Don't Diet in 2019 - Reason #10: Diets cause "failure syndrome"


Past diet failures will come back to haunt you…

It’s December 26th. T minus five days until you embark on another strict diet in an attempt to lose weight. But you’ve failed at so many diets and now you’re already thinking to yourself “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this”.

You’ve already failed in your mind. All of those past diet attempts and failures are affecting your current mindset.

If you’ve been on 15 diets and none of them have worked, that feeling of failure begins to infiltrate your life. It may start to affect other areas of your life too. You begin to believe that you can’t do anything. You start to think you’re a loser with no motivation or willpower. You withdraw from friends and family. Your performance at work suffers. Simply stated, your diet can make you feel like less of a person — like you’re not worthy of love, affection, recognition, or high pay — which can lead you to begin acting that way.

There are two things I hope this Anti-Diet Advent Calendar has convinced you of:

  1. Diets don’t work.

  2. It’s not your fault.

What does the research say about diets?

There’s an interesting phenomenon that occurs with most research studies that follow diets and dieters: almost all of them end before the 6 month mark. Huh. What’s going on here? Do we die after 6 months on a diet or something?

Nearly all people who go on a structured diet will lose weight…but are they keeping that weight off? Maybe it’s a funding issue, maybe too many participants drop out, or maybe studies are abandoned when they don’t show favorable evidence…whatever the reason, there is very little data on what happens to dieters long-term.

The few studies that do follow participants beyond 6 months aren’t promising: at least 85% of all dieters regain the weight within one year, and nearly 100% of all diets end in failure by year 5. Obesity research seems to confirm that long-term weight loss is nearly impossible. Check out this article for more grim reasons why we don’t — and probably can’t — win the battle of the bulge.

Research also shows that diets are big business. If every American stopped buying diet books, workout programs, supplements, and meal plans tomorrow — and instead simply decided to focus on health without insane rules and perfection — the diet industry would stand to lose billions of dollars. The diet and fitness industry does not want you to know about the failure rate. Diet pushers and proponents are in the business of making you believe that YOU are the failure. If only you had more willpower. You just don’t want it bad enough. Keep trying…and buying…they say.

This is a load of bullshit. I don’t know a single person who woke up one day and wished to be fat. I also don’t know any fat people who are unmotivated, lazy, or incompetent slobs. They are successful in every other area of their lives…and they are desperate to lose the weight. They want it more than anything or anyone.

But humans are….human. No one can achieve the dietary perfection called for in most of these fad diets…except for maybe the 1% who can afford personal chefs and celebrity personal trainers. Just like you damage your metabolism a little further every time your weight rebounds from a crash diet, your mental state also takes a hit. You stop believing in yourself. This is a tragedy because it often leads people to stop caring for themselves entirely.

 What you should do instead…

Anti-Diet Wisdom: This isn’t so simple because we’ve been trained — by doctors, fitness trainers, and media — that we should be on a diet, especially if we’re overweight. In fact, many people create part of their identities around their diet du jour. Who are you? I’m keto, Paleo, Atkins, ancestral, all-meat, Whole 30…

And when we inevitably can’t follow the rigid rules of these plans, we feel like there’s something wrong with us and may even struggle with questions about who we are. But the research clearly shows that it’s the diets that are failing…not us (check out my last post about how diets go against our biology). So it’s time to stop believing in diets — and start believing in yourself.

The best way to do that is to commit to never diet again — and simply do whatever you can, whenever you can, to make your body more healthy. This entire Anti-Diet Advent Calendar is full of simple tips that will help you get healthy! No rules = no failure. Some days you’ll do better than others…but it’s okay because your human!

And don’t forget to work on loving yourself and being proud of who you are today. Your worth has nothing to do with your body. You are a human being with strengths and weaknesses, and you are worthy of love, affection, recognition, money – whatever your heart desires – just as you are.


Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer

Learn more about the author here.

kelly bailey