Do Weight Loss Diets Work?
Ready to get your food intake under control to lose weight, feel healthier, or just reduce the amount of junk you eat? Hoping that there is some way you can cut out the ‘hard stuff’ and just get the results?
Before you embark on the latest eating plan, consider this - do diets actually work?
Let’s first define what we mean by diet, as of course everyone is on a diet as it can simply refers to eating. Specifically in this article, we are talking about a ‘diet’ that refers to a restricted way of eating for a period of time in order to get a change in body composition or health. Often these diets focus on reducing calories, leading to a focus on decreasing the volume of intake, rather than increasing the nutritional value. Research tells us that it’s not simply how much we eat, but what we eat, that makes a difference to our health and body size.
People who set out to diet are coming from a desire for change, and in some cases this change is aesthetic, such as dropping a clothing size. For others, there may be a real health condition that is having an impact on their health and life that can be positively impacted on by a change in eating. However, while this desire leads to an initial motivation, this often wains due to boredom, lack of results, or difficulty in maintaining a restrictive food intake.
While the internet brings us unlimited access to information on a range of diets, the quality of the information is varied. What can work in the short term for some people may look great, it may not lead to long term health, or suit all people, as it does not take into account other lifestyle factors.
One of the down falls in a diet approach to wellness is that it is a short-term effort in order to get a long-term change. So while a diet may get results in the short term, these results will be lost when a return to normal eating occurs.
The reality is our health is not something that can be fixed by a diet, but rather something that has to be managed over our lifetime. Any approach needs to be sustainable in the long term.
It has been said you can’t out exercise a bad diet, however you also can’t sit still and have health come and plant itself on your lap. A diet will focus on the food part of the health equation leaving out the health benefits of physical activity.
It is unlikely that a diet with a strict set of rules that focuses only on outcomes without looking at other factors such as motivation, lifestyle and the benefits of physical activity, will work.
What will work is focusing on looking after your body through a range of positive and health enhancing factors including good food and physical activity, in a way that is enjoyable enough to be maintained in the long-term.