October 9, 2013

Ok, we’ve all heard that 95% of dieters end up heavier after 12 months. Unfortunately we don’t know where that authoritative-sounding quote came from. But it is often quoted as FACT.

To explore the question “Do diets work?” lets get clear on the word “diet”. You hear many beliefs around the word like “Diets don’t work”, “When you try to lose something it comes back”, “Diets aren’t sustainable long term” and finally “Diets make you fat!”

All the above views have been formed by personal experiences or have been influenced by hearing it from others. “That sounds sensible to me. I’ll accept it as true.”

Actually we all have a “diet” whether we admit it or not. Your “diet” is simply your own individual eating and drinking pattern – what you habitually eat and drink most days. You could be following your own “diet” through beliefs, through habit, through biological drivers (hunger, cravings, moods, energy shifts etc), through family pressures, financial pressures, allergies and finally through your food environment – being the food options that surround your life – at home, at the shops and at work.

Now ask yourself the simple question “How’s it (your diet) working for you?” Regardless of your beliefs or circumstances, if you don’t feel and look your best, then it’s highly likely that your current diet isn’t ideal for your body.

Does that mean you should “Go on a diet”? For many people the concept of “Going on a diet” is a short-term quick fix event. “I just need to get rid of a few extra kilos I’ve put on recently.” But if you succumb to this, and let’s say that you succeed, and then go back to your previous “diet” (lifestyle) then logically that weight will just come back on. Even worse, the “diet” may have cost you excess loss of lean tissue resulting a metabolism slow down. Go back to eating the same way and the weight jumps even higher. Less muscle – more fat.

The alternative is to take a lifestyle approach…

Firstly, you can recognise that you have been doing everything exactly right, living the perfect lifestyle, eating the perfect diet in order to give you the body, health and energy that you currently enjoy (or not). Perfect!

Then recognise that if you wish to enjoy a better body that looks better, feels better and performs better, then you need a different diet – a diet that becomes a habit that you can stick with – not a quick fix “diet”.

One thing we’ve learnt over the years at Healthy Inspirations is that “one diet definitely does NOT suit everybody”. We’ve learnt that its more effective  and more sustainable to work with each persons’ body to develop the “diet” that works for them. And it does not happen overnight, over a week or even 4 weeks. You need to allow at least 12 weeks, and for most people 12 months at least.

Think about this. Remember when you were in your best shape ever. Was that 2 weeks ago? For many, it was years ago. Knowing that it took years to get to your current shape, you should commit at least quarter of that time to get the best results. This also gives you and your body the time to develop what we call “stay slim habits”.

And so when people say “Diets don’t work.”, they often talk from the broken expectation that they can magically strip off excess fat and feel fabulous in a few weeks.

And so “Diets do work.” but only if the diet is well-formulated over time to suit your body’s individual biology, and then given the time and support to replace the old diet habits with the news.

Good luck on your journey. We’re here to help.