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  • Why Diets Don't Work- Part 1

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    No matter what you’ve been promised, no matter how much you’ve paid, the simple truth is Diet’s Don’t Work for long-term weight loss. In fact, according to a study published by the Journal of American College of Sports Medicine, traditional diets have a long-term failure rate of 33% at the one year mark, and a failure rate of 97% at the 3-5 year mark. Ninety-Seven Percent Failure Rate!

    But the question is “WHY diets don’t work?” To better understand what is causing these high rates of failure we have to consider biological, psychological, and behavioral factors.

    By definition, a diet “restricts oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight” (thank you, Google dictionary).Biologically, our bodies strive for homeostasis. This means that our body is constantly striving for stability, to increase its chances of survival.

    Traditional diets use significant calorie restriction to produce weight loss. At first, the body will “allow” some weight loss. But over a period of extended time, it begins to believe your survival is being threatened and it ramps up efforts to stabilize. In the world of dieting, this is when we notice hitting a weight-loss plateau. That plateau may last weeks or months as the body tries to adjust.

    The adjustment is made to the metabolism. It’s as if your body’s internal furnace is turned way down. Your body will conserve as much energy as possible and weight loss is slowed from this point on. Many people will give up their diet at this point as they crave energy from food to combat the fatigue felt from the slower metabolism. Those who don’t give up, may go on to reach their weight loss goal- but at a high price. Their metabolism is damaged from the diet.

    After reaching their goal, or quitting the diet, the dieter begins to eat more calories. This is necessary as a person can’t survive on reduced calories indefinitely. However, the damaged metabolism is underfunctioning. The excess calories will immediately be stored as fat as the body is desperate to achieve homeostasis. This explains why so many people regain all the weight they lost PLUS an extra 10 pounds or more! The body is in “survival mode” and it doesn’t trust that another famine won’t be coming soon. So it is storing up as much energy as possible in the form of fat.

    This biological component is just one reason why diets don’t work. There are also any number of psychological reasons why a diet may fail. Click here for Part Two.