When Dieting Fails (And It Will), Here’s What You Can Do

There are many reasons why many popular diets fail to deliver long term results. While some people may swear by their dietary regimens, if your individual goals don’t align with the program you choose, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up attaining that “beach body.” This is not your fault, and you’re not alone! There are reasons why diets traditionally have such a high failure rate!

Popularized diets like Atkins, Keto, and Dukan often fall short on their promise to make you thinner and feel more energized. That’s because these diets are based on limiting certain food groups and/or calories, are designed for the short-term, or require consuming unusually high amounts of saturated fat. All of which can have the opposite effect, leaving you undernourished and craving all the wrong foods.

Again, do not blame yourself or label your effort a failure if you’ve been down this road time and time again. Switching up your menu and changing your eating habits can be a stressful event just on its own, and it has little to do with discipline and willpower. Anticipating these drastic changes could even have adverse effects on your body chemistry way before you begin.

Generally, the concern with any diet or new eating plan is whether it’s sustainable for you after a lifetime of eating on autopilot. Again, it may work for some, but taking on a one-size-fits-all diet, without researching it or talking to your doctor, often results in disappointment. Even worse, discouraging results could lead to overindulgence or repeating the choices that got you in trouble in the first place.

The good news is there are alternatives and non-diets that have withstood the test of time and scrutiny from leading health professionals.

On average, both genders don’t have a problem with losing weight while improving their quality of life if they simply eat right and stay active. “Eating right” is an old-school expression that means eating instinctively, or eating the kinds of foods you “know” you should be eating. While this approach may seem too vague and generic for modern audiences, let’s break it down a little.

The Internet calls it “eating normally,” which sounds about right, and it involves eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re satisfied, or no longer hungry. Eating normally doesn’t require planning or being obsessive about what, when, and how much. It’s NOT designed in the typical sense of a diet. Instead, it uses your natural sense of fullness and satiety to help you become mindful of your body, and it helps you avoid the anxieties brought on from counting calories and feeling hungry even after you ate.

What this method is not, is another temporary fad to shed vanity pounds. It’s an alternative way of eating that allows you to consume the foods you enjoy while eliminating cravings and binging. The goal is to build, or rediscover, a positive relationship between your body and the foods you put into it by offering flexibility, balanced nutrition, and personal sustainability. While this approach may seem somewhat counterintuitive, or perhaps difficult as a standard diet, there are other options to get you started.

In 2018, the Mediterranean diet, along with the newer DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), flexitarian, MIND, and even Weight Watchers diets have been praised by the U.S. News & World Report. All of these healthy eating plans focus on getting plenty of fresh produce and protein, all while providing a scheduled menu that is easy to follow, and meals that are satisfying, sustaining, and that allow for planned indulgences. Ultimately, the idea here is to get followers to make sound food choices for the rest of their lives.

How refreshing would it be to enjoy a burger and (sweet potato) fries guilt-free, just because you want them?

Again, eating normally–or following a balanced meal or lifestyle plan–doesn’t give you permission to ravenously consume whatever, whenever, but it does give you the flexibility to satisfy your need to eat foods that will nourish and fully satisfy you.

Eventually, what could happen is you’ll begin tailoring your portions to fit your needs. Your attitude toward food will improve because you won’t be so preoccupied about whether you ate too much or that you’re being starved to death. You’ll finally feel like you have control over food, instead of the opposite.

Countless individuals have gone on all sorts of diets (crash, planned, ketogenic, liquid, etc.) that have failed them miserably. If you’re one of those people who have hopelessly thrown your arms up in resignation, there are easier ways to take back control.

These plans let you decide how much is too much, which is strangely similar to being told that it’s okay to break the rules. Balancing and moderation seem to be key when trying to achieve lasting weight loss and wellness results.  

And of course, remember, if your stomach is grumbling, it means you’re hungry. Listen to your gut–it won’t lie to you.