It’s the first “Food Do” in my Diabetes Do’s & How-To’s book – “Say bye bye to diets!” They don’t work. You end up after a few weeks or months of restraint eating everything you used to plus more! Plus, dieting slows down your metabolism so you will forever more need less calories to maintain the same weight. You know the result – you gain weight after a diet. It’s sort of like, “What’s the best way to gain weight? Go on a diet.
Charlotte Markey, PhD agrees. Markey is a health psychology professor at Rutgers University and author of Smart People Don’t Diet. I haven’t read her book but I did read her article “Don’t Diet!” in Scientific American’s Sept/Oct issue. You can find it if you have access. If not, this article of hers, “6 Reasons Smart People Don’t Diet” more or less sums it up.
Diets make you feel deprived. You can’t stay on them for long. The more you restrict food the more you think about it. The more you think about it the more you crave it and physiologically will give in to your cravings. Counting calories is hard, humiliating and leads to burnout. Dieting fatigue leads to difficulty learning, working and exerting self-control. Blah, blah, blah, c’mon you know this. You’re smart. Yet we are all tempted by the quick fix. There is none, period.
Just like I say in my book – and give you steps how to lose weight without dieting – here are a few tips from Ms. Markey: Find a few healthy meals you like and make them frequently. Take small steps and know it will take time to reshape your body. Aim for health and nutrition not weight loss and the pounds will naturally come off. Don’t lose heart.
My own mother, 85 years old, told me last week she’s going on the 5 days you eat and 2 days you don’t diet. I said, “Mom, you know what’s going to happen. You’ll lose a few pounds, go off the diet and put them back on. What’s the point?” She said, “I know, but I want to do something about this extra ten pounds.”
She knows what it takes to lose weight for good, but like the 75% of Americans perpetually on a diet, she wants a quick fix. Geez, will mother’s never learn?