Is going on a diet the answer to long term weight loss?

The world is full of fads that come and go in every category but none it seems as much as with diets. The Atkins, Zone, Ketogenic, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Mediterannean and Carnivore are just to name a few. Do diets actually work and if so do they keep the weight off long term?


The word diet means ‘a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, to lose weight.’ The word itself conveys that one is missing out, keeping to a set and in some cases strict program with many diets restricting different food groups entirely. Diets can work short term but are they really a viable long term solution to maintain a healthy weight? The other problem with a diet is that one is always thinking about what they  have eaten, are eating or about to eat, this puts the focus entirely on food and when you are trying to lose weight it is better to think less about food and more to focus on being healthy. Concentrating too much on food makes the diet a focal point and is what put the excess weight on in the first place.


Slim people who brag that they never diet when asked how they maintain their slim figures are easy to envy. We could even believe that they are just lying and secretly starve themselves to look that endlessly good. Of course some people have inherited good genes and they can eat more than others without putting on weight but this gene lotto tends to wane as people age and they too inevitably get stouter and have the same issues as the rest of the population who are consistently going from one diet to another in the quest to lose weight. The answer is that the majority of slim people eat only when they are hungry and only eat until they are full or not quite satisfied. They actually feel uncomfortable with a stomach stretched with food as they are too busy thinking and doing other things and they view food more as a substance to fuel themselves in other areas of their lives. This is not to say that they do not enjoy eating it is just that it is not the be all or end all it is just a segment. They eat to live but not live to eat.


Generally any kind of restrictive behaviour is not sustainable. This is the same with diets. The best approach is one of a healthy eating plan. No set diet but healthy eating choices. Only eating when one is hungry and not eating till one is satiated. A healthy, non restrictive eating plan is a long term solution to losing weight, keeping it off and taking the focus of prohibitive eating routines.  The other issue with being on a diet is that when we stuff up and deviate from a diet plan we tend to beat ourselves up, see ourselves as a failure and usually give up until we start yet another new diet. If you are not on a diet and you are keeping to a healthy eating plan and you do eat something that is not conducive to your concepts of what is appropriate there is no giving up or self retribution because you are not on a diet .. you are in fact on a healthy eating plan to lose weight and keep it off long term. And you are only human. Maintaining a healthy eating plan is not a diet but it is a great start in joining the ranks of the slim who do not diet and still stay slim.


Stop using the word diet. It only invokes images of sacrifice and work. Something to get through, a means to an end. Start seeing and imagining yourself as a Healthy Eater who  enjoys but doesn’t focus on food and stops eating before they are full. Not only will you be rewarded with a slimmer figure which is easier to maintain. You will be a healthier version of yourself and diets will become a distant memory.

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