Diets don’t work and yet we all keep hoping they will. That’s why the diet industry — books, DVDs, foods, websites, clubs, celebrity endorsements, advertisements, supplements, recipes and so on — is such big business. After all, if there was a diet that really worked, people would do the diet and lose the weight forever, and that would be that. No more sales for the diet industry.
Don’t be fooled, it’s not about dieting — it’s about parting you from your money. They sell dreams: and we buy them. Whether it’s looking like your favourite star, or losing weight fast without hardship, or getting a life — any one of a thousand reasons — there’s a diet that claims it does exactly that and more. And when it doesn’t work out we just go and buy another dream. I know that sounds harsh, and it is, but it’s also true.
Of course you lose weight to begin with, often it’s mostly water. But any diet starts with reducing the total number of calories you eat — whatever their composition is — even the Atkins diet (there are only so many bacon and eggs you can eat before you feel ill). So you do lose weight at the beginning, but the human body is a wonderfully adaptable piece of equipment and it gets used to the lesser rations! Weight loss slows down or stops, you get fed up and then there are two choices you have.
You could give up, go back to your usual eating pattern — maybe giving yourself a treat to make up for all the dieting — and then, surprise, you put on weight again. Perhaps even a bit more than you lost in the first place. You feel guilty that you didn’t stick with the diet and then you have the guilt to deal with as well as the flab. It starts to become a vicious circle, or should I say yo-yo.
Or you could reduce your calorie intake some more. This fools the body for a while, and you start to lose weight again. But when your body realises that the calories really aren’t coming back, it thinks you are starving (and you probably are, or at least quite hungry by now) and so it grabs onto every single calorie it gets and turns them into fat cells! This is nature’s way of creating a store of energy to sustain you through the tough times. The trouble is, you don’t want any more fat cells — once you’ve got a fat cell it’s there for life, even if there’s no fat in it (it just sits there waiting to be filled).
Then there’s the whole ‘going on a diet’ issue. We use diets like buses, hopping on and off them the whole time. And then we’re amazed that when we get back to our bad old ways — eating a takeaway meal late at night, having a few too many drinks in the bar, getting a big bag of snacks and scoffing the lot — we gain weight all over (literally) again. Even when our weight goes up and down more than a kid’s yo-yo we don’t get it. A diet is always a ‘quick fix’, something temporary to sort out our figures just in time for the holidays / parties / weddings / graduations / whatevers that are looming. Any temporary repair will never be a permanent solution. (Think of repairing a leaky pipe with a piece of chewing gum, you know it won’t hold that leak forever.)
Diets, like therapy, tap into the reasons why we feel bad about ourselves and claim to solve all our problems. Maybe you’ve noticed all the advertising for diet products? Doesn’t the dieter suddenly have loads of attractive friends and goes out all the time after they’ve used the products? But eating too much is not the root of our problems, it’s a symptom. Very few of us are born fat, it’s something we do to ourselves and the solution has to come from within us. Ask yourself why you eat the things you do — do you actually enjoy them? Do you see eating as something that involves savouring the flavour of the food or simply cramming in as much as possible in the time available — like stoking a boiler? Be honest and your answers may surprise you.
The developed world is getting fatter by the second. We must alter the way we think about food and the way we eat. That means a regime change. And like a dog, a regime change is not just for Christmas. But it doesn’t have to be difficult or unpleasant.
Remember your grandmother saying ‘everything in moderation’? Well, she was quite right. You don’t need to ban any foods, just eat a balanced diet with plenty of variety. Oh, and keep an eye on portion sizes. And a bit more exercise will help to speed things up as well. Not to mention making you feel better with all those endorphins whizzing round your body!
The secret that no diet will tell you is that if you know what you’re eating, you can control how much of it you eat. For instance, if you see a low-fat dessert you might think it won’t matter if you have a bit more, but it could actually contain more sugar than the regular version of the dessert! If you knew this to start with you might decide to have an apple instead…
Diets often assume people are stupid, or why else would so many of us try them? The truth is, we’re not stupid but we are ever hopeful! It is possible to eat healthily and cut calories and lose weight — all without the dreaded diet.
If you know what goes in, you have a good idea of what the results will be. And if you cook the meals yourself you have total control! Cooking doesn’t have to be scary either; but that’s a whole different report.
For loads more details of how to lose weight sensibly and keep it off, while still enjoying eating your favourite foods, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-Lean-not-Mean-healthier/dp/B08BRJXN4B/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=eat+lean+not+mean&qid=1596541828&sr=8-1