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Why Dieting is a Waste of Time and Energy

girl sitting at dinner table with fork and knife in handDid you know that only 20% of people that start a weight loss program actually succeed at losing weight and keeping it off? To keep yourself from being part of that statistic you must get rid of your dieting mentality. Here’s why:

Time Works Against You

Diets all have end dates. They last for 4, 8, or maybe 12 weeks and then they’re over. What then? Do you have any idea how to eat once your diet is over? Most likely, you will be returning to old eating habits and then starting all over again months down the road once your weight creeps back up.

We want time on our side. When we stick an artificial end date in the future, time crawls to a still. Compare that to a lifestyle change where there is no end date. You might think that the short time period of a diet makes things easier, but his is a common illusion.

We want to lift the burden of time. We don’t want to think about it at all. We want to move beyond the day to day intricacies of eating, and instead make our eating habits second nature. Once we do that, we’re just eating. Weight loss goes on autopilot and becomes an involuntary side effect.

When you’re not always thinking about your next meal or your next cheat meal break, you can distract yourself from the weight loss process. You put more trust into healthy eating and believe that your healthy habits will take you to where you want to go. Your thinking goes from “if I can just make it the next 2 months eating this way” to “I’m just eating, and 2 months is going to pass one way or another”.

They Don’t Hold You Accountable

Diets give us something to blame when we don’t get results. It’s easy to say a particular diet didn’t work for you. Rationalizing your failure by passing the blame to an inanimate object is the natural thing to do. But was it really the diet that was to blame?

Because we never learned along the way about our own relationship with food, and about what works for our individual metabolism, we end up placing all of our faith in our diet. When that diet doesn’t work, it’s on to trying the next one.

We must hold ourselves accountable for our actions if we want to succeed. You can’t reach your weight loss goals until you accept complete responsibility for your current lifestyle habits. You are in complete control of your life. That doesn’t mean there won’t be difficult circumstances, but how we choose to react to those situations will determine our ultimate outcome.

Weight loss is not a straight and narrow line from beginning to end. There will be a lot of detours. You will need to learn how to react in those moments, and diets won’t show you how. One of the biggest dieting fallacies is that there’s a blueprint you can follow for success. There isn’t.

They Teach You Very Little About Yourself

While diets will teach you what to do, they teach you very little about why you’re doing it. Learning the why’s behind your actions are what create sustainable long-term weight loss.

Blindly following a diet or meal plan might seem easier, but no diet goes 100% as planned. If you don’t take the time to understand the purpose behind what you’re doing, you will be easily discouraged when times get tough.

When losing weight you spend a lot of time in uncharted territory. You have to make tough decisions on whether you should increase or decrease calories, how many meals you should eat, whether cheat meals are OK, how to recover from a slip up, protein and carbohydrate adjustments, and 100 more unique circumstances.

Diets won’t teach you how to navigate off the beaten path, and that’s where success is ultimately determined. If you want long-term sustainable weight loss, you must start educating yourself on the details of a healthy lifestyle.

Say goodbye to your dieting mentality. Stop searching for the next diet to try. Chances are it hasn’t worked out for you so far, and it’s highly unlikely anything will change that outcome in the future. Instead, work daily at creating new healthy habits that will build the foundation for long-term weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

  • Karla K

    My husband brought home a stray dog. He had obviously been a “people” dog. He stayed in the back yard…totally depressed. I was depressed. I decided we should be bummed out together. We started walking almost a year ago. We’re both happy. I’ve lost 20 pounds. My advice is to do something, anything, to get moving. I eat what I want, when I want. Let a dog drag you around for an hour a day…it works.

  • Jen Hannen

    I wholeheartedly agree after years of yoyo dieting I now realise that it has to be a lifestyle choice of eating healthily and exercising regularly. As a result I feel and look better than I’ve ever done and know I won’t go back to old bad habits :)

    • Tony Schober

      Great to hear that you’ve found the key to your success, Jen. Losing weight and being healthy is a mindset.

  • Tony Schober

    100 pounds! Nice job!

  • Elaine

    Lifestyle change – I’m extremely carb sensitive – so watch my sugars & starches – lost 40 pounds in 2010 and have kept it off. I also work out several times per week – cardio and strength training.

    • Tony Schober

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Elaine, and congrats on the weight loss!

  • Rece

    Thanks for the article…good points. I’ve lost over 40 lb. I started with exercising which helped with the first 10 lb. Once I changed my eating habits I made huge progress. I’m not strict but work to eat balanced meals…I still enjoy sweets but without the guilt.

  • Josh Anderson

    Nice article! Dieting = yoyoin! Like everyone has already commented it needs to be a lifestyle or a mindset change. But what does that entail? For starters, it can be convenient as when sitting down for a meal I like to eat so many veggies/good proteins/fruits that I wont even think about junk food! I dont think you should ever be hungry!

    • Tony Schober

      I agree about hunger. Unless you’re going for very low body fat levels hunger isn’t required.

  • helen green

    Ive lost 2 and 1/2 stone this year purely from changing my way of thinking i joined zumba and stopped binge eating when i was stressed the mixture of eating and exercise as a balance is all you need to loose weight i figured all i had to do was change my way if thinking 5 yers ago i was 20 stone im now 14 i think a stedy loss over 5 years has helped me to learn how to control my eating making changes along the way ive never followed a diet thy dnt work its all about mind set we all know what we should and shouldnt eat and at what times of the day its all about how you want to live your life.