Weight loss diets can be hard work yet it is estimated that two thirds of people in Britain alone are on a diet most of the time. In the USA 50% of women appear to be permanently dieting, with a whopping 90% of teenagers reporting that they have tried to lose weight by following some type of weight loss diet.
Looking at these figures it is hard to see what is happening. After all, if these diets actually worked then we would not have the obesity problem that is glaringly obvious every time we leave the house or get on the scales. Some states in the USA such as Alabama have a whopping 40% rate of obesity, so this is a very visible issue in many areas.
So, what’s going on? If so many of us are trying to stick to a weight loss diet, how come it doesn’t seem to be working?
Could it be that your weight loss diet is just making you fatter? Let’s see if we can get to the root of the problem. And anyway…. why is there a problem in the first place?
Why is there a weight problem? We eat too much, and we eat too much of the “wrong” types of food. This combined with a more sedentary lifestyle than ever before means that it is hard to stay within normal weight parameters.
The recommended calorie intake for women is 2000 calories a day and 2500 calories for men yet most people find it hard to stick to this without making a real effort. The problem is that we are surrounded by food and drinks that contain high levels of sugar and processed carbs and for most of us this is normal.
The food industry hasn’t helped, the pressure is on to consume and the fact that portion sizes have doubled makes this “new normal” hard to avoid.
The reasons for obesity are actually more complex than this, but it comes down to ingesting a greater number of calories than we burn off in exercise.
No wonder people turn to weight loss diets in order to feel and look better. Sadly, it seems that they rarely work for most of us.
So let’s take a look at diets.
Some diets offer the promise of a fast fix to weight gain. Adopting a semi starvation regime technically referred to as a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) that sees you eating only grapefruit, drinking cabbage soup, or following the notorious lemon detox or any of the diet drop protocols will get you quick results if you can stick at it.
The problem is that this method of weight loss is extreme and unsustainable. You cannot live on a diet of 500 calories a day for very long, it is officially a marker of starvation levels, and it can cause serious health issues such as dehydration and fatigue.
It is practically impossible to find anyone who has lost serious amounts of weight by following one of these extreme regimes and managed to maintain the weight loss. The before and after pics can look great but over time the weight does creep back on. In addition, an extreme calorie deficient diet will cause your metabolism to slow, making it increasingly hard to lose weight next time.
A review carried out in 2013 of people following dieting and restrained eating found that it was a predictor to future weight gain. Not a solution.
In fact, a study carried out in Finland on identical twins found that the twins who tried to lose weight by following a weight loss diet induced a subsequent weight gain that was in excess of the twins who hadn’t bothered.
Many of us are familiar with the yoyo weight gain effect caused by the freedom to eat normally after the diet is over. The effect is compounded by the disruption to our appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin.
Some evidence suggests that the simple act of thinking about going on a diet and the stress this can cause makes the metabolism to slow in order to protect the body from future food shortages.
Despite the fact that diets don’t really work, the dieting habit can start young, especially with young girls. If mum is always on a diet and talking about dieting, it seems that small girls are likely to copy this behaviour. Children as young as five are reportedly worried about their weight. According to research this is 90% more likely if the mother has reported recent dieting.
They do often work but long term results can be disappointing. Studies have examined long term results of dieting and they are not good.
One test caught up with 192 people who had lost weight in the previous three years following weight loss programs and found that despite the average 22kg weight loss, only 12% of the participants managed to keep 75% of the weight off and a whopping 40% had gained more weight than before they had started.
The good news is that much of this seemed to come down to lifestyle choices. According to the test conclusion “frequency of exercise after the diet program was the strongest predictor of weight loss maintenance, while television viewing predicted a gain in weight.”
It seems crazy, but the figures suggest that attempting a weight loss diet sets you up for long term failure and weight gain.
Although obesity figures are big, being overweight is not the only motivation for going on a diet. There is a lot of media pressure on people to look thin and in some cases expectations are simply unrealistic.
If you feel that you need to lose weight for your health, then you should, but if it is to look like a stick thin model or your favourite celebrity, you are probably setting yourself up for failure before you start.
We all come in different shapes and sizes with different genetics and there is not always much you can do about this. Achieving your dream body is not always possible, and if you are healthy it might mean that you are already the ideal weight for your body. Not everyone is naturally thin. For many people, this type of body shape is impossible to achieve.
The good news is that there are ways to lose weight healthily. And if you are overweight or obese, doing this will probably help you look and feel better. However you don’t necessarily need to go on a diet, because figures show that they don’t tend to work long term.
The key to weight loss is adopting a lifestyle that you can live with, and making healthy food choices over unhealthy ones.
There are many ways you can do this. Common sense advice includes; enjoying your food and taking time to eat it. Switching to eating fresh food rather than processed. Cutting down on portion sizes such as by using a smaller plate. Cutting out sodas and snacks, such as crisps and candy bars. Going easy on the alcohol.
We all have different habits and making changes to your normal lifestyle may be enough to make a real difference to weight. Making small changes and sticking to them will be more effective than going all out for extreme weight loss that you cannot maintain.
Taking a weight loss supplement can help weight loss too. You may find that a safe supplement helps reinforce your healthy eating plan, and the support that it offers can help keep you on track and focused on your new healthy lifestyle.
There are thousands of supplements to choose from, and according to many Watchdog readers a good quality supplement can make a real positive difference.
Keep an eye on our website for all the latest supplement info, so you can find the product that is right for you. Our approved list assures you that the supplement you choose will be safe and help you adopt a healthy life style, without causing adverse effects or tying you into dodgy payment schemes.
One constant fact across all the research into diet, health, and weight loss is that if you are active you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. We don’t want to bang on about this and we know that people are sick of being told about the benefits of exercise, but it is a fact.
Activity does not have to mean a gym membership or taking part in team sports, even though these can be effective. If organised sport is not for you, walking, running. cycling. and dancing for example are all great methods of exercise.
Getting additional activity into your daily life as a habit will make you feel better, and help improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off.
If you are not active in your daily life and are struggling to lose weight, switch off the TV and social media and get moving!
This well known phrase, originally attributed to Mark Twain is especially true when it comes to weight loss.
If you spend your life either dieting or thinking about going on a diet soon and you are still overweight, it obviously is not working. And searching around for the new diet that promises to be different this time is unlikely to pay off. Like a bad relationship we always feel that this time it will be different yet once the weight loss is over, it always comes back and is typical of yoyo weight gain.
The overriding message from nutritionists is to stop trying to get thin and focus on living in a healthier way.
Life is too short to spend it on self denial and misery and beating yourself up because you are not the right shape.
You may find that by making changes to your usual diet and lifestyle that you can live with, gets better results than any weight loss diet on the market.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.