I read a statistic recently that took me by surprise: 95% of diets fail and dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years. It is not new knowledge to me that a lot of diets fail, but a 95% failure rate is staggeringly high. Why is this rate so high, and what can we do about it?
If your first step in beginning a new diet begins with a commercial weight-loss program, weight-loss drug, or even bariatric surgery, you are definitely not alone. The weight-loss industry earns billions of dollars per year.
In reality, the weight-loss industry (think supplements, “diet” drinks, weight-loss guidebooks, surgeries, and diet plans) capitalizes on the general population’s desire to have instant gratification when it comes to body confidence and better health. What all these schemes miss, however, is the real path to weight-loss and optimal wellness: a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Diets typically fail for a few reasons:
- Trendy diets are difficult (if not impossible) to maintain
Diet fads (think juice fasts, minimal calorie goals, or meal replacement shakes) are unrealistic in that they demand you to cut out entire food groups or get by on liquids alone. Sure, these crash diets result in you losing a lot of pounds quickly, but as soon as you quit the diet, the weight returns.
- Strict diet plans don’t accommodate life’s unpredictability
Diets that cause you to severely restrict your calorie intake don’t allow flexibility. When you can’t accommodate your daily food intake (or lack thereof) with your busy lifestyle, the eminent feeling of failure causes added stress in your daily routine.
- Your goal weight marks the end of the diet
As soon as most dieters reach their goal weight, they ease up on the strict guidelines they followed to get them there. If you find yourself considering a new workout and nutrition plan, ask yourself “Will I be able to maintain this diet and workout this hard, this often?” If the answer is no for either component, your diet is very likely to fail.
Instead, aim for a healthy lifestyle that accounts for your body’s personal needs, not just a lose-weight-quick course. You will notice an immediate energy increase, improvement in mood, and a sharper mind. Long term, you’ll finally lose the weight you’ve wanted to lose, and unlike with your short-term diets, you’ll keep it off.
Here’s how you begin the shift to a healthy lifestyle:
- Tune in to your body’s needs
When you get hungry, ask yourself what it is you really need. Don’t just reach for what’s easiest at your desk or in the vending machine; instead, drink water and assess your cravings. Have a sweet tooth? Opt for fresh fruit over candy. Need a salt fix? Eat a handful of lightly salted nuts instead of chips. Your body needs whole, natural foods, not just an artificial substitute.
- Exercise–and like it!
You don’t need to adopt a brutal exercise routine to sweat off pounds. To actually remain fit and trim in the long-term, choose exercises that work well with your personality and schedule. Take walks on your lunch break, check in to a morning yoga class three times a week, or play a sport regularly. If you don’t like a workout or if it’s too strenuous, you’ll dread it and complete it less often. The key is to get regular exercise (think 3-4 days per week) and stick to it.
- Set realistic goals for yourself
Make small, realistic goals for yourself on your way to your dream weight. For instance, make a goal to replace all processed junk food with real, whole foods. Another effective goal is to only eat out once per week, and cook fresh meals at home all the other nights. Tell yourself to be active for 30 minutes four days out of the week. An active lifestyle combined with proper nutrition brings many rewards: let weight loss only be one of them.
At Lifestyle Chiropractic, numerous patients per week are losing weight on a set plan under my guidance. If you are curious about a nutrition or exercise plan, make an appointment and I would love to help you!
A healthy lifestyle is a harmonious balance of what feels best for your body—learn how to make positive lifestyle changes that reap long-term results.
New Patients: Mention this post when you schedule an appointment in the month of June and receive a FREE Weight-Loss Consultation and Examination!
To my Existing Patients: Mention this post and set up a FREE Weight-Loss Consultation the month of June!
Best of health,
Dr. Chad M. Hoffman