Diets Don’t Work, Lifestyle Changes Do
You have heard this time and time again, you may have even repeated it to yourself or your friend: “I am on a diet and I am not losing any weight”; “I have tried the Atkins diet for a month and it was great, but I gained it all back”; “I am so tired of being on a diet”; and the all time favorite “I just can’t lose any weight on a diet”. If a diet is the mindset of an individual trying to lose weight, they are setting themselves up for failure. Diets just don’t work, but change your lifestyle and the pounds will come off once and for all. Merriam-Webster defines the word diet as “a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight ”, and the word lifestyle as “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture (Merriam-Webster). An individual cannot sustain themselves on something that has them eating and drinking sparingly, but an individual can embrace a healthy lifestyle which can easily become a way of life. According to Betty Kovacs, MS, RD, “Americans spend an estimated $42 billion annual on weight loss foods, products, and services” (Kovacs). Scarier than these numbers, I found that “According to a 2006 study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, most people who participate in weight-loss programs regain about one-third of the weight lost during the next year and are typically back to baseline in three to five years” (Reisner, The Diet Industry: A Big Fat Lie). Given the amount of dollars spent and the failure rate of the sustained weight loss, it is not surprising that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that “In 2009, 9 states had obesity rates of 30% or more compared with no states in 2000” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). So what’s the problem? So much money is being spent, but so little weight is being lost. Could it be that we are dieting? We are a nation of instant gratification; we want quick results with minimal efforts. The diet industry is full of these promises, diets, magic pills or drinks that will melt away fat and we are willing to shell out the money for these empty promises. So why aren’t dieters seeing results? In an effort to find out more, I have researched 3 of the more common fad or crash diets to ask the questions of why don’t diets work, and why dieters do not see the results they hope for. I have outlined each diet’s menu for a typical day, the promise the diet makes, and the duration someone should be on the diet are. I also include an explanation as to why the diet fails and why the dieter does not see the results over the long term: 3 Day Diet (Matus and Howard). This diet may also be referred to (mistakenly) as the Cleveland Clinic Diet and is said to have a unique metabolic reaction. The promise of this diet is to quickly lose pounds, which is achieved by the low calories that are taken in. The menu for a typical day includes Grapefruit, 1 slice of toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter for breakfast; tuna on toast for lunch, and; 3 oz. of lean meat with 1 cup each of beans and carrots, 1 apple and one-half cup of ice cream for dinner. The promise of this diet, as noted above, is the rapid weight loss. However, with the minimal amount of food that is offered on this diet, the lost pounds will most likely be in the way of fluid or lean muscle, not fat loss. Although the foods that are permitted on this diet are healthy, the individual has not learned how to incorporate these foods into their everyday life. The 3 Day Diet does not promote exercise, and recommends that it be followed for only 3 days, followed by a minimum of 4 – 5 days undefined ‘normal’ eating. In the long term, the dieter will see 5lbs that they have lost reappear when they return to their ‘normal’ eating patterns. Again, this is a diet – a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly – and cannot be a lifestyle – a typical way of life. Metabolism Diet (The Diet Channel)....
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