Why Most Diets Ultimately Fail
The feature article in this week’s Time Magazine focuses on the “Oz Diet”. Yes, the now famous Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardio thoracic surgeon, Oprah regular and bestselling author shares his opinion (and a very educated one I might add) about what people should and should not eat and how we all can live a longer, healthier life.
American’s spend close to $50 billion annually on diet plans and sadly, most of the people who attempt to lose weight through a diet will ultimately fail. The fads come and go: The South Beach Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Rice Diet, The Atkins Diet, The Hollywood Diet, The Zone Diet and many, many more.
Each of these diets claims to present a different nutritional science and explanation as to why you will lose weight. Some talk about eliminating foods, others offer an all you can eat of specific foods, and yet others are a combination of both.
Despite a deeper understanding of diet and nutrition and the billions spent on losing weight, data released by the CDC and Prevention represent very sobering news. 68 percent of adults and nearly one-third of children are considered overweight and approximately 34 percent of adults are obese more than doubling the percentage from 30 years ago.
So, why do most people fail when dieting? There are many reasons such as some foods make you hungrier than others. Some diets make you feel tired. Some are too expensive to keep up. Some only address one part of the equation. There are many more characteristics that cause diets to become a short term act of desperation. Ultimately, in my opinion, failure boils down to three key reasons:
- Diets never instill the “forever” mindset
- Most diets have little to no accountability or support system
- Weight loss (or gain) is simply a math equation…and nothing more
The term diet fundamentally means a short term solution and not a long term lifestyle change. In order to make sure that you not only lose the weight but lose it in a healthy manner and keep it off, you have to bring a long term outlook to changing your life. Everyone wants to find the silver bullet solution but there is no short cut. Losing weight and keeping the weight off is a function of committing long term to changing what you eat, how much you eat, how often you eat and your entire approach to food and drink. Remember, a pound a week is a 52 pound weight loss over a year.
Regardless of your approach to losing weight, there are three key factors of accountability that are typically lacking from most diets: the weekly weigh in, food journals and support groups. The reason most diets eliminate these critical items is because they know that most people are too lazy, too busy or too ashamed to follow through with these items and therefore would sell less books or less clients if they included them in their system. The fact of the matter is, when a person is held accountable to write down every item they put in their mouth or know that every week they have to step on the scale and then report on it to a group of people, it makes a difference in your food choices.
It’s as simple as “calories in and calories out” but many can’t follow this easy formula that governs weight loss or gain. Most adults burn between 1500 and 3000 calories a day depending on activity and exercise. 50 billion a year is spent on finding the silver bullet, the short cut, the magic formula to weight loss and very simply, it’s about how many calories go in and how many get burned.
Future posts will dig deeper into each of these three areas. If you are looking to lose weight, consider these three concepts regardless of the types of foods, amount of food or approach.