Diets Don’t Work Long-Term

I’ve seen it all and done a few of them myself, but the studies are done, the proof is there- diets do not work long term.

In the matter of 3 days, I received the same article published by a research lab at UCLA by 3 very different but very respectable medical or health newsletters.

I figured that if I had gotten the same article 3 times, then there must be something big bout it.

The same message was there- diets don’t work in the long term!

According to the article,

“Most people who go on diets soon gain back any lost weight, a UCLA study suggests.

Traci Mann, PhD, associate professor of psychology at UCLA, was teaching a seminar on the psychology of eating when she noticed something off about diet studies.  Few of the studies followed up on dieters for more than six months.  Even fewer followed dieters for a year or more.

Mann wondered what, in the long term, really happens when people go on diets.  So she and her students tracked down 31 studies that, one way or another, had at least one year of follow-up data.  They were interested in just one number: the percentage of dieters who, over time, gain back more weight than they lose.

‘We found that the average percentage of people who gained back more weight than they lost on diets was 41%,’ Mann tells WebMD.  ‘In each of the studies, a third to two-thirds of the subjects gained back more weight than they lost.’

Does this mean that most of the people in the studies actually lost weight and kept it off?  No, Mann says.

‘This is actually bleaker than it seems- even though most people would find that 41% number to be pretty depressing,’ she says.  ‘We have strong reasons to feel that this number under-represents the true number of participants who gained back more weight than they lost.’ ”

So what does this mean for us?  Are we doomed to live in a world where obesity is just going to continue to rise and our life-spans will just continue to plummet?

Not necessarily.  While the study focuses on the bleak data of going on a diet, coming off of it and then re-gaining the weight, there is some hope.

If you are willing to change your eating habits and I mean REALLY change your eating habits along with making adjustments to your lifestyle, there is the chance that weight loss or, at the very least, maintenance of body weight can happen successfully.

The article goes on to say that most people attempt weight loss in isolation, that is, they try to lose weight in a way where they have everything and everyone against them.  The society that we live in is not conducive to weight loss.  By trying to lose weight, you are fighting an uphill battle.  Chances are you will turn on the television, listen to the radio, read a magazine or newspaper.  Chances are you will see, hear or read something that triggers your need or want to eat or do something that is now out of line with your diet or your desired healthier lifestyle.

What to do?  Get help, get support, whatever you need to do, don’t feel like you need to do this alone.  Make changes slowly and deliberately.  Enjoy the process and don’t eat yourself up if you don’t succeed automatically.

Remember your ultimate goal- to live a happier, healthier and more vibrant life for as long as you possibly can.  That is something to celebrate!
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