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Why Diets Don't Work!

Why The Weight Won't Stay Off


weightloss scales inside green apple

If diets worked we would all be thin!

Diets are temporary and only work while you're on them if followed correctly. How much you weigh ultimately depends on how much you eat and how much energy you use. Most people regain the weight they lose while on a diet in the first year, with many putting on more weight than before they started. Why is this?

When you start a diet, you are usually restricting your calories and constantly thinking about what you are eating, which is quite stressful! Unless you continue on the diet indefinitely, when you stop, and return to your normal eating habits and lifestyle, you will put the weight back on. This is because the diet is a temporary change in your eating habits, it doesn't address your lifestyle, or help you to make life long changes.


Your Brain Controls Your Weight

According to Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt PhD, the author of 'Why Diets Make Us Fat' - The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession with Weight Loss we are not as in control of our weight as we like to think.

why diets make us fat book cover by Sandra aamodt

The root of weight problems is not willpower but neuroscience. Metabolic suppression is a powerful tool used by the brain to keep the body within a certain range called a 'set point'. The range has variables from person to person depending on their lifestyle and genes. If you fall below this set-point weight, you will burn fewer calories and produce more hunger-inducing hormones, finding food more rewarding. The 'Hypothalamus' is the part of the brain that controls our weight and works like a thermostat regulating our weight within the set point. When we eat we are responding to these signals sent from the brain to the body to regulate our weight, changing our levels of hunger, reward and metabolism.

Lifestyle changes can move you up and down within that range but you will find it hard to stay outside it, as the brain's weight regulation system considers your set-point to be your correct weight.

If you lose weight, by consuming fewer calories, your metabolism slows down meaning you would have to eat fewer calories forever to maintain that weight, as your brain thinks it is starving and regulates your hunger levels to get back to your set point.

There are Two Types of Eaters

Intuitive Eaters are less likely to be overweight, they spend less time thinking about food, eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.

Controlled Eaters are likely to be on continual diets and are more vulnerable to overeating in response to advertising and marketing and small indulgences are more likely to lead to binging.

From an evolutionary perspective this process makes sense, as when there was a food shortage, your brain sent signals to your body to regain the weight. In our world of food abundance, however, this does not serve us as well. If you stay at a high weight for too long, your brain may decide that it is the new normal, which is why some people find it so hard to lose and maintain weight loss.


woman in pink sports bra with tape measure around waist

The only way to maintain a healthy weight is by changing your lifestyle, your relationship with food, and how you eat and build healthier sustainable habits. Changing your diet to benefit your weight, health and wellbeing is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. This is achieved by investing time in learning, changing and growing, it can't be found in a quick-fix diet.

Eat when you are hungry. Don't overeat. Stop when you are full.

Don't obsess over food. Eat mindfully.

Chew more and slowly, so your brain can tell you when you are full.

Enjoy your food without distractions.

Don't use unhealthy food as a reward system.

Eating unhealthy food is a punishment for your body, not a reward!

Food is fuel, your body needs it to function, work optimally and prevent or fight disease.

Learn to tune in and listen to what your body needs.

food diary on plate next to cutlery, green matcha tea and white tulips

Obsessing over food and diets only leads to weight gain. Decide how important is it to you to get your life back and be free of dieting. Use a Food Diary to analyse your eating habits and to learn how to change them. Diets are stressful and usually require a lot of effort. Losing weight and being healthy should not be stressful, it is a process of learning and listening to your body, that becomes your everyday life.

You need to change your lifestyle and your relationship with food to lose weight and keep it off. You can use the KPH Food Diary to learn how to tune into and listen to your body, learn why and how you eat, and how you feel, discover any intolerances and root causes for unhealthy habits, and start to build healthier habits that last a lifetime.


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