You know the phrase I’m talking about right? I mean, if you’ve ever been ALIVE in America, you’ve probably hear the ol’ Diets Don’t Work schtick more than once. So many times in fact, that it seems cliché at this point. There’s no real meaning behind it anymore. It evokes VERY little emotion anymore. Everyone keeps saying “diets don’t work, diets don’t work”…but they don’t often provide an alternative solution for ya, let alone helping you understand what the hell it even means.
I get it, girlfriend. So let’s break it down for a second.
It really depends on what your definition of “work” is. If your SOLE desire to lose weight, regardless of what happens after you end the diet…then YES. Diets work. Weight watchers…South Beach…Atkins…Paleo/Whole 30…yes. They usually result in some significant weight loss.
Now let’s expand on the definition of “work” Let’s say your desire is to LOSE WEIGHT and KEEP IF OFF… well…we’ve got a whole ‘nother beast on our hands.
A giant, raging beast, full of empty promises.
“Whoa, Christie!” you say. “That’s a bit dramatic, don’t ya think?”!
I know I know. But it’s SO TRUE. I need to scream if from the roof tops! I think Maximus above would agree with me (even though his diet only consists of apples). In all seriousness….. diets don’t work. They actually cause harm.
Let’s dig into that for a second.
1| Diets have a 95-99.999% failure rate
The National Weight Control Registry has provided data that shows a very significant number of adults in the USA have maintained their weight loss. A study completed by Ikeda, Amy, Ernsberger et.al completed a critique of this information and found that actually 95-99.999 percent of diets failed! The participants may have lost weight…but a vast majority were found to have gained it all back – AND MORE.
Now of course you are curious about the other remaining percents – the people that did main the weight loss (usually greater than 2 years). What’s their secret??? (I know… it’s tempting to want to know…so we can do the same thing!). Another study focused on the NWCR showed that up to 20% were able to “To maintain their weight loss, members report engaging in high levels of physical activity ( approximately 1 h/d), eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight, and maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.” (Wing and Phelan, 2005)
Soooo…basically you have to excessively exercise, eat low calorie diet, can’t enjoy a high fat meal, you have to step on the scale regularly and you can never let loose on the weekends.
Um. Lame? So you have sacrifice the joy of food, kill your body at the gym and basically fry your nerves. Basically, they developed obsessive disordered eating pattern.
Hm. Not interested in THAT so…..
2| Obesity alone does NOT cause disease
A large and well esteemed research study by Dr. Linda Bacon and Dr. Lucy Aphramor showed that “While it is well established that obesity is Associated with increased risk for many diseases, causation is less well-established. Epidemiological studies rarely acknowledge factors like fitness, activity, nutrient intake, weight cycling or socioeconomic status when considering connections between weight and disease. Yet all play a role in determining health risk. When studies do control for these factors, increased risk of disease disappears or is significantly reduced.” (Bacon & Aphramor, 2011).
Basically, it means this: Obesity is often seen alongside (associated) various disease states…but the research does not show that it is the sole cause. Most research that says obesity “causes” disease, does not factor in the person’s exercise, quality of diet, history of weight cycling etc. When they do factor these things in … disease risk significantly drops.
3| Weight Cycling Increases Inflammation (which is what increases disease risk!)
As described in the above section – a majority of diets lead to weight loss, followed by weight gain (and some). This is called weight cycling. Up and down…up and down…up and down. It’s exhausting not only on you mentally…but physically as well. Aka…we really can’t show that obesity alone causes disease. What we CAN show is that weight cycling INCREASES inflammation, which is known to increase obesity-ASSOCIATED diseases like hypertension, insulin resistance and cholesterol abnormalities (Bacon & Aphamor, 2011)
Take away here? Diets cause weight cycling. Weight cycling increases inflammation. Inflammation causes disease.
See the problem?
Taking all this “diets don’t work” stuff in can be a big, tough, and sometimes bitter pill to swallow. We’ve been promised our whole damn lives that if you could lose weight, so many of our problems would go away.
The truth is? That was a LIE! It’s time to get angry my friends. The diet industry (and was seems like everything you know about health) has been leading you astray FOREVER. GOODS news? There is a better way, which will be talked about in the next blog post.
In the mean time…are you curious about what life would look like, WITHOUT diets? It’s possible, and it feels good, and it’s doable.
JOIN US in a FREE challenge, called the 5 Day Kickstart to a DIET FREE LIFE! This real time challenge starts OCTOBER 2nd and will be absolutely life-changing. Join a wonderful group of women, starting October 2nd, who seriously might LOSE IT if they have to live one more day of their lives on a horrendously restrictive diet!
Each daily coffee talk (aka challenge lesson) comes via email and takes less than 15 minutes. You will also have the opportunity to hang out with me EVERY DAY live to get more help, support and espresso-filled excitement!
Get prepared…I’m about to give you ACTIONABLE steps for bringing about some REAL lasting change.
During this epic FREE 5 day challenge, you’ll learn:
- Exactly how to relax and truly end your restrictive habits
- How to eat without calorie counting and diets, and why it’s the research-based answer to ending the constant cycle of weight loss/gain (yep – I’m pullin’ the science card on this one!)
- The secret weapon for ending overeating (that no one seems to talk about)
- The MOST important skill you need to be mastering so you can live this new life forever.
Did I mention that ONE lucky challenge participant will receive a full scholarship to my LiveLoveLose: Finding Life Without Diets online course (valued at $1797)?
Join us today – change your life forever!
- Bacon and Aphramor. Weight science: evaluating evidence for a paradigm shift. Nutr J. 2011 Jan 24;10:9.
- Ikeda, Amy et.al. The national weight control registry: a critique. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2005 Jul-Aug;37(4):203-5.
- Wing and Phalena, Long term weight maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr, 2005 Jul;82(1 Suppl):222S-225S
Until next time, my friend