Diets Don’t Work

We have all come across the Body Mass Index or BMI before. Those of you who have had a nutrition consultation with me know that I do not always believe in the BMI. The BMI is a formula that measures to see if weight is proportionate to height. The BMI is the same chart for both men and women and does not even take into account age, body type, or the amount of body fat. Those who diet are usually working to reach an ideal weight based upon the body mass index. Even if all the other numbers, such as body fat percentage, muscle percentage, cholesterol and blood glucose levels are normal, those who are “overweight” according to the BMI chart are often asked to lose weight.

Diets do not work because they are very limiting in scope. They usually only focus on restricting calories and making drastic changes to diet. There is more to health and vitality than dieting. When it comes to good health and managing weight, lifestyle, sleep, and stress factors are just some other things to consider. When dieting or being on any weight loss regimen, it is important to focus on losing body fat and not lean body mass. When losing more than two pounds a week at a time, it usually means that you are losing lean body mass and not the excess body fat.

A calorie-restricted diet does not allow you to lose body fat, despite its first appearances. On first impression, whenever you begin a new diet, it appears that you are losing as much as nine pounds a week. When restricting calories, you use your stored glycogen to regulate energy levels. As a result, within a couple weeks, the stored glycogen is depleted and it becomes difficult to regulate the blood-sugar levels. The body requires eating enough calories to maintain energy and caloric needs. Once your body is deprived of sufficient amounts of energy, the body has to take energy from somewhere, so it comes from the bones and muscles. By this point, there is no body fat loss, only the loss of lean body mass and hence; the bones and muscles are being damaged. Ultimately, your metabolism slows down and your ideal weight goal is reached. You now have lost muscle and lean body mass and have also slowed down your metabolism.

The minute you come off of your diet and begin to consume an adequate amount of calories, your body weight returns to exactly where you started, if not higher. You gain more body fat when you return to your “normal” diet because your body is no longer in starvation mode and it will try to keep as much energy stored just in case you restrict your calories again. Thus, the cycle of yo-yo dieting continues. And, what’s worse is that your metabolism is still constantly slowing down.

Essentially, not only does dieting make you fat, but you also end up depriving yourself of energy and nutrients. The entire hormonal and digestive systems become imbalanced and the equilibrium of the body is lost. Every time you diet, you have less potential for rebuilding muscle, less potential for burning body fat and more potential for storing body fat.

Beyond a balanced diet, developing a healthy lifestyle and recognizing the different body types is also important. For example, according to Ayurveda, there are three bodily humors or energies that govern the body, which are known as doshas. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and each or combinations of two or three of them are primarily dominant in every individual. Depending on your dominant dosha constitution, you’re body will behave in a certain way. You can read more about the doshas here. When attempting to manage and lose weight, working against the doshas is also not healthy because you are working against your natural body type.

Most diets do not work because they do not educate about creating changes so that you can adapt a healthy lifestyle. Unless you are coached and educated, it is very likely that you will revert to your old habits. Another way to counter and prevent yo-yo dieting is to learn how to live well. Along with engaging in movement activity that benefits the cardiovascular system, it is important to relax, manage stress, and sleep well. Ultimately, losing and managing weight is about developing healthy dietary habits and creating healthy lifestyle changes.

And remember, I provide nutrition plans, not diet plans. The difference is that I also address your metabolism and digestion, along with ensuring your hormone levels are balanced. We make slow changes over a period of time, so that you can not only lose weight but keep it off. In fact, I ask majority of my clients to eat more food to lose weight, but its also about eating the right foods and adapting healthy eating habits.

If you have any questions about this article or anything about health, please do leave me a comment below or email me at:

Health and Happiness,