Why fad diets don’t work (and what does)

For many women, losing weight is about so much more than squeezing into size eight jeans. It’s about feeling more confident at work, feeling fitter and more healthy – and feeling like ‘you’. But why is it so hard?

The problem with the diet industry today is just that – it’s an industry. And an industry needs to make money. If diets were SO successful, there would be no industry… we’d all easily slim down to our ideal size and stay there.

But they aren’t and we don’t.

Instead we enthusiastically buy into every slick and trendy fad diet of the moment, sold on promises we’ll effortlessly lose pounds in days, and look just like the now-rake thin celebs promoting it.

How one woman broke the yoyo diet cycle

One mum who’s very familiar with the worthless promises of fad diets is Wendy Bateman from Choose U. For years Wendy hopefully tried every fad diet going – until she eventually realised that the only thing that really needed to change was her attitude to weight loss.

Today, she helps other women (and men) achieve the same results she enjoys for themselves – using an approach she’s now sharing with us.

Why fad diets don’t work (and what does)

If, like me, you’ve have tried every diet under the sun and you still can’t seem to keep the weight off, then I’d gently suggest that maybe it’s time to change the way to think about diets. 

We invest so much hope in diets as a miracle external solution to our ‘problem’. All we need to do is follow their instructions, buy their recipe books and products, and we’ll finally get the body we want.

But, in the long run, fad diets don’t work because they are restrictive, painful, generic and you can’t wait for them to end.

Instead, the key to sustainable weight loss is to devise an individual plan that is tailored to you – one that fits into your lifestyle, is healthy, and includes everything in moderation.

Struggling to regain your pre-baby figure?

If you’re struggling to regain your pre-baby figure, you’re far from alone. Many women battle with their weight or struggle with a negative body image, especially as they move towards their 40’s and 50’s. Add years of child-bearing and rearing to the mix and it’s no surprise that so many of us struggle to get back to our pre-pregnancy shape.

I remember the year I turned 35 (after having two children) very clearly. My body and metabolism changed and I had to adjust my routine in order to get and keep my weight under control.

But don’t lose hope. It IS possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and feel confident about your body – you just need to ditch the fad diets and change your attitude instead!

I spent many of my early years on a diet

Ever since I was a child I have always been at least a stone heavier than most of my friends. I specifically remember having to weigh myself in a maths lesson at junior school.

Everyone found it most amusing that I weighed more than all the girls (and I think most of the boys too). I began to develop a bit of a complex about my weight, and dieted on and off into my early 20’s.

I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I would say that my life was ruled by food until I became a personal trainer in my 20’s.

I’ve tried every fad diet going

You name a fad diet and I am likely to have tried it – the cabbage diet, the Atkins diet… I’ve been on pretty much all of them at some time or another. And without exception, after every stone of weight loss came a rapid weight gain again.

Needless to say I wavered between nine and eleven stone for about eight years before I became a personal trainer. I thought I would never find peace with my weight, and hated my body at what should have been the prime of my life.

During that time I was self conscious and never really enjoyed eating – I was either being terribly bad (and knew it) or starving myself.

Fad diets don’t work – they just make people rich!

My firm belief is that fad diets just don’t work. This is why it is a multi-million pound industry – as soon as we give up on one failed fad diet (or regain weight after finishing it) we launch hopefully into another, often swayed by interviews with slim celebrities claiming miracle results.

But being on a fad diet simply makes you obsessed with food, obsessed with weighing yourself and obsessed with a negative image of yourself.

The only way to achieve sustainable weight loss is to change the way you think about food, and the whole process of eating and exercise. Change this and you will never need to go on a diet again.

The way you think affects the way you eat

If you really want to lose weight for good, you need to accept responsibility for your weight and commit to changing your habits.

If instead you allow yourself to blame something or someone for your inability to lose weight – even if your reasons are valid – you are more likely to remain in the cycle of the yoyo diet.

Over the years, I’ve found that most people expect to put their weight back on after finishing a diet, because they don’t believe they have the power and control not to. And if they believe it, they do!

Instead, you need to take personal responsibility. No matter what your external circumstances, if you want to lose weight and keep it off YOU need to take full responsibility. To believe it’s within your control and to do it.

This is why changing the way you think about the whole process is so important.

What do you think about it?

In order to understand your mindset and habits around weight loss, ask yourself these questions:

  • When did you first start thinking you needed to lose weight?
  • Do you remember when you started to overeat or eat the wrong things?
  • Do you think it is possible for you to lose weight?
  • Do you overeat and binge and if so what are the reasons (boredom, stress, contentment, busy….)?
  • Do you think alcohol contributes to your struggle with weight?
  • Have you had children and if so do you think this is a reason for your weight struggle?
  • Do you blame something for your struggle with your weight (children, age, metabolism, genetics, food addiction, job…)

Why confidence is so important

If you’ve lost confidence because you have a negative body image, and feel like you have no control over your weight, you may have found it harder to lose and keep off the weight.

If you have little confidence, you’ll find it more difficult to stay on a diet because you don’t believe in yourself. This creates a vicious circle: you lack confidence so fail at losing weight – and your failure at losing weight compounds your low self-esteem.

To break this circle, you need to create achievable goals and take small, consistent steps. Each step that you successfully take will help to increase your confidence. Confidence leads to motivation, and motivation leads to success.

Common sense tips on losing weight

When it comes to losing weight, I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone is unique and it’s a complex process finding exactly what works for you.

Here are some common sense tips on creating positive new habits to help you achieve (and maintain) the weight loss you want:

  • Decide on your goal, weight or item of clothing you want to fit into.
  • Agree that no food is banned, everything is allowed in moderation.
  • Exercise can be anything from the gym to gardening, as long as it is active.
  • As long as you expend more energy than you put in then you will lose weight.
  • Go for slow and gradual weight loss as it is much more sustainable – slowly changing habits of a lifetime takes time.
  • Look at eating more foods from the Mediterranean diet as it is regarded as the most healthy by many experts in the field.
  • Work out what your problem times of the day are – when do you usually eat the wrong things?
  • Plan a diversion (activity, work, exercise, fruit salad, coffee….) whatever helps stop the bad habit.
  • Think about what usually breaks your diet and plan everything to defeat this.
  • Involve others and get their support.
  • Focus on the end result and always have a vision and a feeling of what it will be like to get to your goal.

Take your time and lose weight for good

Healthy weight loss isn’t about losing as much as you can as quickly as you can (and then probably piling it all back on again!). It’s about changing your habits for good, and switching up to a healthier lifestyle and diet that you enjoy.

Losing weight this way may take you longer than a fad diet, but it’s worth waiting for. Because if you really have changed your attitude and habits, you’ll enjoy the confidence that comes with your slimmer figure for much longer – hopefully for good.

And who knows? Maybe you can rediscover your pre-baby figure again!

For more information on ‘Think Yourself Slim’ sessions, visit the Choose U website, or contact Wendy on 07702726001.