Aside from the physiological effects, possibly the biggest reason why diets don’t work is that people see them as short-term solutions to a long-term issue.
Why are you over-fat?
That’s a rather interesting question, isn’t it?
The answer is complicated.
- Maybe you’re not active enough, especially throughout your day. (Research is showing that even if you work out, being sedentary for the other 23 hours of your day is a big problem.)
- Maybe your nutrition isn’t very good. (If you’re like 98% of North Americans, this is certainly true, even if you think you “eat well”.)
- Maybe you have an underlying medical condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome, poor glucose control, or thyroid disorder.
- Maybe you use food to self-medicate when you’re stressed, angry, sad, bored, etc.
- Maybe your body responds like 90% of people’s bodies do when it gets processed food into it — with more cravings, disrupted metabolic signals, less satiety, and the ongoing desire to have another cheeseburger.
- Maybe you just habitually over-eat for no other reason than in our culture, food is everywhere, we’re encouraged to eat it constantly, and our sense of appropriate portion sizes is screwed up.
Maybe it’s all of the above. Yeah, it’s complicated. (For more on this, check out David Kessler’s very interesting book, The End of Overeating.)
A complicated long-term problem requires a thoughtful and long-term solution.
Think about it this way. Do you brush your teeth really well one time, and then just leave it? No, you brush them consistently and regularly.
You do this because dental hygiene is a constant process of maintenance. Teeth get dirty, and you have to clean them. You don’t think about it. You just do it every day.
Dieting is the same way. You can’t crash diet for a week then go back to your bad nutritional habits the rest of the time.
You have to approach this as a long-term project of ongoing maintenance. This means cultivating good nutrition, and making health and wellness your primary goal, rather than fat loss. Once the nutritional and fitness plan is in place, aimed squarely at building long-term health and wellness, then you can start manipulating your calories and portion sizes to achieve the goal you want.