Causes: Why do diets fail?

Obesity is still on the rise, particularly in our children.  Unfortunately, most diets don’t work.  In fact, of the obese people who successfully lose weight, over 95% of them put the weight back on.  Why?  Don’t Just Diet will cut through the ridiculous mess of [mis]information out there and discuss why diets fail and what can be done to lose weight and keep it off.

Why do diets fail? Two main reasons:

1. Biologically speaking, we are designed to get fat in today’s food environment.

the_evolution_of_manEvolutionarily, humans had the best chance for survival if they ate and stored as many calories as possible when calorically dense foods were available in order to survive periods of famine.  This is a large part of the reason that, for most of us, pizza is more hedonically pleasing (delicious) than brussels sprouts- it is a survival advantage to prefer pizza.

Problem is, in most industrialized nations, calorically dense food is always available and famine is rare.


2. Biology changes when a person is severely obese for a long period of time.

The body and brain both act as if the person needs to be at that weight to survive.  For example, the number and size of fat cells both increase with obesity.  With weight loss diet, fat cell size decreases but fat cell numbers never decrease.

Conventional dieting almost immediately sets of survival (anti-starvation) mechanisms that undermine weight loss efforts and can actually make us want to eat “forbidden” foods even more.  When we deprive ourselves of something pleasurable, the perceived reward value of that thing actually increases.  In other words, that unhealthy food sounds even more delicious when it’s “off limits.”

Human biology is a powerful thing and difficult to overcome. Conventional dieting pits efforts to resist temptation directly against human biology- a losing proposition 9 out of 10 times.  Don’t Just Diet will get to what can and should be done to change this.  Stay tuned, I look forward to speaking with you again.

Questions or Comments?