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Why Diets Don't Work

Updated on October 26, 2011

Eat, Enjoy, Exercise

Okay, who is on a diet; just fell off a diet or is planning to go on a diet? We are obsessed with weight and while we should be concerned with being overweight, we will not lose weight and keep it off, if our focus is on diets and dieting, and not on the simple lifestyle choices we can all make.

I have been on a number of diets over the years but tossed them all out the window about ten years ago. It was then that this simple reality actually sunk in: if I truly want to lose weight I must burn off more calories than I consumer. If I eat 2000 calories a day but only burn off 1800, I am not about to lose weight.

Now, the second part of this requires you to eat foods that are healthy. This does not mean that you must give up chocolate but you may want to rethink that chocolate mousse after that double cheese burger and fries. In fact, maybe just a single cheese burger well maybe just the burger and get some exercise and I am not referring to working the remote control

Get out of your house and walk, for example. That is what I did and the weight began to come off and stay off.

The rant ends here.

A diet is something that you do to lose weight and this often involves serious sacrifice, routines (weighing food, making note) and eating more celery sticks and carrots than anyone should have to consume.

Don’t get me wrong carrots and celery sticks are tasty, just not all the time.

If you seriously want to lose weight; first set yourself a sensible goal; if your goal is to lose 50 pounds in tow months, you may be disappointed and when we get disappointed we often seek to comfort ourselves and what do we turn to for comfort, food, and rarely carrots or celery.

Now a reasonable goal is to lose ten pounds. This can be done and can be done without any name brand diet.

Breakfast, as you are likely to have heard, is the most important meal of the day, do not skip it and do not think that donuts or muffins are a substitute. A whole wheat cereal with fruit and skim milk is quick and healthy.

Diets do not work because eating is not a diet it is a means of providing your body with the essential vitamins and minerals that it requires to perform.

A diet is viewed as something temporary, something that will last a few weeks or months and then you can go back to your old habits. Well you are likely to go back to those habits before the diet is over and feel worse about yourself than you did before you went on the diet and the need to treat yourself becomes strong.

You will lose weight if you eat five small meals a day and get up off the couch to do more than go to the bathroom. In fact, you may find one of the most effective weight loss techniques is not turning the television set on, in the first palce.

As I said to lose weight burn off more calories than you consume, you do not need a diet to do this.

Have breakfast, an apple or piece of cheese at break, a salad for lunch or a burger, a snack in the mid-afternoon and then supper. Try and avoid heavy meals in the evening, especially if your game plan is to watch TV.

Get some exercise. I am referring to light exercise, not a marathon workout. You must wait before doing anything strenuous but you can take a walk or mow the lawn say 45 minutes after supper. The idea is not to think of this as exercise but as getting the things done that need doing. If there are no chores to do, go for a walk, start slow and gradually pick up the pace, then gradually slow down.

We are not trying to feel the burn just work up a light sweat and shed a few calories.

Diets do not work. They require willpower, fixed routines, log keeping, food weighing and denial to name a few. They also often require you to read a book, now I am all for reading but a novel is a better use of your time, and create a diet plan.

Diets do not work because food is fun not work.

This is just too much work for something as simple as eating and as enjoyable as food.

Food is an essential part of life, enjoy it but keep the helpings down, you really do not need two brownies. One is enough.

Eat fresh or frozen vegetables, fresh fruit instead of fruit juices, avoid hidden sugars (read labels), eat lean meats, fish, chicken and embrace beans and legumes.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome Mike, glad this was useful, thanks for stopping by. It is time for me to get out the rake and enjoy some exercise.

  • mikewitt profile image

    mikewitt 9 years ago from Davenport, Iowa

    Hi Bob,

    You really have some great hub and information, thanks for all the information. I like reading diet information, it's interesting to see all the things folks try to do to loose weight. You have a great approach, and although I haven't had to really focus on loosing weight, I learned the same thing early on that you talk about in this hub, burning more than you take in. I think long term optimal weight comes from not only what you eat but how much you eat and then how much sensible activity you do to burn off those calories.

    I love spend time outside, the fall in Iowa is a great season, and it creates lots of opportunity to burn calories by raking all those darn leaves.

    Thanks again,

    Mike Witt

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks, water, good tip.

  • anime_nanet profile image

    anime_nanet 9 years ago from Portugal

    Well written!

    Don't forget to drink a lot of water too - at least 2 litres a day!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    coming soon to a hub near you.:)

  • Dottie1 profile image

    Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

    "worth its own hub." I'll be waiting for it!:)

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks and many would envy you Shirley

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    "weeding and working in your garden which to me is one of the best exercises you can get." worth its own hub.:)

  • Shirley Anderson profile image

    Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    I've never needed to diet, in fact I've spent most of my life trying to gain weight. It's only been over the last 2 years that I've managed to do so - I have a very fast metabolism and always preferred a bunch of smaller meals to 3 big ones. I also drank gallons of water.

    So, finally I am eating more calories than I'm burning. They aren't empty calories though. I've always been a veggie lover, and I still eat plenty of those. I've had to do it opposite to the folks eating to drop pounds....I started eating 3 bigger meals. I have to tell you - I'm not crazy about it, but I'm not 102 anymore.

    Great hub as always, Bob. I like reading your articles.

  • Dottie1 profile image

    Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

    Thanks for this very useful information that works. I have 3 methods of exercise so I do not get board and quit. You mention it does not take strenuous exercise, just get out and walk, do chores, mow grass! Just thought it rather funny coming from you Bob that you didn't mention weeding and working in your garden which to me is one of the best exercises you can get.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Your comments are most welcome funride and helpful.

  • funride profile image

    Ricardo Nunes 9 years ago from Portugal

    That´s right VioletSun, I have noticed it since I started working with people and they always had better results whenever I told them to maintain their personalized food program for long periods of time. Of course this will work better if one also keep the physical activity going ;)

    One more thing if Bob allows me, some times it´s not what you eat but what you eat with. Diets usually make people stop eating some foods but one should be able to eat almost everything to achieve an healthy nutrition so the most important thing is avoid making bad food combinations on each and every meal ;)

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks cgull, losing weight is not hard and will take some time.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

    Great Hub, a combination of good eating, exercise and also like you said enjoying life will be the best ones. Sometimes people want results the lazy way in magic pills.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Diet to me, implies "sacrifice". exactly, thanks for the visit.

  • VioletSun profile image

    VioletSun 9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

    I have a confession: I went on a diet before traveling in August and as soon as I got back home I gained back about 6 pounds, and I admit I was planning to go on one, yet again, and its tiring as I want to stabilize my weight. The burning off more calories than what one consumes makes sense, there is always something to do that requieres movement, such as mowing the lawn or walking. Thanks for this timely reminder!

    And fundride: Just realized as I read your comments that, " food program" causes less resistance than the word "diet". Diet to me, implies "sacrifice".

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks funride, "Because people tend to return to their bad food habits as soon as they end another diet" exactly.

  • funride profile image

    Ricardo Nunes 9 years ago from Portugal

    Oh my... I didn´t knew you were also a nutritionist lol. Great hub with the best advise one can give about diets: Stop with those inconstant food habits and change your lifestyle to a healthier one. Well done and congratulations on your personal results.

    You know, as a nutritionist I never liked to use the word diet. I try to use food program or any other term that doesn´t give the impression that you will not have to do it the rest of your live. Why? Because people tend to return to their bad food habits as soon as they end another diet. Diet it´s seen as eating less than usual but good results only happen when we eat well!

    A big thumb up ;-)


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