EATING SMART SERIES: Why dieting never works

If there is one thing you need to remember when approaching nutrition or dieting in general, keep the following statement in mind.
Dieting is a marathon and not a sprint.
Everyone wants to lose weight/fat. Some folks have a lot to lose while some would like to lose 5-10 lbs. But almost everyone wants to lose some weight. Many of our clients have weight loss as their primary goal. This is completely understanable. And the best and straightforward solution to fat/weight loss is dieting. 
However, the amount of information available on dieting for weight loss is mind boggling. There are hundreds of diets available and thousands of opinion on quick fat/weight loss. TVs filled with infomercials and stores packed with weight loss pills/shakes. All contributing to make weight loss process as complicated as possible. 
As demystifying nutrition information is our goal with Eating Smart Series, we kick it off by understanding why dieting doesn’t work in most cases and what are we dealing with when we say “we are on a diet”.
Q: What is dieting?
A: Dieting is referred to as a process of eating food in restricted fashion to lose, maintain or gain weight. 
Q: Why dieting doesn’t work?
A: There are several reasons why dieting doesn’t work for in most cases. Here are few:
  1. We don’t restrict amount of calories enough to be actually on calories deficit.
  2. We don’t do dieting for long enough period for dieting to have any affect.
  3. We don’t understand how our body behaves in restriction of food and specific nutrition. Thus we don’t see the results fast for long time as we don’t know what to correct for.
  4. Going on a diet that is not our primary cuisine is not feasible in long run. For example, going on a diet of chicken and broccoli for entire life is not ideal, nor appealing.
  5. Having too many cheat meals/days.
  6. Etc.

Most importantly, we need to understand what we are dieting for and what affect does dieting have on our body. Weight loss is a side affect of dieting.

Q: Is dieting safe?
A: Usually most diets are safe. You should still check with doctor before going on a specific diet. Diets that are extreme on any specific things are not ideal or safe. For example, high fat diets like ketogenic diet are unsafe if not followed properly. High fat with high cholesterol is trouble for your metabolism. 
Q: Is any dieting method better that another dieting method?
A: No. All dieting methods are pretty much the same. They all focus on limiting calories. The way dieting methods differs is by limiting food in a specific category. All diets either limit food based on macronutrients such as ketogenic diet (high fat, low protein no carb) or Low carb diet (low carb, moderate protein, moderate fat) or high protein (low carb, low fat and high protein). Or they limit food based on vegetarian vs non-vegetarian, sweet vs non-sweet, fruit vs plant, solid vs liquid, many meals vs fasting meals, so-on and so-forth. However, they all are restricting food in a specific category.
Q: If all diets are restricting calories, then why do we have so many different diets?
A: This is because we have different type of people with different preferences. No diet is better than other. All diets have same goal i.e. restrict the calories intake. How you LIKE to restrict calories, is upto you. A diet may work better for you because it restricts the food that you don’t like or it works really well with your work day based on how and when you eat your meals.
Q: Which diet works the fastest or is the best?
A: None. As mentioned above, all diets works on same principle of restricting calories. None of them is fastest by themselves. It really depends upon the amount of calories you restrict.
Q: I still want to try dieting. Which dieting method, I should try?
A: If you really want to try a different diet, try one which matches with your eating habits or schedule. For example,
  • If you like to eat meat, try high protein diet.
  • If you like to eat food in one big sitting, try intermittent-fasting.
Q: Whats the biggest problem with all the diets?
A: There are several problems with dieting. But here are the biggest ones:
  • Restricting to any one type of macronutrient or food category is not ideal and sustainable. Imaging never eating carbs or sweats again. 
  • Not integrating it with your current lifestyle. If you start a diet that is completely different from your current eating habits, then it will be hard to sustain that for long time. And short term diets never yield any significant result.