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Why Diets Don't Work

Ever wonder why you just can't seem to stick to your diet? Do you feel like you're just jumping from one diet to the next, with no lasting results? Well, my friend, you're certainly not alone! Your frustration is felt by most American women. I want you to understand that you have no reason to feel shame or failure; it's not your fault, and here's why:

The only rational explanation for why people know what is good or know what is right and still do not make the right choices is an issue of the mind. Many factors affect the mind; yet, ultimately, it is the mind that decides, whether for good or for bad. We have been taught to believe that we are lazy or have no self-control when we cannot stick to a diet; yet, as hard as most of us try, it seems that there is a power greater than us that keeps us from sticking to the diet.

In reality, the issue is the diet, not us. Many diets are very restrictive and do not promote balanced nutrition, which has an effect on our minds. We often crave certain foods because of a chemical imbalance that is produced when we lack some nutrients. Also, the chemicals and genetically modified ingredients that are in most processed and packaged foods have an opiate-like effect on our brains, creating addictions that are difficult to end. We also crave some foods due to mental conditioning; that is, our minds have conditioned us to feel certain emotions when we think of, see, smell, or eat some foods because those foods are tied to certain life events. That is our mind's way of satisfying a need, sometimes not even evoking a good emotion, yet it is a familiar one, which can bring a certain level of comfort. We do sometimes eat when we are not hungry due to positive emotions, and we also use food and the activity of eating to turn off or avoid certain emotions that cause pain or that we do not feel comfortable with experiencing or do not want to deal with.

Diets do not work because…

  • They do not promote authenticity within us.

  • They create within us obsessive behaviors like counting, controlling, denying, resenting, regretting and negative thoughts.

  • They lower our self-esteem if we try and fail.

  • They encourage a cycle of disconnect between the mind and the body, causing us not to hear the voice within, creating a greater gap between who we are and who we want to be, abandoning our own intuitions rather than developing them.

  • Diets do not encourage us to get in touch with our feelings and emotions so that we can listen to our bodies and do what is best for ourselves in that moment.

  • Diets do not create awareness and mindfulness, as we learn to become like robots, with each step a controlled and calculated order to follow.

  • Diets put the wrong idea in our heads that there are "good" and "bad" foods, that we are good or bad for the food choices that we make, that we are not good enough, thin enough, beautiful enough.

  • Diets can promote body image issues, as they cause us to feel that we need them to "fix" ourselves in order to look a certain way. They do not encourage us to accept the natural phases of life, as with every life stage, our bodies naturally change. Diets are our way of feeling like we have control over that natural shift in our bodies that society does not accept or embrace.

  • Diets encourage a bad relationship with food, a natural source of nourishment to our bodies, minds, and souls, putting us in the mindset that we should have a temporarily "good" relationship with food, when on a diet. Due to their restrictive nature, diets can create cycles of binge eating, often resulting in the opposite result of that which was initially intended by dieting (weight loss, improved health).

  • Diets set unrealistic expectations for everyone so that when we see that a particular diet may have worked for someone else, we assume the same will be true for us. When we don't get the same results as someone else, we feel frustrated, when we did everything as "prescribed." Even when the desired results of weight loss have been achieved through a diet, other undesired results such as fatigue, headaches, depression, anxiety, joint pain, diabetes, and heart disease may occur due to the diet not fully meeting the individual's needs.

  • Diets, therefore, do not encourage us to understand our individually unique dietary and nutritional needs.

  • Diets do not encourage self-compassion and self-love; in fact, they often encourage self-hate.

  • Diets create a stress on us, which causes further dietary issues and even disease. We become stressed by the frustration of deprivation, stressed when we do not see the results we were hoping for, stressed by following strict guidelines.

Ultimately, diets do not work, as they do not allow us to know ourselves, authentically, to accept ourselves for who we are, to love ourselves as we are, to be patient with ourselves as we grow, to cope with life-long behavioral issues, to enjoy the different stages of our lives, living in the present moment, relishing all of the feelings brought on by each experience in order to live life by being the fullest, most expressive versions of ourselves!


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