Top 10 Reasons NOT to Go on a Diet

Molly Kellogg Nutritional Consultant

JANUARY 01, 2015


1. They don't work.

Only one or two people out of 100 will lose weight and keep it off. Would you take a medication that only worked one to two percent of the time?

2. They are a set-up for binging.

Most diets are severely restricted, so we get very hungry. When over-hungry, we tend to crave high-calorie foods. We also have more trouble stopping when full.

3. They teach you to be out of touch with your appetite.

Most diets have rigid portions and schedules or rules. Normal eaters vary their amounts and eating times according to need. Losing touch with internal feedback contributes to long-term failure. It also encourages us to give up trusting our intuition in other areas.

4. Some are nutritionally inadequate or even dangerous.

If the diet eliminates whole categories of foods, it is likely low in nutrition. For example, chronic dieters are at risk for osteoporosis because of years of inadequate calcium.

5. They don't teach you how to feed yourself in the long run.

You will end it someday, and then what? Have you learned how to feed yourself in tune with your body and healthfully in a way you can for the rest of your life?

6. They are based on self-hate and punishment.

It is implied that if we are disgusted enough with ourselves we will change. That isn't how change works. We change when we are ready and attracted toward a different life.

7. It can be harmful to lose and regain.

There are plenty of people who are fat and healthy. There is good evidence that yo-yo dieting is unhealthy. If health is your concern, it's more effective to address specific health issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure with a lifestyle approach (stress management; exercise; moderate, targeted diet changes) rather than focus purely on losing weight.

8. Focusing solely on dieting narrows our sense of who we are and encourages us to think of foods (and ourselves) as "good" or "bad."

Why evaluate your day based only on calories eaten or pounds lost? How about the amount of quality time with your children? Laughter? Energy and joy? Contribution to your community? Learning a new skill?

9. Diets convince you that it's good to be deprived.

There's nothing good about deprivation. It causes your body to think food is in short supply and metabolism lowers. It also strengthens the survival drive, which urges you to break out of the diet. An abundance approach that focuses on exquisitely getting your needs met is more apt to meet with success than an approach that denies food.

10. You put your life on hold.

How often have you said, "When I lose weight, I will ... ?" Live the life you want now.


Top 10 Reasons Not to Go on a Diet (PDF)


January 2015


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Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.