Why Diets Don’t Work for Weight Loss
Each year, approximately 45 million Americans start a diet. According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), while dieting may work in the short term to reduce weight and lower blood pressure, most people regain the weight that they lost after a year.
This comprehensive study involved nearly 22,000 participants who followed a range of popular diets, including paleo, ketogenic, and counting calories. Although these individuals lost a moderate amount of weight over the first 6 months, after 12 months, the benefits of these diets had mostly disappeared.
The BMJ study isn’t the first to reach this conclusion, In 2018, researchers found that when people go on diets, more than half of the weight that they lost was regained within 2 years. Within 5 years, more than 80% of the lost weight had been regained.
So why don’t diets work? There are a number of reasons that diets aren’t effective for weight loss, including your metabolism slowing down to compensate for reduced calories and restriction leading to overeating. Fortunately, there is a better way to lose weight. Below, we outline some of the main reasons why diets don’t work, and what you can try instead for a sustainable, healthy weight loss.
Dieting Causes Your Metabolism to Slow Down
Our bodies are designed to use calories in the most efficient way possible. When you cut calories drastically on a diet, your metabolism slows down to accommodate for the change. While you may see an initial weight loss on a diet, as your metabolism slows down, your weight loss will typically plateau.
There are evolutionary reasons why our bodies do this. Early humans went through periods of extreme food deprivation. They stayed alive because their metabolisms slowed to preserve calories (energy) – and to keep them alive.
While this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, it can make it incredibly difficult to lose weight in the modern era. When we diet, our bodies react as though we are starving, and respond by making it harder for us to drop weight. Most dieters get frustrated when their weight loss efforts stall…and go back to their normal eating habits.
Dieting Can Lead to Hormonal Changes
There are a number of hormones, or chemical messengers, in our bodies that have an effect on our weight. These hormones include leptin, insulin, cortisol, thyroid hormones, estrogen, testosterone and DHEA. Even a slight hormone imbalance can impact how your body functions, including your metabolism.
Many of these hormones originate in the gut and in fat tissue. When we lose weight, the hormones that promote a feeling of fullness (or satiety) decrease, while the hormones that make us feel hungry increase. As a result, you are more likely to feel hungry as you lose weight, and less likely to feel full when eating the same amount of food.
Because most diets don’t address these hormonal issues, they don’t work over the long term. Our bodies are complex, and there are a number of factors that are linked to weight gain and weight loss. Dieting typically only focuses on cutting calories, which can’t help correct these hormonal imbalances.
Dieting Can Cause You to Obsess Over Food
As anyone who has ever struggled with weight understands, our brains play a big role in gaining and losing weight. What you may not realize, however, is that dieting actually causes neurological changes in our bodies that can make it harder to lose weight.
As discussed above, there are certain hormones that are linked to weight. One of these hormones, leptin, helps to control our hunger. When our body secretes leptin, it decreases hunger.
Our bodies have a “set point” for weight that is regulated by the brain. When we lose weight, the amount of leptin in our bloodstream drops. This sends a signal to the brain to get back to the set point.
The result? We may obsess over food, and believe that it is even tastier and more appealing than it actually is. As our brains work to defend our “set point” weight when we diet, it can become even harder to lose weight.
A Sustainable Way to Lose Weight
We know that diets don’t work. While you may lose weight initially on a diet, maintaining that weight loss is virtually impossible for most people. There is a better way.
Ideal You is one of the few weight loss programs that doesn’t slow down your metabolism. Instead, it works to reset your metabolism so that you are burning fat instead of storing it. This leads to healthy, sustainable weight loss.
With Ideal You, you won’t have to drink chalky shakes, or even work out (which doesn’t work for weight loss). You will eat real food, like grilled hamburgers, take all natural, food-based supplements, and work with skilled weight loss coaches to reach your goal weight.
Ideal You is different from a typical weight loss program. It focuses on the complicated, interrelated factors that can lead you to pack on pounds and keep them on, like hydration, body imbalances, food, and sleep. Doing this allows you to lose weight quickly and safely, and to maintain your ideal weight.
Want to Start Your Weight Loss Journey? We’re Here to Help.
As most of us know all too well, it is easy to gain weight – and hard to lose it. Fad diets may be popular, but they rarely lead to long-term, sustained weight loss. The Ideal You program is different.
With Ideal You, you won’t have to limit yourself to just a handful of foods. We’ll give you a structured food list and weight loss journal, all natural supplements to help improve your metabolism, and support from a team of weight loss coaches. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with Ideal You Health Center, reach out to us today at 800-433-2596 or book a consultation online.