The 3 rules for a successful diet :-)

Diets don’t work, according to a research report in American Psychologist, (Mann et al) discussed on Not only had most people who lost weight through dieting regained their weight in a couple of years, Mann concluded that

most of them would have been better off not going on the diet at all. Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back

Well blow me down with a feather, etc. Who would have thought it? Well me, for a start. Given the obsession with dieting, if diets worked, people wouldn’t be (supposedly) getting fatter and fatter all the time.

In the place where I work, it is more unusual to find a woman who isn’t on a diet than one who is. And a fair number of the men are also dieting. But no one ever seems to get any thinner. At best, they lose weight a couple of weeks before a beach holiday. If the weight isn’t back, plus a bit more, after a week of constant drinking and eating, it is back within the next few weeks.

I Googled for what there was on the Internet about diets not working. Surprise again, most links were to sites that claimed diets didn’t work except the one they were selling. Or they wanted you to buy their book promising exciting new ways to lose weight by changing your lifestyle. Almost without exception, this stuff is spurious science and spurious medicine. What real knowledge there is gets swallowed up when it gets marketed in yet another get-slim-fast scam.

There is surely enough evidence now that “diets” aren’t the way to become and stay slim. The Atkins diet is the only one that even seems to work at all (based on my scanning of the evidence over a good while but without the refs to back it up right now*, so take that with a pinch of sodium-free salt.)

It is depressing that so many people who don’t know what hunger is care so much about their weight that it makes them miserable and prone to obsessing about food.

Out of the infinite goodness of my heart, I offer the benefit of my fantastic new diet and lifestyle programme for free….

I had to number it because the internet is full of the 5 rules for this and the 7 rules for that. There is really only one rule, plus extra padding.

Rule 1
The first rule is, of course, never to talk about these rules

Rule 2
Eat mostly real food & get enough exercise.

By eat real food, I mean eat things that people would have eaten when they didn’t have a KFC or an all-you-can-eat toxic waste restaurant on the corner. You know: meat, cheese, fish, eggs, milk, vegetables, fruit, butter, bread.

What is so difficult about that? It doesn’t mean stop eating things like cakes and sweets just for enjoyment. Just enjoy them when you eat them.

Rule 3
Stop feeling guilty/proud depending on whether you have swallowed a family size triple chocolate cheesecake or nibbled on a slice of lettuce.

People who are mainly interested in their weight or other people’s weight are boring. I would almost say they were a waste of air but that’s a mite too harsh even for a rant. They are certainly a waste of food.

* Neil Wilkinson,a very kind commenter on a previous post, emailed an AMA research paper by Garner et al to TW, together with these two urls
All Diets Work, Wait For Punchline and
So that can count as references.

4 thoughts on “The 3 rules for a successful diet :-)

  1. When I was 14, I was a normal healthy weight. But at that time, everyone had to be super-skinny (guess that hasn’t changed much). So people teased me about my weight. I began dieting. Before I was 17, I had yo-yo dieted my way up to 185 pounds. And so it has gone throughout the last decades. Up 30-50 pounds, down 20-30 pounds, up 20 pounds, down 100 pounds. Etc. Childbearing, of course, adds to the difficulty of maintaining a healthy weight.

    After a lifetime of unhealthy eating, I’m not sure my body knows how to achieve a healthy balance. I’m once again on a diet, having gained 20 pounds during a stressful couple of months.

    If only that 14 year old girl had known then what I know now.

  2. Many thanks for this comment, it was very kind of you to share your experience.
    If only we could hear this sort of thing a bit more clearly and a bit more often.

  3. I reckon a low carbohydrate is probably the best long term approach to eating. (I’m not using the ‘d’ word) I don’t think radical short term alterations to what you eat work too well except in the short term, hence the poor souls who wind up putting more weight back on than they lost in the first place. Which benefits the diet industry no end.
    I also feel there is a genetic component to one’s natural weight. I’ve seen enough skinny people who can pack food away like there’s no tomorrow, yet remain skinny. And without being any more than normally active.

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