There are more Australian adults on “diets” than ever before, the menu is never ending – from ketogenic to low-carb, low-fat, the Atkins Diet, paleo – the list goes on. Yet somehow as a nation, our overweight and obesity epidemic is bigger than ever and is only growing (and at an alarming rate.)
Why are these diets failing us?
Let me paint a little scenario for you…most diets we see these days are incredibly restrictive, boasting a very low-calorie intake, cutting out the foods you look forward to every day and taking the joy away from eating. But hey, you want to lose weight, you’re going to give it your all and you’re willing to give up anything that you have to. So, you research this diet, you’re ready to go, you’ve got a start date and an end date in mind – LET’S DO THIS!
WOAH. Hold up there. You’ve got an end date in mind? But how are you going to keep the weight off after you “finish” the diet…?
Anyway, you’ll think about that later. So you’re off on this brand new diet and you’re hoping to stick at it for a few months, you’ve restricted your calories dramatically, eliminated the foods you love like pizza and ice-cream, you’re missing social events because you can’t eat your friends birthday cake or have those beers Friday night BUT HEY the weight is coming off. IT’S WORKING!
It’s been two weeks on this new diet, you’ve lost a bit of weight – but man are you craving! It’s morning tea at work and the boss has just popped a box of cookies in the tea room. You deserve a cookie, you haven’t had a cookie for weeks, and you’ve lost weight – one cookie is not going to undo your hard work…
YOU’VE EATEN THE ENTIRE BOX.
Well shit, was good while it lasted. Who’s keen for Friday drinks and platters?
Does this scenario sound at all familiar? Maybe you didn’t eat the whole box of cookies, maybe just one was enough to spike that insulin level and make you want to eat everything in your sight. So to reward yourself from that crazy diet you are back to ‘normal’ eating for a few weeks until you realise that you’ve gained all that weight back again, you’re feeling very low – maybe even angry at yourself, and now you’re looking for your next diet to lose it all over again.
Welcome to what is commonly known as ‘Weight Cycling’ or ‘Yo-Yo Dieting.’
It’s the process of weight loss and weight gain repeating over and over and over again. It can be a vicious and painful cycle to find yourself in, the feeling of one step forward and two steps back. It can mess not only with your mind but also do some damage to your body and is certainly no good for your metabolism. Why on earth can’t this weight stay off!?
Put simply, most ‘diets’ are just not sustainable long-term.
Research tells us that 95% of people who lose weight will have regained that weight within three years and almost two-thirds will regain more weight than they had before even starting the diet.
THAT IS A SUCCESS RATE OF LESS THAN 5%!
The harsh reality is there is no quick fix option when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. Sure anyone can lose weight, but not everyone can keep it off. If you’re starting a diet with an end date in mind, there is no point in even beginning it unless you can create a sustainable lifestyle from it. Don’t set yourself up for failure because life is here to be enjoyed and I am telling you right now you can reach your weight loss goals without risking your health and your sanity! You might even actually enjoy it!
Ditching the ‘diet’
If you’ve kept up with any of our blogs so far, you might have come to know that the 141Fitness team is a HUGE advocate for tracking macros and fueling our bodies based on what we each individually need. It involves tracking the amount of protein, fats, and carbohydrates you consume daily (it also involves pizza, Nutella, doughnuts – and all the foods you love!) Check out our blog on a Day In The Life of Tracking Macros!
We run a Macros program at 141Fitness and have had some incredible results from clients who are taking this on as a lifestyle plan. There is no restriction, no vicious cycle and a serious amount of support. If you want to find out more feel free to get in touch at [email protected]
Norton, L Baker, P 2018, Fat Loss Forever, pp 13-19.
Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, ABS 2011-12.