Crossfit Blog

Why Diets Fail

in The Whiteboard by Lindsay

The topic of failed diets has come up a lot recently, and I thought it would be worth discussing on here (since we’ve pretty much all experienced this to an extent.) The common theme among those seeking some nutritional guidance from DAC PT is general discouragement and frustration with the process of “getting healthy” and wanting to get it right once and for all. This usually goes hand-in-hand with weight loss goals, or lean muscle gain goals. We like to begin the conversation with clients by talking about what has worked for them in the past, and why they’re no longer following these methods. This tends to bring to light some of the issues with common dieting methods, and just further reaffirms why we will never advise a client to follow a one-size-fits-all dieting method, or one that guarantees quick results.

Some reasons why quick weight loss diets fail:

The diet has you cut out an entire macronutrient category (i.e. low/no carbohydrates)
This is probably the most common type of diet, since it’s initially quite effective. However, this type of diet will just as quickly become completely unsustainable for most people. At the sign of the first “cheat”, the entire diet gets derailed.

The diet has you eating all wrong for your body type
Why do I keep harping on this “one-size-fits-all” method that leaves us doomed to fail? Because, look around, we are all so different. We have so many different factors that play into how our bodies look and function. It makes no sense at all to have people follow one set of diet rules that doesn’t change from person to person.

The diet has you chasing calories with exercise
Yes, diet and exercise together will yield the best results for weight loss, but if you’re hopping on the treadmill every time you “slip up” and eat a sleeve of cookies, then that’s a form of disordered eating. Diet and exercise need to work together harmoniously, and will be the most effective when you stick to both on a consistent basis (i.e. not overdoing one to make up for lack of the other)

The diet focuses on quick weight reduction, not sustainable/long-term body fat reduction.
The truth is, that first 10 or so pounds that you had lost within the first 2 weeks of your restrictive diet was not your body fat just disappearing off of you. That weight reduction is the result of less digestive fluids, a loss of water throughout your body, loss of stools from your bowels and a reduction in the amount of food weight that you’ve consumed. You will inevitably rebound to your previous weight once you resume your regular diet.

There are many other reasons why our diets fail. One that I find to be most troublesome is when the issue is that your goal is completely outside of the realm of what is sustainable for you (thanks to those unrealistic ideals around body image.) It’s fair to say that many of us will never have the "body of our dreams" without utilizing some risky, unhealthy dieting methods to get there. This speaks more to our societal pressures than anything else, and that will have to be a blog for another day.

The takeaway of today’s blog should be that body composition changes take a lot of time and a lot of effort, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Don’t waste your time with any fad diets that claim quick results. You need to be willing to make a commitment to creating new habits, and to finding a nutrition program that will be sustainable. As crossfitters, we understand the benefit of long, tough, chipper-style workouts. They test our limits, but we come out on the other side as strong, capable and proud athletes. The same is true for a healthy, sustainable nutrition program that will (over time) produce the results we’re after. The goal, after all, should be to not only look our best, but to feel and perform our best.


& as always, if you need to work through some of those nutrition woes, I'm happy to help! >>

Twitter Stream