Why popular weight loss diets do not work
At any given time, 5 out of 10 urban Indians are trying to lose weight. The best way to
lose weight is through what we now understand as ‘going on a diet’. The pressure to
appear a certain way, fit into a certain size of clothing, and look social media-ready
pushes people into fad diets or ‘the one that’s most popular right now’.
They have various names – Atkins, Dukan, Keto, Paleo, Ultra-Low Fat– the list goes on. They may successfully help you lose weight for some time. But, in many of these diets, proper nutrition takes a backseat and health falls far, far behind.
Why popular weight loss diets do not work !
let us look at some of the key reasons why these popular diets don’t work.
Sustaining these diets is difficult
Most popular diets today severely restrict calorie intake or eliminate food groups (carbs,
fats, etc.). And a restrictive unappetizing diet cannot be sustained for a long period. You
are bound to go back to your ‘old eating habits’ sooner or later if you are following such
diet plans. After all, for how long will you be capable of following a diet that makes you
unhappy and leaves you unsatisfied?
2. Weight loss is temporary
Many people successfully lose weight over a few months of dieting, but most are unable
to stay that way in the long run. This is because they miss their favorite foods and
eventually go back to ‘eating normally’. This often leads to binges because of being
super restrictive, and you end up gaining weight to be the same as before or even more.
3. Nutrition takes a beating
When fad diets tell you to stay off entire food groups, you are essentially losing out on
important nutrients. That’s why many people lose weight, but at the cost of their
stamina, sleep, mood, gut stability, and skin and hair health. When you are unable to
take it anymore, you simply drop out and rebound to your old habits and weight.
4. You cut back on exercise
Additionally, poor nutrition can lead to reduced physical activities. When you are on a restrictive diet that is stingy on calories, you subconsciously begin to skip workouts. It could be because your diet is not providing you with enough energy to remain physically active. So, you end up exercising less or not at all, pushing your fitness back and weight forward.
5. Eating is not fun anymore
Let’s face it! Good food is a source of pleasure and satisfaction. Unappealing foods included in popular diets can make eating an uphill task by robbing the sense of gratification you feel after a meal. And this also plays a crucial role in sticking to a diet long term.
So, what should you do instead…
1. Adopt an inclusive approach to food
Instead of cutting out on foods or food groups, go for an inclusive food plan. This is
where you prioritize good macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat), vitamins, and minerals in your meals. But you don’t need to cut out the ‘bad foods’, just limit the quantities. This helps manage cravings and allows long term compliance with a diet. Some easy hacks involve selecting whole grains that contain more fibre instead of refined grains. Embracing good fat sources like nuts, seeds, and cold-pressed oils. Going for natural sugars in the form of whole fruits and dried fruit. Limiting processed foods to a minimum.
2. Practice portion control
Instead of a blanket ban on carbs or fat, practice eating from all food groups, but
maintain a balance of portion size. For e.g. include more portions of vegetables and fruit in your daily diet than whole carbs.
3. Observe mindful eating
This is a great technique that you can use to stop overeating. But this is only possible
when you follow an inclusion approach to food. When no food is off limits, it is much easier to stop yourself from binging because you know that you can eat it whenever you want.
Eating mindfully involves being in touch with all your senses. You are aware of your
satiety levels and know when you are full. This lets you choose and control what and
how much goes into your tummy.
4. Weight loss is beyond food
The best way to lose weight is not just through food but in combination with physical
activity, sleep, and adequate hydration. Physical activity primes the body to burn more calories while 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep boosts metabolism. Water keeps the gut healthy, revs up metabolism, and flushes out toxins. So, following these consistently play a huge role in you achieving your weight loss goals.
The bottom line…
Losing weight may not be easy, but it also doesn’t have to be nightmarish. Instead of
going with the tide of the current diet trend, think about what will work for you in the
long run. Follow a healthy eating pattern that you would enjoy lifelong and adopt
healthy lifestyle changes that fit in with your current routine. You are more likely to
sustain a plan that you love following.
About today’s guest author…
This guest post has been submitted by Khushali Shah of healthyandkhush.com
Khushali has struggled with weight loss her whole life. Having lost over 25kgs
in the last few years, she has learnt a lot about weight loss and healthy living. She loves to share science based tips and hacks that have worked for her.