Why Your Diet Has Failed: This Is Not Fat Loss

This article is based on a recent study, which asked men and women how much they thought their diets had succeeded in losing weight.

I was so relieved to hear about the recent study in the American Journal of Preventive medicine.  I had been a bit under the weather recently, and was feeling very guilty and very lethargic. This was the only thing that gave me a little bit of energy. After reading the above description of what happens when your healthy diet fails to succeed, it should sound a lot more encouraging if I tell you what I did to take my weight loss to that next level: I got on my treadmill and started walking (I’m a runner, it really is my favorite activity). The good news is that despite the fact that it was cold that day, the walk got me outside and warmed my body up, so it worked!

The bad news – and I am now the bad news – is that my calories have also remained the same. One of the benefits of keeping everything the same is that I have been able to continue to use my home exercise equipment for a while longer without suffering adverse effects. What this means is that I will still have to change the exercise I do at the gym.

My plan is to go to the gym as often as possible, and add weight slowly (about 500 calories) until I reach a point in my normal cycle where I weigh 400 pounds. That’s it – when the weight is 200 pounds, I will see how I feel and how the treadmill responds. Then, I will make adjustments as necessary to continue losing weight. (If this idea scares you, or doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry: I am still hopeful and optimistic!) The good news is that this is what has worked for everyone else in this research. One thing that seems to be consistent is that the more difficult the exercise is, the longer you will be able to keep losing weight (at least for a while).

At the same time, exercise increases feelings of happiness, which may help to maintain the weight loss. The same goes for dieting.   What this means is that there should not be any negative feelings associated with dieting or exercise – you just need to give them your full attention!

There are some interesting parallels to your diet to be found here. For most Americans, it is incredibly easy for us to gain weight without even noticing. We can eat the food we want to eat, drink it in unlimited amounts, eat whatever we want, and feel full. This makes it easy to stay the healthiest that we can.  As you see with the study, there are a number of people (not only men) who have been able to maintain their health and weight loss efforts despite changes over time in their diets. This would suggest that it might not take that much to maintain yourself long term when eating like a caveman, as long as you can maintain an active lifestyle and pay attention to how your physical energy level differs from day to day. (I have added the word “calorie” when I can, but I am not sure if that is really necessary unless you eat like an insane person.)

As long as you are conscious as to what kind of foods and exercises will keep you energized and keep you in shape, you will have control over your health and body. You will know what the right things are and what the wrong things are. It probably will take some time, but you will start to make it through your old age a little bit happier and healthier. For more information, and to make sure you don’t fall through the cracks with your diet,  see:

The diet that doesn’t work: Part 7: The Diet That Doesn’t Work

The Diet That Doesn’t Work: Part 1: What Your Diet Actually Says About You.

© Copyright 2008 by Kelly Brownell, Ph.D. 

This blog is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Please consult your physician if you have any specific health concerns- this blog is an educational resource, not a substitute for medical advice.