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Diets Don't Work: Why "How to Lose Weight Fast" Is the Wrong Question
Searching the Internet for “how to lose weight fast” is just as absurd as falling for a get rich quick scam. Discover why diets don’t work (and what to do about it).
“Diets don’t work,” says science.
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” – Julia Child
An analysis by UCLA published in the journal American Psychologist discovered that dieting does not work. Researchers performed a comprehensive analysis of 31 diet studies to determine their long-term effectiveness. While most dieters typically lost 5-10% of their starting weight in the first 6 months, the results didn’t last; at least one-third to one-half of the dieters regained all of their weight (and then some) within 4-5 years. As UCLA researchers concluded in their analysis, “There is little support for the notion that diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.”
Get Rid of Your “All or Nothing” Mentality
“Moderation in all things.” – Aristotle
Any diet that depends on eliminating entire food groups is destined for failure. Recall when you were a child: a parent or teacher might have told you something like “Do NOT touch anything in this store!” What did you then proceed to do? I bet you touched ALL of the things. It’s funny how it becomes more tempting to do something as soon as it becomes “forbidden.”
Food works in the same way. The more you tell yourself you can’t have something, the more you’re going to want it. And besides, do you really want to live in a world where garlic toast, cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies are outlawed forevermore?
This isn’t to say you don’t have to make sacrifices if you want to get fit and healthy, but extremist “All or Nothing” diets aren’t the way to do it. Sure, you might lose weight fast, but that doesn’t mean the pounds will stay off. And if you don’t sustain it, what’s the point?
If you don’t heed this warning, here’s what’s gonna happen:
1. You’ll do great for the first few weeks (or months if you’re lucky) and lose a bit of weight.
2. You’ll start craving those delicious foods you’re depriving yourself of more and more with every passing day, until you lose your cool and go on a binge-eating rampage.
3. You’ll feel guilty, beat yourself up, decide you might as well give up, and find yourself right back where you started.
Stop Demanding Perfection of Yourself
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life… And that is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan
If Michael Jordan could win NBA championships while missing over 9,000 shots, I’m pretty sure you can successfully lose weight despite the occasional setback. Eating a few peanut butter cookies at a holiday party isn’t worth pushing the Panic Button over. Just like a single healthy meal won’t make you go down a waist-size, eating a single unhealthy meal won’t make you go up one. If you do make a mistake, don’t freak out. Take a deep breathe; count to 10; and ask yourself, “Why did this happen and how can I make better decisions in the future?”
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about those “lazy days.”
There are always going to be those crappy days where you just don’t feel like doing anything (much less exercising), so you don’t. Let’s face it: I have them, too and I’m a trainer (why yes, I am human!). Show me a person who claims to be without fault or weakness and I’ll show you a dirty liar.
It’s 100% possible that your desire to have a “Walking Dead” marathon might trump your desire to be fit on occasion. This is okay, but it cannot become habit. Remind yourself that your long-term want (get fit and healthy) is more important than your short-term want (watch zombies eat brains).
Here’s why this is so very important:
I’ve noticed a tendency in certain people. They make one little insignificant mistake and allow it to spiral out of control until it screws up their entire fitness plan. They break their diet once by eating a piece of cake, or they miss a couple of workouts in a row, or whatever the case may be. These people then proceed to agonize over their mistakes, beat themselves up for being so “stupid,” and call it quits.
Make a mistake? Learn from it and try again. Don’t wallow in guilt and regret, or you’re going to convince yourself you’re a failure, which is the furthest thing from the truth—you’re merely human. Nobody’s perfect. I promise.
Strive for Consistency (Not Perfection)
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn
Yes, you have to make sacrifices if you want to become fit and healthy.
Yes, you must have focus and discipline to achieve your goal.
No, that doesn’t mean you can’t have the occasional treat.
No, the world won’t end if you make a mistake.
You probably shouldn’t eat creme-filled doughnuts every day; but life is meant to be fun, and the occasional indulgence won’t hurt you as long as you make positive decisions most of the time.
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