Healthy Living

5 reasons why most diets fail

Written by Patsy Davis

Let’s start with some staggering numbers.

More than 2/3 of all adults, 1/4 of all children ages 2 to 5, and 1/3 of all children ages 2 to 19 are obese. That is 78 million adults and 24 million children who are at risk for heart disease, diabetes and a multitude of other health issues. If diets worked, then more than 100 million people would not be overweight, right? It is time to re-assess how we think about food and get off the diet merry-go-round.

So many diets are based on restriction and deprivation. When we deprive our bodies, the stress of that alone may prevent weight loss. It is high time we start focusing on what we can eat, rather than what we can’t.

Dr. Mark Hyman, functional medicine doctor, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and New York Times bestselling author of “Eat Fat, Get Thin,” says that most diets fail because of five factors.

  1. We try to control our appetites with willpower instead of understanding there is a science behind hunger.
  2. We stress about counting calories.
  3. We keep our diets “low fat.”
  4. We do not realize that perhaps our weight may be affected by hidden reasons that require medical attention.
  5. We lack a solid, healthy and nourishing plan to ensure success.

Dr. Hyman also points out that, when the average dieter loses weight, muscle is often lost along with fat. This is dangerous, because, if the weight is regained, the fat comes back, but the muscle does not. This slows down metabolism and increases weight gain even more. This is a perfect recipe for a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and frustration.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way! Anyone can succeed in maintaining a healthy weight and living a nourished lifestyle without dieting.

Here are five tips that will keep you tuned in and in charge of your health and weight:

  1. Eat enough whole, fresh food to satisfy your appetite, because your body will be less hungry because it’s fully nourished. A “whole” food is a food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Our hunger signals are letting us know that something is wrong (hunger) and that a solution needs to be presented (food). When we are genuinely hungry, we need to eat.  It is important to choose vibrant, nutritious foods and healthy fats to satisfy our hunger and keep us full.
  2. Eat protein for breakfast to boost your energy for the day. Great options include eggs and turkey bacon or a protein shake made with almond milk and fresh fruit.
  3. Eat your last meal two hours before bedtime to give your food time to digest before sleep. This promotes better sleep, because the chance of stomach discomfort is reduced. During sleep, our digestion slows down to a very sluggish pace.  During this restful period, any calories consumed that our bodies did not burn that day are stored as fat.
  4. Make low-glycemic foods a diet staple. These foods include nuts, seeds, chicken and fish. Eating these foods helps your body keep blood sugar levels normal. Blood sugar regulation is key to successful weight loss. Finding foods that keep you feeling full and satisfied are crucial to de-stressing your body and creating a more positive relationship with food.
  5. Eat good fats at every meal such as avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Healthy fats are our friend, not our enemy.  People who consume coconut oil also tend to have improvements in blood sugar regulation, since coconut can help to improve insulin use within the body. Healthy fats also improve our skin, hair and nails!

Following these easy steps will help to raise your energy levels, lose unwanted weight and give you the satisfaction of knowing you are ensuring a healthy, nourished and balanced life for you and your family. There are so many delicious foods out there! Find the ones that fill you up, give you vibrant energy and you will never have to diet again.

About the author

Patsy Davis

Patsy Davis is the associate director of campus recreation at Augusta University and a certified health coach. She serves as the principal point of contact for coordination of wellness activities for students and also as a key leader and advocate for comprehensive attention to student wellness. Patsy proudly promotes student development and learning though supervising a student staff that provides operational and administrative support for the Augusta University Jaguar Wellness Center.

Patsy strongly believes in serving as an advocate for healthy choices. Her emphasis on mindfulness-based stress reduction is a cornerstone of her programming and the basis for her supervision style. Her professional experience as a certified health coach provides opportunities to positively influence the overall wellness of students, faculty and staff.

Patsy has been employed by the university since 2008. She received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the College of Charleston. She enjoys practicing yoga and playing tennis. She lives in Aiken, South Carolina with her husband, Mike and their two dogs, Pearl and Hazel.