Why Diets Don’t Work

A fellow RD posted an interesting stat on Instagram yesterday it stated:

“The average 45 year old woman has been on 62 diets”


Isn’t that a mind-blowing statistic? If diets worked, why would someone need to be on 62 of them? This had me thinking about diets and I wanted to share with you some insights to why this statistic might be.


The information I am going to share comes from one of my favorite nutrition books called Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole M.S., R.D and Elyse Resch M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A, C.E.D.R.D. You can find there book here.



Diets all work the same way: take away X food(s) and you will lose weight.

While they may work in the short term most people end up gaining the weight back. The reason? DEPRIVATION. When we are told to eliminate foods that we love from our diet, over time the feelings of deprivation become so strong that we will give in and let these “forbidden foods” back into our diet.

But what happens when we enjoy our beloved foods that we were supposed to eliminate? We are overcome with feelings of guilt! The more of this food we have, the more guilt we feel. Eventually the guilt is so high that we must then start a new diet to make up for our “mistakes”. And hence the cycle of dieting begins again!


It doesn’t matter if you are told to eliminate carbs, fat, dairy, fruit, broccoli, once you are “not allowed” to eat something it is all you will want to eat. Let’s face it, we are all still toddlers and being told we can’t have something is the worst thing you can do to us! I might not even enjoy broccoli but since my diet told me I can’t have it, guess what… I NEED it!


So how do we overcome this vicious cycle of dieting? Focus on including more food in your diet. Give yourself permission to wake up and have a protein rich breakfast. Make sure to eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day so that your hunger and energy levels are stable. Let yourself enjoy dessert or that glass of red wine. Focus on nurturing your body not depriving your body. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.


It may sound silly but once you let go of the cycle and free yourself from all the “food rules” you may just find the happiness you were looking for in the latest diet craze.

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