Why Diets Don’t Work in the Long Term

In the last article in this series, we looked at what was going on inside your mind with the little voice that seems determined to run things in your life their way, and not yours. This could be a part of the reason why diets don’t work for many people. The world we live in has clearly put certain pressures on us, and it is in how we choose to consciously respond to those pressures that we will find our subsequent results.

But there is a lot more to the picture that we need to consider, and one of those other things is the phenomenon of the diet culture. On the one hand, a thriving media is responsible for establishing an unrealistic ideal, and, in turn, for causing real anguish to many people who feel pressured to live up to it.

On the other hand, we have an equally successful industry that exists to help you in your attempts to make and keep yourself slim. To convince you that there is no basis to the reason as to why diets don’t work, and to convince you that perfection is possible. I want you to take an eyes wide open look at what is currently in the slimming market around you. When I say eyes wide open, I mean look but don’t buy. Analyse without letting the marketing affect you.

Calorie Restriction

It has been commonly supposed that one way to ensure weight loss is through extreme calorie restriction. In other words, greatly reducing the amount of energy you take in. Often a crash diet may seem, initially, at least, a great success. But in truth, it is not fat that you are losing from your body, it is water and glycogen, which is a substance deposited in the muscle tissue as a store of carbohydrates.

Simply starving yourself with a crash diet and depleting these reserves that your body needs is why diets don’t work, more specifically, these types of crash diets. But there is more to it than that. If you continue to restrict your energy intake, it will result in the breaking down of your muscle tissue to fuel your body. What is going on here is your body begins to feed on itself for energy.

Sandra Aamodt explores the impacts of a diet culture in the video shown below. This is looked at from the perspective that our bodies main function and purpose is to keep us alive, and biologically, that is what it is trying to do at the same time as we are trying to shape it for our superficial goals.

Drastic calorie reduction can also wreak havoc with your metabolism. There are a number of physiological mechanisms that we have inherited from our ancestors. On such mechanism, as Sandra Aamodt describes, is the famine response. When we drastically reduce what we eat, the body goes into starvation mode and tells itself to start conserving fat.

Why Diets Don’t Work

Your metabolism slows down in order to preserve energy. As it slows down, the amount of food required becomes less and less. In the first place, to keep losing weight, you need to keep eating less and less. And, secondly, when you come off your diet and resume normal eating, the body, which is now adjusted to your lower food and energy intake, carries on in its adjusted ‘famine mode’ state.

The is why diets don’t work for many people in the bigger picture, your body is adjusting to try and keep it functioning and alive with the little food, or fuel, that it is now getting. As a result, your metabolism remains slower, and your muscle mass will have decreased, and any excess calories – that is to say that this is what the body perceives to now be excess calories – are stored as fat. Moreover, if you are on a restricted diet, and choose to exercise, you may find yourself feeling tired and weak, unable to properly move, simply because your brain and your muscles are not getting sufficient energy.

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