If you’ve ever gone on a diet and failed, you’re not alone. In fact, according to recent statistics, 95 percent of diets fail and most people will regain the weight they lost in 1 to 5 years.
Another review conducted by UCLA analyzed several different studies on dieting and weight loss. One study they looked at followed obese patients, and they found that within two years or less, 23 percent of people regained the weight they lost. Additionally, for those who were followed for over two years, they found that 83 percent of the dieters gained back the weight they lost.
So, if you want to lose weight, what are you supposed to do?
The answer: Stop dieting and start eating healthy. Check out this guide to learn how it’s done.
Why You Should Stop Dieting
As you can see, diets have been statistically proven to fail. Here are some of the top reasons you should stop dieting:
1. Diets Don’t Take Into Account Individual Differences
We all have different genetic makeup, metabolism rates, hormones, and diet history. All of these factors need to be taken into account when choosing what foods to eat. Most diets take the one-size-fits-all approach, and if you don’t fit the approach, you’re doomed to fail.
2. They’re a Temporary Fix
Perhaps the biggest issue with diets is that they’re a temporary fix. Most diets involve restricting a bunch of different foods as well as cutting back significantly on calories and over-exercising.
While you may be able to keep up this lifestyle for a few weeks, it’s not sustainable for your entire life. Once the diet is over, you’re likely to put the weight back on.
3. Diets Teach You to Ignore Your Body
Many diets focus on calorie restriction as well as nutrient restriction (ie, carbohydrates). If you’re allowing what you eat to be dictated by external rules, then you’re setting yourself up to ignore fullness and hunger cues.
Our bodies are built to naturally tell us when to eat and when to stop eating. If you ignore this information, then you’ll be ignoring your body’s internal systems.
4. Diets Can Ruin Your Relationship With Food
Diets often tell you that certain foods are “good” and other foods are “bad”. When you assign moral value to what you eat, believing that some foods are “sinful” and other foods are “allowed”, then you’re setting yourself up to have a negative relationship with food.
How to Stop Dieting
As you can see, there are many reasons that diets are bad for you. So, how do you take yourself out of the diet mentality? Here are some tips to follow:
1. Remove Rules and Restrictions Around Food
First things first, you need to remove any rules and restrictions you have around foods. Lifting restrictions around foods act like a powerful form of reverse psychology.
This is because when you give yourself permission to eat anything you want, you’re less likely to want those otherwise restricted foods.
The idea is to see all foods as equal and to neutralize foods so you can instead listen to your body in order to achieve your natural weight.
Of course, it’s still fine to follow a general food plan to give some framework for what to eat, such as paleo.
As for these paleo meal plans, you can follow a general diet plan while still not restricting any foods.
2. Learn How to Eat Intuitively
If you want to stop dieting and start eating healthy, then learning how to eat intuitively is very important.
The rules of intuitive eating are very simple. Basically, you should eat exactly what appeals to you when you’re hungry, and stop eating when you’re full. You should also pay attention to how certain foods and portions make you feel so you can adjust your habits in the future.
3. Reacquaint Yourself With Your Fullness and Hunger Cues
If you’ve been relying on apps and meal plans to tell you when to eat and how much to eat, then you’ve blunted your ability to recognize when you’re hungry and when you’re full.
To get back in touch with your hunger and fullness cues, it can help to think of hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being not hungry at all, and 10 being as uncomfortably full as you can imagine. The goal is to begin eating when you’re at a 3 or 4 on the scale and to stop when you’re at a 6 or 7.
Remember, hunger exists for a reason. A growling stomach is your body telling you it needs to be fed. Just as you wouldn’t ignore the signal that you need to go to the bathroom, so too shouldn’t you ignore the signal that you need to eat.
4. Get Some Help for Any Underlying Issues You Have With Food and Eating
If you have issues with food and eating that are affecting your mental and physical health, you should seek help.
In the US, at least 30 million people suffer from some type of eating disorder. If food is controlling your life, then it’s time to speak to a therapist or other healthcare professional about what you’re going through.
5. Understand That It’s Ok to Eat When You’re Not Hungry
While emotional eating shouldn’t be your only coping mechanism for dealing with your emotions, you should understand that it’s okay to eat when you’re not hungry.
There are a lot of reasons people eat outside of hunger. You might eat emotionally when you’re happy, when you’re angry, or because you’re curious about how something tastes. This behavior is normal, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it.
Time to Stop Dieting: Are You Ready to Change Your Habits?
Now that you know how to stop dieting and start eating healthy, it’s time to put these tips into action.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check back in with our blog for more healthy living tips and tricks.