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Why so many popular diets drive me crazy

by Gavin Guard, PA-C, MPAS, CISSN, Pn1

Medical Director, Roots Integrated Care

Were you ever surprised by stepping on the scale or disappointed when you looked into the mirror?

Perhaps you go back to 10-20 years ago when you didn’t have to take kids to school, work long hours, and keep up with the never-ending list of demands and schedules. You miss those good ‘ol days when you had more energy, woke up with a “pep in your step”, and weren’t reliant on coffee to help you stay awake throughout the day.

So what do you do? You take your health into your own hands and go to the internet to find out an answer for yourself. And what do you find?…

You stumble across a new diet that has helped thousands of other people. It claims to be the magical “fat loss cure” that so many have been waiting for. And when Monday morning comes around, you are excited to get started. The first week goes great! You are absolutely crushing it. And then….

Well, if you are like the millions of other Americans, the diet only lasts a couple of months. Your motivation dwindles and you can’t resist your favorite dessert anymore. By the end of the few months, you gained all the weight back (plus some) and feel defeated.

So why don’t diets work and why do they drive me crazy?

Almost all popular diets are led by charismatic “health gurus” that convince you that this diet is the only way to feel better, lose weight, and be healthier. Oftentimes, these gurus are followed by many people who have had success with this diet and claim great results.

With all these groups claiming similar things, it almost feels like nutrition is turning into religion.

And with each “diet religion” comes a set of rigid rules and restrictions that you must abide by if you want to be a good Paleo/Keto/low carb/*insert popular diet* follower.

These rules and restrictions ensure that you keep on track with the diet and don’t go off track. But, oftentimes these rigid rules don’t align with real life. It becomes impossible to follow this list of “eat this” and “don’t eat this” when you are juggling family, kids, and work demands. The idealistic nature of diets don’t fit in with the more important priorities of day-to-day life.

Pretty much any diet can help you lose weight and look better, but they often fail at getting you long-term results. Why? Because all diets teach you non-transferrable skills.

Diets tell you what to eat and what NOT to eat. This can be easy to do when life is easy. But life is rarely easy. And when you finally “fall off the wagon” with your diet, you are often told to just “try harder” or add in more restrictions. But this often won’t lead to the results you desire.

Diets do NOT teach you important nutrition and movement principles that you can carry Forth long-term. And this is exactly what you need to be successful.