"I feel like a total failure."
Those infamous words are spoken by most people who have set out to change their body/lifestyle through rigid diet or strenuous exercise, only to be left extremely disappointed in themselves, beating themselves for lacking willpower, motivation or self-control so follow through on their goals.
This is usually how it goes…
You’re unhappy with your body. You feel uncomfortable, low energy, achy and just can’t find the motivation to do anything. SO, you decide to make a change! But you want to make a change fast. Cue the crash diets (cleverly rebranded as “lifestyles” because who wants to admit they’re on “diets” these days?!)
Weight watchers, keto, intermittent fasting, paleo, meal subscriptions, shakes, supplements…. You choose your poison.
You do really well for a few weeks. Even a few months. You think “OMG, this is finally working!”.
But eventually…things get harder to maintain. You start to get bored. You want to eat normally again. Maybe even just a few treats here and there. Not to mention, eating something completely different from the people around you all the time just isn’t sustainable (and it SUCKS).
You want to ease up….so you start incorporating things back in slowly. You slowly stop tracking.
You’re confident that you’ve learned self-control and good habits through your diet, so you should be able to keep the weight off no problem now, right?! ("once I lose the weight... then I'll just maintain!" Seems simple enough).
Slowly but surely though, you start slipping back into your old habits. The weight creeps back on.
Andddd you’re right back to square 1. And now, you’re feeling like a total failure because you failed your diet. You failed yet another weight loss attempt.
So, you go right back to what worked the first time. You hop right back on to the diet train. Again, and again, and again.
This is basically diet culture’s business model: rely on repeat customers.
You wouldn’t need to “jump back on the wagon” or do a diet/program 2, 3…4 times if it actually worked.
I mean... trying Weight Watchers for the third time?! Dig deeper and ask yourself why it didn't work long-term the first time.
If it really "worked", you wouldn’t lose and regain the weight lost, if not more, after dieting (the average person gains 11 pounds for every diet they go on). Even worse, when they lose weight, they lose muscle and fat. When they regain weight, they gain back all fat. And since muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat, their metabolism is slower than when they started the diet.
The cruel fact is that they then need even less calories to maintain their weight. You know those people who struggle with their weight, even though they don’t even eat that much? They’re not lying. They’ve just damaged their metabolism by yo-yo dieting
When you say, “the diet worked for a few months until I ate that cookie and spiraled out of control for the next few months,”or "the diet worked as long as strictly stuck to it, but I couldn't stick to it", that’s actually exactly what research shows us that happens to dieters. What so many people blame on themselves, like not having enough “willpower,” “discipline” or ability to “keep the weight off” is actually a flaw in the system of dieting.
We know from research that about 95% of dieters will regain the weight they lost if not more within 1-5 years of starting a diet. Restricting may lead to temporary weight loss, but it also leads to bingeing and long-term weight gain.
1- Automatically balance your appetite not by white knuckling it on some band-aid diet or starving yourself, but by fixing your hormones and brain chemistry that are out-out-whack and driving your hunger and overeating.
2- Automatically improve the efficiency of your metabolism so that you can burn more calories all day long.
Unfortunately, most diets do the opposite – increase hunger and slow metabolism.
But here’s the thing. You didn’t fail. You never have. The diet system is MEANT to fail.
It is meant to make a repeated customer out of you. And unfortunately, their system works so brutally well. People keep coming back for more.
The weight rebound is no surprise. The tendency for dieter’s weight to creep back has been among the most reliable and replicable results in the study of weight loss interventions.
So please , stop beating yourself for falling victim to this toxic model and instead, understand the mistakes you’ve been making and how to fix them.
1. You use willpower instead of science to control your appetite
There is a science of hunger. Unfortunately, most diets (eating less) or exercise programs (move more) will trigger hunger. Willpower is like holding your breath underwater: you can only hold your breath for so long. You can only starve yourself for so long.
Powerful ancient human mechanisms compensate and protect us from starvation (even if it is self-induced). Our bodies aren’t able to distinguish between intentional starvation (1200 calories is the calorie requirements for a toddler, not a grown adult) and involuntary starvation.
Our hunger dramatically increases, our cravings ramp up and our metabolism slows way down to conserve energy. Eating certain foods actually increases hunger and slows metabolism.
By now, you’re probably understanding, there is absolutely no one-size-fits-all approach or “perfect diet” .
The truth is, the human body is amazingly adaptable to a vast array of diets, so the best diet is the one that:
It just takes a little know-how, following certain key principles of optimal eating and finally, having systematic approach to make the changes effortless and meaningful.
2. You focus on calories (eat less, exercise more)
The mantra of calories in/calories out or calorie deficits as the key to weight loss, is the oldest trick in the book and quickly entering the scientific trash bin.
I could write a novel on this topic, but I’ll keep it brief : calories are not all made equal. Quality matters more than quantity. Food (and calories) is not just energy, but INFORMATION, or instructions or code that literally controls almost every function of your body—including your hormones, appetite, brain chemistry, immune system, gene expression, and even your microbiome with every single bite. And that the quality of the information matters more than the quantity. The composition of the food you eat is what matters.
You know when you eat a big meal that could easily be 1300 calories and then, an hour later, you feel hungry again and need to go raid the fridge or eat something sweet? Yup. Food is information.
Again, following key principles about optimizing the information you send to your body in the form of food is key to regulating your hormones, brain chemistry and in turn, repairing your damaged metabolism.
3. You have an unhealthy relationship with food
Are you scared to have a cookie because you might eat the whole box? Do you count calories all day, then binge before bed? If you obsess about what you put in your mouth in the hopes of controlling your weight , chances are....you're actually putting yourself at a huge disadvantage of actually reaching your goals.
The moment you start labelling food as “good” or “bad”, you begin to fear it and it takes up more and more space in your mind. The built-up fixation on that “guilty” food will often result in breaking & bingeing- consuming more than you would’ve in the first place, followed by feelings of shame, failure and an increased likelihood to see all your efforts to be “good” as useless. Next logical step? Saying f**k it and going right back to your old behaviours you were trying so hard to change.
4. You don’t have a plan.
Health is not something that happens to you. It doesn’t fall on your lap. Especially when coming from a past of yo-yo dieting and weight struggles, it needs to be thought-out and systematic. You need a plan. You can’t just “wing it”. Most of us fail because we don’t “design our health.” We don’t set up the conditions for automatic success.
In my Health and Weight Loss Transformation program , one of the pillars is the principle of “Design” How can you design your life so that you don’t have to think about doing the right thing? You create conditions for making it easy and automatic. We find what works for YOU based on your routines, your lifestyle, your preferences and what you can do consistently for the rest of your life. Taking a holistic view of your life - making sure every piece fits perfectly.
But you can’t expect health to happen . You have to plan for it! The science of health and weight loss is not a mystery. But old ideas die hard.
If you’re reading this, you know diets are not the answer. You’re tired of them, you’re tired of feeling like a failure. You want to finally feel at peace with food and your body.
In my Health & Weight Loss Transformation program, I teach you the key principles to finally keeping that weight off for good. Not only will you learn how to heal your relationship with food, but I will simplify the science of food, fitness & behaviour change so that you can finally reach your goals, feel your best and never have to "start over" or fall victim to being a repeat customer ever again.
Want to find out more? Click here .