• Mohammad A. Emran, MD

Why Diets Don't Work

So, we’re going to break down three more ways why dieting doesn’t work and some of the tips that we can use to make things work better when we’re trying to get healthy and lose weight.

So, you’ve probably heard me say that dieting doesn’t work and I’ve given some reasons before but here are some things that you really need to know. Number one, healthy habits, it doesn’t matter whether you’re thin or whether you’re overweight, healthy habits are healthy habits. You get the same reduction in risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes if you’re eating healthy, exercising, not smoking and not drinking. Whether you’re overweight or whether you’re thin, either way you’re getting a benefit out of doing that healthy activity. So, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re seeing weight loss, doing a healthy activity gets you healthy results and then you can work on getting weight loss. It’s much easier for a person who’s healthy to lose weight than a person who’s sick, tired and having joint pains and all kinds of illnesses and things that keep them from doing what they need to do, it’s much easier for that healthy person to lose weight than for that sick person to try to lose the same amount of weight. So, it’s really important to pick up healthy habits, whether you see a benefit from it right away or not, you’re actually helping to maintain your health. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, if you’re doing something that’s good for you on the inside, you are getting a benefit and you’re going to reap that benefit over time.

Number two. If you lose as little as 10% of your body weight, even a 10% decrease in body weight can result in a 200 – 400 calorie reduction in burning. So, the same activity that you would do to burn energy, to burn those extra calories, so say you’re going to the gym for two hours a day, if you lose 10% of your body weight, you’re going to be burning 200 – 400 calories less, so it makes it that much harder to lose weight, you have to do that much more to lose that weight. So, instead of working harder, we need to start working a lot smarter. Because we’ve been spinning our wheels for years with all these bad things in medicine, telling people eat low fat, eat more carbs, do this, do that and none of it has worked, in fact, all of it has worked to the contrary. The same with all kinds of experts out there that have told us what diets to go on and what things we should do and those diets are rejected for a while and then they become the fad and then they’re rejected again as something new and greater or something comes out with the ‘better’ diet and the bottom line is all of those things are temporary strategies that don’t work. So, what we need to do is start doing permanent changes over time.

So, what’s the best strategy? If I’m not going to diet and I’m not going to lose the weight suddenly, what do I do? Well, the best strategy is what they call ‘mindful eating’. Mindful eating means being aware of doing things that are healthy, taking in things that are healthy on a regular basis and making sure that that improves over time. We’re not talking about dumping everything today that you’ve been doing for the last 20 years and saying “OK, cold turkey, I’m going to change everything I do”, you know how well that works for heroin addiction and you see the opioid epidemic all over the country, how well has that worked for those people? And it’s just as hard with food as it is for that because food is not illegal, it’s everywhere and we buy it all the time and we needed to stay alive. So, when we have those cravings, when we have addictions to food, when we’re trying to get healthier and get rid of certain types of food, it’s challenging. So, trying to go cold turkey is the same as an alcoholic or a heroin addict trying to go cold turkey, it doesn’t work, there’s no reason you should do it. Not only is it hard but at the end of the day, if you fail, then you feel guilty and those guilty feelings cause you to have all kinds of emotions that make you want to eat again. So, we want to avoid that, so mindful eating. Think about what you’re eating, make sure that you’re improving your health over time, make sure that you’re improving your nutrition over time, you’re shooting for the five a day, that’s the minimum to really be healthy.

Now, again, I’m not saying jump to five a day, getting three vegetables and two fruits every day. I’m saying that you need to really look at what are you doing. I mean, let’s be honest, what are we doing? Are you taking your five a day and if you’re not, well, how many are you taking? That’s where keeping a food journal can help you; keep track of what you’re taking in, are you taking two a day, are you taking three a day, are you taking one a day or are you missing all of them? And this is an opportunity. If you’re not taking any, wow, you’ve got a lot of room for success. If you’ve been taking all of them and you’re not seeing weight loss, don’t worry, there’s still some things that can be done, there are some things that we can definitely do to make sure that that works for you. But if you’re doing something that’s healthy, that’s the most important thing. So, if you’re doing zero, add one. If you’re doing two, add one more, make it three and then keep increasing, increasing, increasing, get better and better over time. And eliminate processed foods, that’s the quickest easiest way to get things moving fast is start getting rid of all the processed foods; things in boxes, packages, that come through windows, things in cans, all those things are things that are going to negatively impact your health, so you want to start getting rid of those. And again, you don’t have to do it all at once; if you’re taking a soda every day, maybe make it every other day. If you’re taking junk food every day, maybe make it every other day and cut things back as you increase the good stuff, your body will thank you for it.

So, we all want to look healthy and we all want to have a lot more energy but it’s important to start doing things that are actually healthy in order to be able to look like we actually are. If we’re not doing things that are healthy, we’re going to always look like what we’ve been doing over the past 10 years or so, so we want to slowly increase the benefits to our body and get that. So, habits are important for everyone, whether you’re thin, whether you’re overweight. And losing weight can make it harder to lose more weight unless you know the tricks to reset your internal thermostat so that your body lets go of the weight for good. And 90% of dieters are either going to be exactly the same as they were before or going to gain more weight than when they started. So, diets don’t work, instead, we should be using lifestyle changes that focus on mindful eating, getting your five a day and eliminating processed foods.

Hope you like that. Please ‘like’, ‘share’ and check out ‘Silence Your Fat Gene’ on, my new book, and that will help you get more tips like this to get you fast track to better health.

I hope to see you at the next video. Bye-bye.

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