I talk to women every day about their lifelong battle with their weight. We discuss all the diets they’ve tried over the last few decades. They’ve tried HCG, Weight Watchers, Medifast, Atkins, South Beach, elimination diets, Whole 30, paleo, FODMAPS, Jenny Craig, weight loss surgery, and on and on and on… and the most recent trend seems to be Orbera, the $8,000 balloon inserted into the stomach for 6 months. The fact that people are willing to pay that much money for a temporary means of restricting food intake is both alarming and eye opening. This indicates the enormity of this issue for people and their desperation to find a solution, so that they can put this monkey to bed and move on to more important things in their lives.
Despite what society says about overweight people being weak-willed and lazy, I know that the people I speak with are incredibly resourceful, tenacious, and have unparalleled willpower! Despite feeling hungry, tired, and miserable on diets, they continue to seek out yet one more diet to solve their battle with their weight. That is true strength and tenacity.
What I’ve noticed after talking to 100s of women (and several men) about all of their diet trials of the past is that there are a few errors in the way that people view weight loss diets, a lot of fantasy, and most importantly, there are key pieces missing to their dieting efforts. Let’s looks at each of these.
The Diet Lies We Tell Ourselves
Every time I talk with someone about their past diets, they have two ways of assessing them: they worked or they didn’t work. Their criteria for sorting them is based solely on how much weight they lost. This is a huge error in reasoning and a very narrow lens of success because they ignore what happens AFTER the weight loss period. Don’t you go on a diet because you want to be slim, not just now, but forever? A diet isn’t just what happens while you’re losing weight; it is also what happens after. Despite what they may tell you in the sales office of your local diet center, there is no diet that will fix your body so you can go back to eating what ever you want. A diet only works if you lose weight (how ever long that takes) AND you can keep eating that way forever, as a lifestyle, so that you can keep the weight off forever.
Common Diet Lies (or Myths) that People Believe:
- XYZ Diet worked because I lost weight fast or lots of weight. (SELECTIVE MEMORY)
- If I can just lose the weight, I just know I’ll figure out how to keep it off. (DENIAL)
- Just let me lose the weight really fast, right NOW! I’ll figure out later about how to keep it off. (BARGAINING)
- XYZ Diet will heal my body so I can go back to eating all my favorite foods. (SALES LIES)
- There must be something wrong with me, since everyone else seems to be losing lots of weight really easily. (SOCIAL MEDIA FANTASY)
- I guess I’m just a stress eater/emotional eater/carb addict, so I’m doomed to cheat and fall back into my old eating habits. I need a diet plan that lets me eat cookies and cake so I can survive all the cravings! (LACK OF INFORMATION AND SKILLS).
How to Know if a Diet Worked
Let’s get real. If you’re going to look back on past diets and determine fairly if they truly worked, you need to look at multiple aspects. This is also important in assessing any diet plan or program that you are currently considering, or are doing right now.
- Did you gain the weight back? That diet did not work!
- Did the food taste terrible and you were constantly fantasizing, “I can’t wait to get back to my old favorite foods!” That diet didn’t work because it was not teaching you a sustainable way to eating. If you don’t like the food, you can’t live that way!
- Did you have to take a mountain of supplements every day because the food you were eating was lacking in key nutrients? Did the food you were eating come in packages and powders and have a long list of ingredients trying to simulate real food? That diet is not sustainable because you can’t get proper nutrition from powders and supplements long-term!
- Did you find that you felt cold, hungry, and tired all the time? Especially after losing weight? That diet did not work, and in fact, it slowed your metabolism so that you are guaranteed to gain all the weight back and even more! This is the worst kind of diet, and sadly, the most common.
- Did you tell yourself that if you could just lose the weight, that would be enough motivation to keep it off? That diet is also doomed to fail. If weight loss alone was ever enough to make people keep it off forever, then no one would ever go on more than one diet in their life. This completely ignores the biological and psychological forces at work, that conspire to keep you fat forever.
- Did you have a supportive community? If you don’t have support from friends, family, other people following the same way of eating, it isn’t impossible to succeed, but it will be very challenging.
- Did you have an expert guide? When things went wrong, didn’t work, left you frustrated and ready to quit, did you have someone there to guide you step-by-step and keep you motivated and on the right track?
- Was it a one-sized fits all approach? Every one of us on this planet is a unique person and needs a diet that fits us. Often people wonder why a certain diet worked for their friend, but didn’t seem to work for them. Most often that is due to the lack of adjustments in the plan or program to fit a person’s individual needs.
The Missing Pieces for Sustainable Weight Loss
What you really need is a perfect way of eating for YOU, a way that you can live with the rest of your life, so that you can lose weight and keep it off. The culmination of my education and personal and professional experience has shown me that there are multiple keys to a way of eating that leads to weight loss that is sustainable. You MUST address both the proper nutritional approach for your body and health issues AND get support for the psychology of why we eat. In other words, this is what you need to lose weight and keep it off for good!
Here is a check list for you when you’re looking into your next (and hopefully your last!) diet:
- Community Connection Does your diet connect you with other people that are successfully following the same way of eating, so you never feel alone?
- Nutritionally Complete Does your diet meet all your nutritional needs, so that you can follow it forever?
- Accountability & Motivation Does your diet program include expert coaching to keep you on track and motivated to keep going, even when things get frustrating?
- Expert Guidance Does your diet program also include a trained health care professional that troubleshoots issues that arise and guides you step-by-step to your next best move to get maximum results?
- Sustainable Way of Eating Are you eating food that you enjoy and could eat for the rest of your life?
- Not Slowing Metabolism Does your diet not restrict fat and calories? And make you feel energized, mentally alert, physically good, and a zest for life?
- Heal the Underlying Hormonal Issues Is your diet addressing the underlying biochemical reasons that you keep gaining weight? (Not sure? Schedule a consult here)
- Teach Skills to Overcome Cravings Does your diet program teach you why we have cravings, why we are wired to overeat, why we turn to food for comfort, and teach you the skills to address all of this so you can permanently change those old habits?
- Education Does your diet program teach you the WHY behind the way you are eating, so that you are empowered to make the right choices long-term, instead of making you dependent on meal plans and packages foods to keep going?
Now a little homework. List out all the past diets you’ve tried and check them against this check list above. Which diets actually worked? (Here’s a hint: if you are currently overweight and looking for your next diet, then NONE of your past diets worked.) And for all the diets that didn’t work (remember, that is all of them), which pieces were missing? Next step, take a big breath and sigh of relief, because it’s not your fault all those past diets didn’t work long-term.
Now, comment below with your AHA’s regarding all your past diets – what parts were missing in each of them?
And when you’re ready to consider keto (or a better way to do keto) as your LAST DIET, let’s talk! Click here to schedule a 60-minute phone consult.