By Sarah Gebhardt

Dieting pitfall? Here is how you finally succeed!

Are you trying to avoid the dieting pitfall? Here is how you finally succeed!
The majority of diets fail. Not later than after a couple of years, the weight you proudly lost returns. But why does this happen – and how do you finally succeed in avoiding this dieting pitfall?

You all know the feeling: the dieting procedure is most of the time quite similar. I have heard or read about a new diet; an acquaintance might even brag about its effectiveness. Highly motivated, I head into this adventure. I explore recipes, buy exotic foods (hello there, konjac noodles!), and implement new menus. The first few pounds/kilograms melt away, and I feel like I'm on top of the world. But the initial excitement wears off quickly. The additional amount of effort I put in is annoying and doesn't fit into my everyday life. My body is rebelling and transmitting hunger signals, tiredness, and a bad mood. I'm cold, and at night, I dream of chocolate cake.

At night, I dream of chocolate cake – Or the moment you stumble into the dieting pitfall

The first exception awaits around the corner, maybe at a party or a restaurant. I remember defending my new diet in front of my colleagues at work. But now, they notice – grinning fiercely – that I'm not that intense about it anymore. "Weren't you giving up on sugar?". That's when, a couple of weeks later, I abandon my ambitions. It seems that I do not have enough will power to persevere truly!

A group of scientists has studied how effective diets are. Therefore, they established a meta-study, referring to analyzing and evaluating four individual studies on this topic. The somewhat sobering outcome: Following a period of quick weight loss, you reach a plateau – and then it goes back up again. On average, half of the weight loss has tiptoed its way back after merely two years. It refers to 80% of the weight returning after five years. 

And this takes place, regardless of the diet. But why does it seem so complicated to avoid this dieting pitfall?

Our environment makes us fat

Our environment has turned into a perfect pitfall during the last decades. The aforementioned explains why every second person in Germany is overweight! We can buy snacks at every street corner. For most of them you only use one hand, they are delicious and not very healthy. Our smartphones, every commercial on TV, and even advertisements throughout the city remind us always of the temptations we could be currently enjoying.

Furthermore, the food industry invests a considerable amount of money into developing food that we can hardly resist. It has elaborated how the combination of fat, sugar, aroma, and mouthfeel forces us to eat more than we should or want. In my case, I find it highly impossible not to finish a bag of chips in one go. 

In everyday life, it is easy not to move around a lot. I take the train to work, sit the entire day at the desk and rest on the couch for the evening. The lack of exercise is closely followed by stress-eating. 

According to the TK-Stress survey 2016, 6 out of 10 Germans feel stressed – and the majority mentions stress has gotten worse over the past years. Stress doesn't only affect our mental health, but stress hormones keep us from losing weight. 

How your body fights against you

The environment is not the only one to blame for not losing weight – our own body fights against us. It does sound crazy if you think about it for a while since losing weight is one reason to help our body feel better. But our bodies are stuck in the past, biologically speaking – in a time when food was scarce. As soon as our body notices us eating less, it will do everything in its power to prevent us from losing weight. We find ourselves being hungrier, always thinking about food, and taking more time to feel satisfied. Our sensory organs focus on food only – and suddenly, we have a superior sense of smell and taste. 

At the same time, however, our body tries to save energy by making us feel calmer. We unconsciously reduce our everyday activities (also known as NEAT, Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and save a few hundred calories per day. 

Here's how you succeed in avoiding the dieting pitfall!  

The well-known approach to losing weight doesn't usually work – mostly because our bodies and the environment make it very difficult. Therefore, we have to rethink to achieve and maintain a healthy weight sustainably. These four steps help you progress:

  • Patience

The key to success is long-term planning. It is all about changing your nutrition instead of dieting and long-term solutions instead of taking short-term actions. Those who want to lose weight have to keep in mind that this task is a marathon and not a sprint. Try and focus on the changes in your daily life rather than worrying about goals in the far future. What step can you take today?

Maintaining a healthy weight means more than small food portions. A holistic approach includes your state of mind, plenty of sleep, exercise, and your surroundings—some who are quite stressed at work experience an easy weight loss when changing jobs. Relationship conflicts can also get in the way of your dream weight. And if a traumatic experience is a cause for unhealthy eating habits, you would benefit more from talk therapy than a new diet program. 

  • Community

Complex tasks are best solved in a team, and this team should be created individually. It can include, for example, an online community, a nutrition specialist, friends, or a dietician. Take a look around here at Faveum, and get inspired!

  • Wholesome nutrition that tastes good

Enjoying your food should not fall by the wayside. A well-balanced and wholesome diet tastes incredible, keeps you satisfied, and contributes positively to your welfare. A healthy diet makes it simultaneously impossible for your body to absorb fewer micronutrients (such as vitamins), although the portions being smaller. Continuous hunger is not a good strategy!

Conclusion

Unfortunately, most of the things you encounter in diets are nonsense. Neither are diets a quick fix nor do they work in the long term. To avoid the dieting pitfall, you have to renounce every diet, thus saving you from the yoyo effect. A sustainable and holistic approach makes more sense and helps you enjoy your food and cultivate relaxation and welfare in your daily life. These are finally good news because it means: bye-bye cabbage soup!


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