The research shows that fad diets fail 95% of the time. Short-term restriction leads to weight rebound and regain. But we are inundated with these before and afters and challenges, you know that people around you are losing weight. What we don’t see is the 2 years after or 4 years after. The After Afters..
These short-term diets are designed to produce max weight loss results in the shortest amount of time possible. Fad diets work by only leaving you with a very small amount of calories per day, leading to weight loss. Due to energy demands, this cannot be kept up for long, with the body fighting back in various ways including a spike in the hunger hormones, influencing the dieter to eat at an ever-increasing rate. Once calories return to the pre dieting amount so does the body weight. This rollercoaster in calories and body weight can lead you to having another go at a crash diet to lose the bodyweight that was regained after the first attempt, and so the loop of crash diets/weight loss, binging/weight gain begins. Maintaining results earned through crash diets has almost always failed due to the unsustainable way that the weight was lost in the first place.
3 Biggest reasons why diets fail
1. Restriction and elimination
Too restrictive, cutting out whole food groups will result in rapid fat loss but rigidity and restrictiveness mean the long-term implications on socializing, cooking and cravings mean that people will just return to old patterns and the weight will return.
2. Our body fights back
Our bodies defence mechanism. The human body does not like to be restricted of energy and as such when we diet it will set-off a range of physical and hormonal systems designed to stop weight loss and ensure weight returns.
3. Our relationship with food
Disordered ways of thinking about food, our bodies and diets. Thinking of a diet as only a short-term thing will ensure that after the diet is overweight will return. Even more so using diets as a way to manage feelings of unworthiness ensure that no matter what changes in your body you will never feel satisfied internally.
Restriction and elimination
Every 8-week challenge gives out the same cookie-cutter carb phobic meal plan. 1200 cals for the girls and 1700 for the boys. I’ve seen them, done them myself and heard all about them.
They are basically three meals a day 200g of protein with every meal, 2 shakes a day and carbs only from vegetables. These kinds of plans often come with a drastic elimination diet which cuts grains, carbs, sugar, dairy with no rational reason except to promote a calorie deficit.
Meal plans are so restrictive than staying on them for anything more than the recommended 8 weeks is absolute torture and once the challenge is done participants go and binge on all the foods they have been dreaming about for the last 8 weeks, and immediately re-gain all the weight they have lost and then some.
These challenges do nothing to promote long-term sustainable change AND set people up to believe the only way to lose weight is to do it through punishment and extremes.
8-week challenges = aggressive diets low calorie diets which create rapid weight loss. This weight loss is exploited solely for the purpose of the before and after photots, the Rapid transformations.
Because this is what sells, we see the pictures and think that could be me! But we don’t see the after after, and 95% of those people will have regained the weight they have lost in the next 6 months to 1 year.
The more extreme the deficit and the diet the harder it is to maintain long-term. The meal plans encourage the fastest weight loss in the shortest time frame, leading only to the fastest fat regain.
What next? Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 where we take a look at the body’s self defence system.
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