Does this sound familiar? You hear about this wonderful diet that will guarantee weight-loss, so you try it, only to gain even more weight back once you’ve lost it?

Don’t feel bad. You are not alone. Just because a diet works for one person, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. “Diets” are destined to fail, and it should come as no surprise. After all, the word “die” is within the word “diet”. That should be your first sign. You want to live your life.

Here are the top 5 reasons that diets are doomed to fail:

  1. People choose to use a diet to achieve a short-term goal. That goal is usually to lose weight before an upcoming event. Diets are perceived from the onset as a temporary action used to obtain an immediate result. Once that result is achieved, the diet is stopped and old eating habits return.
  1. The yo-yo diet or weight cycling. As mentioned, many people go on diets, lose weight, and then gain weight, often more than they lost. And, for some reason, the cycle is repeated. To quote Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This repeated failure can have negative effects on a person’s mental health and could result in a dysfunctional relationship with food.
  1. Many diets are based on the premise of counting calories using a formula meant for the general population as opposed to the individual. But, everybody processes calories differently. This formula supports that caloric expenditure exceeds caloric intake and will therefore promote weight loss. It has become clear that this premise is just not exactly right. Every calorie is not created equal. Calories consumed from spinach or sweet potatoes are much more nutrient-dense than calories consumed from a processed, low-fat muffin and will impact your metabolism differently. In addition, if you were to consume too few calories, your body goes into survival mode, slowing down the metabolism. I am not saying the amount of calories you consume doesn’t matter, it does, I am saying that the quality of the calories is the more important issue for most people.
  1. Before even starting a diet, people believe that they will be depriving themselves of foods they love. Entering into a program with this mindset clearly does not support success. This constant experience of deprivation will bring on food cravings that will be difficult to ignore and relying on willpower to consume a diet that represents deprivation to you is a recipe for failure.
  1. This brings me to the last reason why diets do not work. They do not address food cravings and how to handle them. Everyone has cravings. Having the tools to help navigate through those cravings and reach for healthy food alternatives will help to eliminate them.

Unfortunately for many individuals, “diets” only offer a quick fix to a larger problem.  Learning which foods nourish the body and which don’t is the best approach to eating in order to obtain weight-loss and optimal health.

I used to “diet” all the time.  I tried everything.  Only to gain and lose and gain again.  Eating clean whole foods (i.e. foods that are not processed and refined but are “real” food) was the key to my 60-pound weight loss and to my keeping it off over 4 years.  I believe passionately that a mindset shift from “I need to go on a diet” to “I need to eat healthy nutritious foods that will nourish me properly” is the key to both short and long term success.

To help you kick the “diet” mentality and get started on your path to better nutrition and improved overall health, I have put together a guide to Eat Your Way Healthy which gives you 5 full days of clean eating recipes.  Clean eating, which simply means eating real food that is not refined or processed, was key to my weight loss and is a core part of my ability to maintain the 60-pound loss for over 4 years now (wow!).  In this guide I share approaches, tips and the recipes for 5 days of clean eating.  If you indulged a bit over the holidays (I know I did!) and could use a little “reset,” you can use this guide to help you lose that bloated feeling and some unwanted pounds. Enjoy!  You can click here to download the Guide.