Do you run to the latest fad diet when you want to lose weight? You are not alone. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that each day Americans spend an average of $109 million on dieting or diet related products, or over $34 billion a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that at any given time two- thirds of all American adults are on a diet to either lose weight or prevent weight gain, y et 95 percent of these dieters fail to keep the weight off, if they lose weight at all.
Here are the 5 key reasons why fad diets fail, and 5 proven alternatives to help you lose weight easily, naturally, and permanently.
1. Here’s Why Fad Diets Fail
Most diets require you to make radical dietary and lifestyle changes, which most people are unable or unwilling to do, for a wide range of reasons. Rather than making small, incremental changes in lifestyle that can last a lifetime, diets encourage you to turn your life upside down for 8 to 12 weeks, and then you’re on your own again. Even if you made these changes, human nature is to return to the old habits, and the diet fails. Effective weight loss requires that you have the right mental attitude and strong support in order to succeed. A simple, smart diet, made up of readily available foods found at your local grocery store, will guarantee your success in maintaining a healthy weight, when combined with will power and supportive friends.
Solution: Start with small steps toward your weight loss goal every day. Reduce the portion sizes of foods you already eat and enjoy. Drink water or milk instead of soda. Take supplements like fish oil, fiber supplements, chromium picolinate and 5-HTP to control hunger pangs. Take a fiber supplement with a full glass of water 30 minutes before each meal to help you feel full and strengthen your digestive system.
2. Fad Diets Cause Fatigue
Many fad diets are simply too low in calories. Because they don’t provide enough energy for you to accomplish everything you need to do in a day, they’re a short-term solution at best. This is especially true if you’re following a low- or no-carbohydrate diet. Carbohydrates are the main energy food for the brain, which uses 25 percent of your body’s energy. A healthy body requires an average of 1800 calories per day and it is impossible to become overweight with this caloric intake. A balanced diet of carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, and essential fatty acids is the only guaranteed weight loss solution.
Solution: To lose weight and maintain your energy, men should eat about 1800 calories a day, and women should eat around 1500 per day. Eat foods high in complex carbohydrates like whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes to maintain your energy throughout the day. Avoid simple sugars, found in white bread, sweets and processed foods, as they result in a sharp rise in energy, followed by a crash, and sometimes depression.
3. Fad Diets Make You Lose Muscle
Diets often don’t support muscle building during periods of caloric restriction. Most diets are designed to burn fat first and then build muscle. When you do that, you lower your calories so much that you don’t have the energy to exercise or think properly, due to starving your brain.
Solution: Taking fish oil daily and walking for 45 minutes three times a week can help you burn body fat faster and maintain muscle, according to renowned author, psychiatrist and brain expert Dr. Daniel Amen.
4. Fad Diets Slow Your Metabolism
When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down, and you burn fewer calories. As a result of your metabolism slowing down, you have to eat even fewer calories per day to continue to lose weight. You burn more muscle than fat, lowering your metabolic rate leaves you feeling hungry all the time because your body is not absorbing the food you’re eating, and you gain weight instead of losing it.
Solution: To give your metabolism a boost, eat the majority of your food earlier in the day. Breakfast should be your largest meal, and dinner should be your smallest. Drink up to a gallon of water a day, and eat foods high in B vitamins like tuna, turkey, bananas, nuts, dairy products, and eggs.
5. Fad Diets Fail Because of Underlying Emotional Issues
Emotional eaters, which account for up to 90 percent of overweight and obese people, eat as a coping response to soothe or suppress negative emotions such as:
The habit of emotional eating becomes so automatic that you overeat whenever you get stressed or angry, without realizing that you’re doing it. It prevents us from learning effective coping skills that would provide a healthier, more permanent solution to our emotional distress.
Emotional eating reinforces feelings of guilt and shame, which add to the distress causing you to overeat in the first place. This leads to a habitual cycle of overeating that no diet alone can resolve.
You may be determined enough to stick with a diet until you reach your target weight. But you’re emotional triggers are still in place. All you’ve changed is your diet, temporarily. You’re lifestyle has not shifted to finding healthier foods you enjoy in amounts that don’t cause you to gain weight, and you won’t keep the weight off in the long run. You will gain it back, and more.
Solution: Meditation can help you to effectively respond to stressful circumstances and boost your tolerance of negative emotions, according to researchers at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. Being aware of and being able to modulate your response to stress allows you to stop yourself from overeating. Mindful eating increases your awareness of what you are eating, and helps you to focus on which emotions are causing you to eat. This practice changes your stress response and you become more aware of why you’re eating and the volume of food you eat. Start by focusing on each food before you eat it. Appreciate it for being what it is and be thankful for the nourishment it provides you.
By understanding these 5 key reasons why fad diets fail, and 5 proven alternatives to help you lose weight easily, naturally, and permanently, you can boost your energy balance, and build and maintain lean muscle while burning fat. Rather than gaining a few pounds each year like most adults, you will be losing weight. Best of all, you will not have shocked your system with a starvation diet. You will be eating appropriate portions of healthy food, giving your body the exercise it needs to maintain good health, and addressing the root causes of your emotional blocks to losing weight. Enjoy the new you!
Michael Locklear is a researcher and consultant with 30 years experience, studying health, nutrition, and human behavior. He has been president of the Global Peace Project since 1986, and he administrates the website www.Natural-Remedies-for-Total-Health.com as part of the Global Peace Project Educational Outreach Program. You can also find him on The Total Health Blog.