January is almost behind us and we are nearly into the second month of 2013. Many people gained weight during the holidays which is common for the American population and just as common, come January first, everyone swears to lose all of that weight and then some. It is nearly the end of January.... so how's that diet working out for you?
Here is the truth, diets do not work. Especially ones that you pay for, and even more so for the ones that have you buy their products. I applaud anyone making any efforts towards self-improvement by any means available. I am just leery of the driving principles behind some methods, products and programs.
For the sake of my example, let's look at a great and successful program like AA. Now, I am going to morph AA into something a little more inline with what we see in most weight loss programs in this country today. Imagine if AA were not modeled they way they were? What if they were Alcoholic Watchers and not Alcoholics Anonymous? Sure people would still go to meetings and talk about how much they didn't' drink that week, (or how much they did) then everyone would buy the AW approved "hooch" to take home for the week... Everybody would still be drinking.... and guaranteed still being effected by it.
AA works because it's focus is not on the person being or getting drunk... no. AA works because the focus is on preventing that person from taking that first drink and helping that person to avoid alcohol and the addictive cycle altogether. So why don't commercial diet programs work the same way? Diet programs focus on weight loss and being skinny but they never focus on avoidance of the substances driving that addiction which causes weight issues. Diet programs do not focus on prevention.
The focus is erroneously placed on the end result...body fat and obesity. And the measure of success is getting rid of just that. Do people lose weight? Most often. Do they gain it back? Most often. Why?
Because just like an alcoholic who only wants to drink like a normal person, a person dieting only wishes to eat like a normal person... or to be more accurate, eat like they believe a normal person eats and still maintains or loses weight without much effort. Diet programs, especially the ones that hock their own products for replacement snacks, etc. constantly try to tell you that you can in fact have "their" cake, and eat it too.
And trust me, they want you to buy and eat their cakes and cookies, chips and drink mixes.... You see, diet companies do not make money if you lose weight. Not really. Diet companies make money selling you their program and keeping you in their program. Diet companies make money and stay afloat by supplying just enough of the addictive substances for the addict to keep them hooked while allowing them to lose weight and believe they are making progress. It's a scam.
All of that aside, the reason that diets fail is that they require compromise... if you don't eat too much of x... you can still have some of y - sometimes. But you see... the model is flawed. The problem is not the extra weight to be lost, no, that is only the symptom... the problem is not that you eat too much of x foods... assuming x, is made up of basic fruit, veggies, meat, etc. The problem is with y... y is all of the sugar, HFCS, fried, fatty, carbohydrate loaded processed food that we WANT to eat. And the biggest reason that we want to eat it? It was MADE THAT WAY!
A lot of people in weight programs talk about how nobody ever craves a carrot, or broccoli, but damned if they will do anything for candy bar or french fries! Are the candy bars and fries better for you? More healthy? No. They are engineered to taste better; they are engineered to be craved; they are engineered to turn you into an addict; finally, they are engineered to take your money and give it to someone else. Weight gain? That's really just a side effect of it all. What you buy to eat and what you choose to eat - that is where the real issue resides.
Compromise is the biggest reason that diets tend to fail. Diet companies want you to compromise and that never works in any relationship or agreement. Compromise means that one side or the other had to take a loss in order for progress and as humans we do not do well with that. The best option is to think collaboration. We need to form a collaborative relationship with food. I guarantee if one were to step away from processed foods and focus on eating more wholesome and fresh alternatives, the desire for the former would be replaced by the latter. And your body will be happier for it.
If a diet program is selling you the notion that you can lose weight by following their program and buying their books and their replacement meals and other food products... trust me, the only thing they are wanting to make lighter is your pocketbook or wallet. In the end you may very well lose weight but is it the cause or the symptom that is being treated?