1. Diets don’t work.
Maybe this is obvious, but if diets really worked you would only need one in your entire life. The reality is that diets are a short-term fix, like putting a Band-Aid on a cut when the bleeding is internal. Diets don’t solve the real problem.
2. You’ll probably gain weight.
Not at first, in the beginning you will lose weight. But studies have shown that in the long term, dieting is a reliable cause of weight gain. That’s right, even if you’re overweight you’re better off never dieting.
3. Diets make you miserable.
Calorie deficits make you grumpy. Nutrient deprivation makes me grumpy. I think there are better ways to spend our time, how about you?
4. Diets screw up your metabolism.
When you lose weight too quickly, you’re bound to lose some muscle. Also, when you dramatically decrease your calorie intake, your body adjusts to this lower level and learns to use less energy. These two strikes against your metabolism mean that when you go back to your old eating habits (if you’re lucky and don’t over compensate for your starvation by eating more, like most people) then you will store more calories as fat than ever before.
4. Diets make you a buzzkill.
Friends and family with restrictive diets ruin it for everyone. If you won’t even pretend to eat or drink what everyone else is having in celebration you make people uncomfortable in at least two ways: 1) they can tell you aren’t having as good a time as they are, which isn’t fun, and 2) they feel judged being less virtuous than you. Suffer on your own time.
5. Diets destroy your relationship with food.
Diets set you up for a feast or famine mentality, where you oscillate between barely eating anything and binging on 12-packs of deep-fried bacon-stuffed cupcakes. You can’t win.
6. The food tastes horrible.
Eating bad tasting food won’t kill you, but it’s hard to argue that you’re really living either.
7. Diets are hard.
Diets take lots of time, energy and self-discipline. They aren’t easy to keep up, and they’re nearly impossible to maintain. Since they don’t work, this is particularly unfortunate.
8. They’re temporary.
Even if you can stick out a diet and meet your weight goals, you know that as soon as you go back to your old habits the pounds will return (and probably bring some friends). So if it isn’t going to last, what’s the point exactly?
9. They cost money.
Not all diets are expensive, but chances are high that if you start one you will invest in a book or program, and probably special foods as well. It’s true that good food costs money, but do you need to pay extra to suffer and gain weight?
10. There’s a better way.
All the above inconveniences might be acceptable if weight loss is very important to you and there are simply no other ways to achieve it. But that isn’t true. Small, customizable lifestyle changes can transform your body and your health.
The changes are slower and much less dramatic, but they last because they are permanent. Losing a simple 2 lbs a month (.5 lb/week) will set you down almost 25 lbs in one year. More important, for most people a shift to healthier eating greatly improves quality of life. Not only do you get healthier and lose weight, the food is amazing and you discover a world of flavors and food culture you never knew existed.