Why Diets Don’t Work – Or Do They?

Pin It

Top 14 recipes

Hey friends!  I am sure many of you have said the phrase, “ starting tomorrow I am going on a diet!”  Are those words setting you up for failure?  Or are they energizing you start a new eating habit? I think the word diet can be overused with some negative context, however, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a diet is simply defined as the following:

a :  food and drink regularly provided or consumed

b :  habitual nourishment

c :  the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason

d :  a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight <going on a diet>

Simple enough, a diet is just the pattern of how we eat!  But the word diet usually takes on the definition of referring to weight loss (like definition d). When we hear this word used in the context, “going on a diet,” I think there are some major emotions that come along with the meaning of the word diet. Feelings may include the following: 

  1. distress, moodiness/crankiness – knowing foods that are loved have to be restricted
  2. fear – the fear of failing.  You have already been on a million failing diets before and this diet is only a cycle of failure, nothing seems to work.
  3. disappointment – letting down doctors, family members, friends, etc.  Going to your doctor appointment and having to tell them you have made no progress.  Or going on a diet with a family member or friend and being disappointed because you were not as successful as them.

Sound familiar?  So when I was writing up ideas for post I first came up with 10 Reasons Why Diets Don’t Work. I came up with 5 reasons so far including:

  1. Diets are too restricted.  This will only set you up for failure as you will want that particular food even more!  I like to think of Cookie Monster as an example, after week of restricting sweets.
  2. You are thinking way too much about the foods that you are not able to eat instead of thinking about the food that are able to eat.
  3. Diets may cause us to obsess with food.   Just because we tell ourselves we cannot have these certain foods within our new diet, every commercial, every fast food sign is now more tempting than ever!
  4. Healthy food is boring!  Boo for my new diet. I hate vegetables and have to choke down this healthy food when I would rather be having fast food.
  5. Diets can be way too drastic.  Some diets are a bit crazy such as a liquid diet, cabbage soup diet, 5-bite diet, etc.  When change is extreme it only sets us up for failure.

I think every point made has some really truth and hopefully some of you find yourself laughing as you read and say, “TOTALLY!”  We have all been there but I would like to bring some new life to the word diet.  I think on a positive side the word diet can actually have some motivating qualities. And here are a few to note!

  1. Refresh & Get Back on Track: A diet can be the start of something new! After a hefty holiday or a junk-food-filled weekend, the term diet can bring new life to your eating habits.  When you fall off track after a party or holiday, you always know you can get back on your usual diet and feel good again.  Just another way to get back on track!
  2. Simple Diet Modifications = Small Steps To Success: I am a huge believer in incorporating a small goals that can help train you to a large goal.  For example, a goal in your diet may be including more fruits and vegetables.  So to start off you make a goal of adding in one serving of vegetables to dinner.  Next week you will add a serving of fruit to morning snack and so on, simple enough?
  3. Diets don’t have to be boring: Eat food you enjoy!  If you are trying to follow a meal plan from a specific diet, find a healthy substitute for a food that you enjoy! Learn to love healthy foods with some of my favorite recipes! My Top 14 Favorite DD Recipes!
  4. Make is SIMPLE!  Throw that diet book out the window if you are stressed and overwhelmed by the suggested meal plan.  Write down 15-20 healthy foods that you enjoy and start from there.  If you are at a party or a find yourself going through the drive-thru or whatever the scary situation may be, go ahead and eat the foods you crave but wait, only eat half of your plate! If that is too difficult order from the kids menu!  Craving a hamburger and fries? Order a happy meal! Craving a DQ blizzard?  Order a mini blizzard! Craving a Frosty from Wendy’s?  Order a junior Frosty! I could go on . . . .  Example #2: Your co-worker brought in cake for her birthday, go ahead and have it but only eat three bites!  Savor each bite! Throw the rest away before you eat the next bite! AHhhhhhh!
  5. Protein & Fiber! Like Batman and Robin these two heroes can help fight any hunger pang!  If you are hungry think of these two words FIRST! Skip the sugary or salty food and try these examples: Cheese and crackers, peanut butter and apple slices, milk and a granola bar, Greek yogurt (preferably plain and add your own sweetener) and berries, handful of nuts and raisins, eggs and high fiber wrap, fresh veggies and hummus!  I have so many more and we will hold off for another post!
  6. Make a plan!  This is essential!  I cannot recommend it enough, make a simple meal plan!  Check out my free download: Weekly Menu Planner and Grocery List!  I love the quote,“Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Carl W. Buechner!  So true, right?  Wow! Just 10 minutes of planning can cure a weeks hangovers of unhealthy eating, start planning!

Well, maybe I have sparked some new life to the word, “diet’! Cheers to healthy eating!

Get organized collageWeekly grocery chart

Follow Me on Pinterest

Comments are closed.