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Dieting didn’t work last time

Then this time around take a new approach because if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you always got.

Here are just a few reasons why diets don’t work:

They are restrictive – and when something is declared off limits, guess what?  You can’t stop thinking about it.  So if your diet of choice says you can’t drink alcohol, and you love a glass of wine, it’s not going to make you happy and you are going to struggle to stick to it.  The same goes for diets which ban particular foods or food groups.  In the words of one of the dieters I interviewed for my book, “When you’re told you can’t have things you immediately want them”.

Diets require food intake to be constantly monitored – points, calories, red and green days, etc.  So guess what?  You end up thinking about food all the time.  Not a great idea when you are trying to reduce what you eat.

And that leads on to another problem with diets: they generally concentrate on reducing food intake, either generally or for certain food groups, so you’re constantly feeling deprived.

Diets also foster self-hatred.  When I’ve interviewed dieters about their experiences they’ve used words such as “bad” and “naughty” to describe the times they’ve strayed from their diet plans, and they regularly feel guilty and angry at themselves.  Moreover, as far as I can tell, weight-loss groups with their weekly weigh-ins encourage this judgmental attitude.

For dieters, all of this gives rise to a pretty difficult relationship with food, and a depressing way to live.

For dieters who do manage to stick to their restrictive diets, it’s quite likely that they will lose weight, and some people lose a lot.  But they generally mess up their metabolisms so that when they get to the “end” of their diet, their bodies store fat much more readily, and before too long most people are back where they started.  And then they beat themselves up for a lack of willpower and the whole self-hatred thing kicks in.

What I hope you’ve picked up from all of this is that the problem isn’t you – it’s the whole concept of Being On A diet, which is basically a contrived and restricted eating plan with a start and an end date.

In contrast, here’s how healthy eating works:

It’s about improving the quality of your food, rather than reducing the quantity.

Eating well is about nurturing your body because you like it and want to take care of it, in contrast to dieting which seems to be about punishing your body and yourself.

Healthy eating is a way of life, with no start and end date.  Eating well improves the way your body functions and changes the way it stores or burns fat, so if you do have excess weight to lose, you will lose it.

So what’s it to be?  Diet or healthy eating?

If you liked this sample chapter you can buy the “What’s Your Excuse…..?” books here