"Diets just don't work on me!" Have you ever thought that? It's very common. It's less common for people to realise that diets rarely work on anyone. I'm going to explain why - and let you know what you can do about it.
I'm a fitness nurse - and I work with frustrated people to help them get great results - and also to maintain them (without nasty diets or fitness regimes).
by Angela Reed-Fox
Diets tend to focus on outcome not process
Whether it's an upcoming wedding, holiday, or other event, or it's a particular pair of trousers that's the goal, or a target weight, this is all outcome-focused. This is why diets are often short-lived and why people go on a diet cycle for years. What they're essentially trying to do is modify their food intake for a period until a particular goal or date is achieved.
The reason that doesn't work is because psychologically you're only gearing yourself up to 'behave' for a certain length of time. There's not future-planning - what happens when you achieve what you set out for? How will you maintain those results? Often the diet itself is not a realistic way of living life - it's often too restrictive and makes relapses highly likely (which is why slimming clubs are able to rely on repeat business).
Diets are simplistic
True there might be mention of adding exercise in too, but diets tend not to consider you as a whole person. Diets address what is eaten, but rarely when, how, where, and why. The underlying relationship you have with food and physical activity has more to do with your physical health than what you do or don't eat. If you attempt to force changes of eating habit, you'll find it's a battle; if you address the underlying factors such as attitudes and beliefs, you'll find is much easier, and the results are better and longer-lasting.
Diets don't measure the important stuff
There's a disproportionate focus on weight. But think about what you carry around in your body - muscle, bone, fat, skin, vital organs, food (in various stages), blood, eyeballs and all sorts of other stuff. And yet we put all of that on the scales just to measure the one thing we're interested in, which is fat.
"Ah," you say, "But I can hardly weigh my fat separately." True, but there's something to be said for measuring what needs to be measured rather than what is easy to measure. Added to this, anyone who's dieted, or joined a slimming club will be conversant with the 'weight loss plateau'. This is when you're doing everything you can, and the needle on the scales refuses to turn left.
If we rely on weight alone, we can still be losing fat, but if we're doing a good amount of exercise, we'll be building some muscle tissue at the same time. The good news is that this speeds up your metabolism, making it easier to burn fat. The bad news is that muscle tissue weighs more than fatty tissue. So you could lose fat at the same time as you build muscle and not see a drop in weight.
Diets reduce your ability to maintain results
Sound crazy? Well it's for two main reasons, biological and psychological:
What can you do today?
So if a diet isn't going to solve it for you, what can you do? CardiaOne is an online nurse-led coaching programme which tackles the underlying barriers preventing you from achieving success. It's supported by physiologists, dietitians and psychologists and other relevant experts so you know you're getting the latest evidence-based practice - no gimmicks, no expensive fluff, just stuff that works.