They lied to you. They only told you part of the story. They’re that abusive boyfriend you keep going back to. We’re talking about the diet industry, and we want you to break up with it. In this article, we’ll cover why diets don’t work, and what you can do instead!
The diet industry is in the market of making money, not making health. Last year, this industry pulled in a whopping 66 billion dollars (1). Much of this profit is made off of “repeat offenders”, meaning those people stuck in the vicious cycle of dieting. Why would diet programs want you to lose weight and succeed for life? They wouldn’t make any money that way! Much of the “quick fix” diets out there also include some type of supplement – that you can only buy from them, of course!
First, let’s understand why diets DON’T work.
Why Diets Don’t Work
Restrictive diets go against our body’s natural mechanisms.
Our bodies are smart. When we try to cut calories and severely restrict ourselves like with most diets, it retaliates. We can thank our ancestors for that. When food was scarce, our ancestors would often go days eating very little. As a protective mechanism, their bodies slowed their metabolism. Meaning, their body would burn LESS calories each day to preserve and maintain muscle and body fat (2). In modern day times, our body interprets restrictive dieting in the same way – as a threat. A study looking at the participants of a popular weight loss television show reported that these participants’ metabolism dropped by almost 30 percent as a result of their strict regimen (3).
As a response to the threat, our bodies will lower metabolism, and rev up your appetite hormones, like leptin (2). You end up feeling frustrated, super hungry, and defeated because you’re fighting against a reduced metabolism and weight gain.
Diets don’t consider the long-haul.
The diet industry targets the “quick-fix”, which is another reason why diets don’t work. As a society, we love things to come to us quickly – especially results. While many people may lose weight on certain diets, a lot of them end up gaining most of the weight back, because the focus is not on sustainability. This is why diets don’t work. Once we stop the diet, we return to our normal eating habits with the undesirable addition of a depleted metabolism!
Diets over-generalize things.
Diet programs say that if it worked for this guy or that girl, then it MUST work for you, too. These programs offer one meal program, one pill, or one regimen. We all have different lives with different bodies that respond to different things, yet the diet industry completely ignores this fact! What works for one person’s body and lifestyle may not work as well for another person.
How can we free ourselves from the diet mentality?
You deserve to get off of the hamster wheel. You also deserve to eat the foods you love and the foods that make you feel great! So, how can we break free from the vicious cycle that is the diet industry? Here are three of our best tips:
1. Get angry
That’s right, get angry that you’ve been lied to for years. We cannot truly break free until we recognize 1) why diets don’t work, and 2) the corruptness of the diet industry. Throughout the years, you’ve probably spent loads of money, time, and emotional energy on the “next best diet”. How has constantly looking for a diet that works interfered with your life? How did you feel before, during, and after the diet? Most diets start with self-loathing, and end in heartbreak or frustration. Not to mention, you usually feel crappy during the diet itself!
2. Trust your body
One major flaw of most diets is that they have everyone doing the same thing. Same meal plan, same diet pills, same meal replacements. Why? Our bodies are not the same. We are all different, which is what makes this world so awesome in the first place! If we start listening to and trusting our bodies, we can finally step away (for good) from chronic dieting.
3. Be kind to yourself
We wouldn’t say half of the stuff to strangers that we tell ourselves. A lot of this stems from the diet industry telling us we are not good enough. That we take up too much space in the world. Well, guess what? You’re worth way more.
Self-kindness means transitioning our inner voice from critical and disapproving to supportive and warm. A lot of research shows that practicing self-kindness is associated with greater levels of happiness, optimism, life satisfaction, and body appreciation (4). Consider keeping a self-kindness journal, where you write positive things about yourself, difficult events through the day, and how you may respond to a friend about these events. For more self-kindness exercises, check out this great resource.
The Importance of “Inside Health”
We know you may want to lose weight and “look good”. But most importantly, we know you just want to feel good. To do this, we have to address inside health first. Enter: real food movement.
Health isn’t just about weight. That’s what the diet industry doesn’t understand. We cannot truly heal until we address inside health, too! This goes far beyond calories in vs. calories out. Inside health addresses the beautiful synergetic nature of our body. For example, by healing our gut with low-inflammatory, nutrient rich foods, we can address imbalances in other parts of our body, too. Inside health benefits the health of our brain (brain fog, anyone?), our immune system, and even our skin. Our bodies are extremely smart, and achieving inside health honors that fact.
Why Phasing Your Diet is Key
The diet we’re talking about here is referring to the foods you eat in general, not a diet program. Life is too short to go on restrictive diets with restrictive foods. That’s why the 131 Method uses phasing to help you find the eating pattern that works best for YOUR body. Phasing your “diet” helps you address both inside and outside health for life. Here’s how:
1. Phasing helps you trust your body.
As you go through each phase in the 131 Method, you become more in touch with how you feel after certain foods or eating patterns. While we offer lots of guidance throughout each phase, we don’t tell you which foods to eat or not eat. That’s up to you and your body!
2. Each phase is individualized.
Screw the diets that give everyone the same old restrictive meal plans! The 131 Method is a flexible program designed to phase through different eating patterns to achieve optimal, individualized health. Want to follow a paleo diet plan? Want to achieve keto weight loss? Every person’s experience is different, and we encourage you to do what feels right!
3. You don’t eat less foods, you eat the right foods.
Phasing supports your body by giving it the nutrients it needs for peak function. You need to work with your body, not against it! Say goodbye to counting calories and restricting food. Phasing helps you find the right foods your body – foods that lower inflammation on the inside, so you can feel and look great on the outside.
It’s up to us to change the legacy.
We don’t want our kids to fail at diets over and over. We don’t want the diet industry telling our kids that they aren’t good enough. So, it’s up to us to change the future of health. (No pressure, right? 😆). Let’s set an example by tossing out the quick fix, fad diets, and finally achieve individualized, whole body health that feels great. We’ll be here to guide and support you the whole way!