Does This Sound Familiar?
Have you ever been on a diet to lose weight for an upcoming event, started to shed the pounds and felt good about about yourself on your way to your goal. You thought: “This is great?” But then you hit a roadblock after a while, you continued to follow the program but the scale wouldn’t budge anymore so you tried to starve yourself even more, only to make you feel more irritable, groggy, and tired a lot of the time. You think you simply need to “want” it more, give it more time, and have more discipline and will power. Your thoughts and life begin to revolve around and be consumed in food–what you can eat, when you can eat it and how much you can eat and especially what you can’t eat at social gatherings and among friends. Eventually you give up and go back to eating like you were before, only to watch the weight come back twice as quickly as it took you to shed it. You then are searching for answers, questioning yourself and looking for another diet that works better than the last one. “Why does this keep happening to me?” you wonder.
How many different diets are there and do they work?
Odds are if you are like most individuals you have tried one or several diets at some point. What was your experience? What images, thoughts or feelings do you conjure up when you hear the word “diet” or recall your past experiences with them? Did you get the results you were looking for?
In your experience what is the best diet for weight loss? This is the billion dollar question—literally. The number of diets out there seems to grow more and more every year as more discontented individuals jump from diet to diet, hungry for the latest and greatest internet offering. While we have been caught in the mix of this ourselves, cycling over the years from diet to diet, searching for the next “quick fix” we were astounded and floored once we actually looked at the science and numbers in the industry. What does science tells us is the best permanent diet for fat loss? Is there one? This topic will, no doubt, strike a strong emotional cord with almost every reader as it should. Buckle your seat belt because these statistics may shock you.
Take Look at Current Diet Statistics:
95% of diets fail and most individuals actually regain the weight they originally lost in 1-5 years.
Up to 75% or more of people who diet eventually regain more weight than they originally lost within 4-5 years of the onset of the initial diet.
Dieting is a $68.2 billion dollar industry. The “obesity industry” (commercial weight loss programs, weight loss drug manufacturers and bariatric surgery centers) is a $315 billion dollar venture (nearly 3% of the overall US economy). (see http://www.bigfatfacts.com/)
Estimates indicate that up to 75% of the US population is overweight and 31% are clinically obese (BMI between 25 and 29.9 is “overweight” and BMI over 30 is “obese.”) Go here to calculate your own BMI. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm
Research from the Cleveland Clinic and New York University School of Medicine lists obesity as now the top leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.—even higher than tobacco. https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2017/04/22/cleveland-clinic-study-finds-obesity-top-cause-preventable-life-years-lost/
35% of “occasional dieters” progress into pathological dieting, and as many as 25% advance to full blown eating disorders. Every hour someone passes away due to an eating disorder!! http://www.examiner.com/eating-disorder-in-philadelphia/pathological-dieting-precursor-to-eating-disorders
Do Diets Help With Permanent or Long Term Weight Loss?
While personal experience certainly can vary these are not imaginary numbers and perhaps many of them underestimated. There is not a single shred of evidence in the literature that dieting leads to long term weight loss. I realize this may be a shock to many of you and you may still be in a state of denial, thinking this new latest and greatest diet is the panacea the world has been waiting for. I encourage you to do your research and find out for yourself. The truth of it is that virtually every diet can and will help you lose pounds initially but none of them have ever been scientifically proven to keep the weight off. The cold, hard reality is that diets simply do not work for permanent fat loss. Researchers at UCLA conducted the most comprehensive and rigorous analysis of long term diet studies ever done and made some surprising discoveries. Lead researcher Traci Mann found that “You can initially lose 5-10% of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back.” It was found that the majority of people regained all the weight and more. (http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Dieting-Does-Not-Work-UCLA-Researchers-7832)
Mann surprisingly found that certain factors biased most diet studies to make them appear more effective than they really were. Very low follow up rates, questionable measuring and reporting of actual scale weight and skewed reporting were all factors that demonstrated the actual numbers may have been tampered with. Certainly the realization of the amount of money involved in weight loss supplements, programs and the obesity industry (those numbers are billion with a “B”) should alert lots of red flags to the discerning individual.
Are You the Biggest Loser?
Another more recent study conducted by Kevin Hall of the NIH evaluated 14 contestants of the popular show The Biggest Loser in their weight loss journey and came up with some interesting findings. Even when there were prime conditions for weight loss—not having the stress of a 9-5 job, a tough but motivating trainer, telegenic doctors, strict meal plans and killer workouts–Hill found that the body in the long run will “fight like hell to get that fat back.” Over time, 13 of the 14 contestants Hall studied gained, on average, 66% of the weight they’d lost on the show, and four were heavier than they were before the competition. (http://time.com/magazine/us/4793878/june-5th-2017-vol-189-no-21-u-s/)
As we will explore further in future posts, the body has built-in evolutionary defense mechanisms to prevent excessive fluctuation in weight from one’s metabolic set point. Dieting disrupts in every way the innate internal weight regulation system. It fights against the natural process of weight control of the body. As we will see dieting is not a matter of will power it is fighting against your own biology.
You are probably very much now is the first of the five stages of grief—denial. This denial will lead to anger and then bargaining and subsequent depression, ultimately culminating in acceptance. I encourage you to skip as fast as you can to acceptance and save yourself days, weeks or months of grief.
How many diets do we have to endure before we come to realize for ourselves that diets don’t work? Are diets just a late 20th and 21st century invention designed to make us dependent and steer us from what our ancestors knew and we have forgotten? Why is nobody talking about these numbers? Are you wasting your precious time and money on something that won’t last in the long run? Are you tired of starving yourself, feeling miserable trying to “deny” yourself and only losing some weight to eventually hit a plateau or gain all the weight back once you stop the diet?
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being fed false and empty promises and want something that works. I want a lifestyle that will keep me fit and trim until the day I die and not require me to spend extraordinary amounts of time measuring my food and my body, nor waste my money. I want to eat my favorite foods and still feel good about myself.
What about you? Have you found a diet that works with your lifestyle and that you can sustain for the rest of your life? Comment below and let me know what you’ve found!