Here is a surprising and utterly depressing set of facts relating to fad dieting: "Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), reviewed 31 long-term studies lasting between two to five years and concluded that at least one-third to two-thirds of people on diets regain more weight than they lost within four or five years."
The Trouble With Fads
So, not only are dieters experiencing the bitterness of regaining the weight they initially lost, but they are gaining more than they initially lost. The big question is "why?" Why on earth are people who are focused enough to follow a strict diet also suffering weight regaining? There are several reasons that any fad diet will fail, and this is true whether it is a diet with meal replacement shakes, a cleansing period or some other variety. Let's consider the different reasons for such issues in order to help you discover a healthier path to health and weight loss:
- They have too many rules and requirements - One well known diet has people eating very specific food combinations such as four hours between meals or snacks, eating only proteins and carbs together at certain times a day, eating only protein at another meal and on and on. As one expert warned, "Diets with that many rules and regulations are very hard to follow for an extended period of time. A person should never start an eating program that they can't maintain for the rest of their life."
In other words, fad diets are unrealistic over the long term because they are far too complex for the real world.
- They eliminate entire food groups - No-carb diets like the Atkins plan are famous for causing weight loss, but really think about that one. Can you go the rest of your life without any carbohydrate and only a limited amount of fruits and vegetables? The body is not designed for it, and eating only one primary food group (such as proteins and fats) can actually cause health problems.
So, this sort of fad diet fails because it requires that you actually stop eating foods that your body needs to survive. As a prime illustration of this, your body needs fat for nervous system and brain function, and low to no fat diets just cannot last.
- They require too much of one food - Think of the famous grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup detox, the porridge plan, and so on. Now, think about eating just one food such as porridge, every day, for months or years on end. That is not sustainable, and as one dietary expert said, "We concluded most of them would have been better off not going on the diet at all. Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back."
The body does suffer a lot of wear and tear when your weight "yo-yos" up and down. It makes it increasingly easier to regain weight. Instead of using extremes, it is far better to change your attitude towards food and diet. Healthy eating as a habit and lifestyle is the key to weight loss and to keeping the weight off. Dieting is a slow and steady process, and it takes small changes that add up over time, and which eventually help you reach a permanent healthy weight.