Updated: Jan 22
Three reasons why the dieting rules society has taught you, have failed you.
“I can’t lose weight no matter what I do! I’ve tried everything!”
Does this sound familiar?
Weight loss seems to be a great business to get into, it’s the only one that I know of where the vendor sells a product that doesn’t work, they blame the consumer, who believes it’s their fault and they then potentially buy more of the product that didn’t work.
Many of us have tried it all; eating a lot, eating very little, healthy eating, low carb diets, high carb diets, high-fat diets, low-fat diets and the list goes on. Feeling like we’ve tried everything and still not being able to shift the weight, or maintain our goal weight, can leave us feeling a sense of failure, guilt, and ultimately like we want to just give up; but what if I was to suggest that it wasn’t you that was the problem but your diet?
Here are 3 reasons why the dieting rules society has taught you, have failed you.
1. You’ve used a short-term goal as motivation
As a nation, I’d suggest, that we don’t actually have a weight loss problem, but more of a problem with maintaining our weight loss. Most of us decide to diet when a short-term motivator crops up, for example a holiday, Christmas, or special occasion such as a wedding. The reason I say short term motivator is because there’s nobody that I know that says, ‘right I am going to get myself in shape for summer 2024’, it’s usually more likely that you have realised summer is only a few weeks away and you want to make a change.
The problem with using these short term goals of say 6-10 weeks, is that although it’s a realistic time frame to be relying on willpower, what we’re saying here is, if I cut out everything I love for the next few weeks, I will achieve my goal and I’m happy to return to my previous weight afterwards when I eat normally, which we know isn’t the case, we want to keep the weight off right?!
So, how can we do this? The issue with dieting isn’t you, it’s your method or strategy.
We need to be focussing on motivators that are going to keep us going for longer, and also using small term motivators along the way. We should be focussed on things that we would like indefinitely; it could be anything that it is important to you, perhaps increasing energy levels or increasing confidence.
Knowing this helps to put the short-term goal into perspective and helps you to justify making smaller changes as this will give you a sustainable result. For example, if you knew that you could realistically lose a stone for a holiday coming up using aggressive strategies and half a stone with smaller changes, you may be more inclined to accept a smaller amount of weight loss if you knew that it would be maintainable and in time you would also reach your final milestone.
2. You are just getting through it
Hands up for those who’ve eaten foods they just don’t like, or suffered weeks of miserable weight loss shakes to get the results that they’re after. I’ll admit it, I tried a juice diet once, it lasted about four hours before I caved in and those very expensive juices became a side to my normal every day meals. If you are lucky enough to have the willpower to keep going then that’s great, but let’s face it for more than a few days or weeks it’s just not sustainable. Again, it’s not you that has failed here, it’s the dieting method.
If at any point in your diet you’re thinking ‘I just have to get through the next few weeks’ then the likelihood is that it’s not going to be something you can sustain or maintain for the long term and therefore your weight loss results won’t likely last either. Obviously, if you have been directed by your GP to lose weight through aggressive methods and offered support in following the diet then that’s a different story, but for most of us, there’s no need to use this strategy.
3. You are fuelled by guilt
Guilt is another emotion that many of us feel when dieting, or when we feel that we have wavered from our dieting rules. When we explore this emotion further though, guilt is something that we experience when we have compromised our own standards or we have violated universally acceptable moral standards, which is pretty intense if you ask me, for eating a biscuit too many.
Rather than focus on feeling guilty for eating something, perhaps we should be questioning, if we enjoy a certain food so much, why have we allowed our diet to become so restrictive that we experience guilt if we consume it? For the final time, it’s not you that has failed, it’s your diet. We need to be shaping our food choices so that they fit with our goals but also allow us to consume a healthy balanced diet which also includes the foods that we enjoy within moderation. This is the key to sustainable, happy and healthy weight loss.