more complex.  If everyone ate only when they were hungry, and stopped when they were physically satiated, most people would easily maintain a healthy body weight.

So which plan should you choose?  Ultimately, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach.  It’s okay to experiment with a plan, and see how it works for you.  Do you like the food?  Is the food healthful and nourishing?  Is the plan, or a slight modification of it, something you can see yourself doing for the long term? Do you have a support system in place to help you with the why and the how to eat?

Tanja Shaw is a healthy-eating enthusiast, Rotarian, passionate entrepreneur, mom, runner, and owner of Ascend Fitness Inc. Tanja and her team of expert fitness coaches inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  Visit Ascend Fitness Inc. at www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.

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