Contrary to popular belief, industry experts—and even novices—know that weight loss programs are a waste of time, energy, and money. This isn’t news to them. While it’s easy to assume that this pointlessness is due to the fact that most of them use the infamous one-size-fits-all approach, it’s actually not. These programs don’t really work because they focus too much on food rather than on biology, genetics, lifestyle, and other environmental factors that actually come into play during weight loss.
So, for those planning to take on the often-traveled-but-less-successful-road, here’s what you need to know about why it’s best to invest in something else.
They Don’t Involve Physical Activity
Weight loss programs emphasize the role of dieting in general without stressing the role of physical activity. Exercise has a myriad of benefits including burning calories and reducing blood sugar—both of which are vital in weight loss and even weight gain.
The truth is, eating healthy and cutting calories won’t assure weight loss. Yes, losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, but without that 20% you’re still not getting optimal results. You need to burn more than what you take in, and you can best achieve this with exercise. You cannot rely on your basal metabolic rate alone. Exercise is safer than extreme dieting, as it burns fat and builds muscles rather than cannibalizing muscles and bone density.
They Actually Trigger Overeating
Because your body sees dieting as a stressor, it produces unstable levels of stress hormones—adrenaline and cortisol—that cause insatiable cravings, eventually leading to overeating.
Your adrenaline makes you feel less hungry as it prepares you for fight or flight, but is later replaced by cortisol that tells your body you need more food. With surging stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol stop you from using calories from fat. Instead, the two of them together pushes your body into using calories from carbs and lean muscle, consequently leading to constant or persistent hunger.
When this happens, the body looks for “comfort” food to respond to the stress; hence the cravings and overeating.
Dieting is basically a temporary weight loss plan—a quick fix if you will. The weight you drop now will come back—and probably even double—in a year or so. In a calorie-restricting study conducted, one to two thirds of the dieters gained back more weight than they’ve lost.
Worse is, it has the potential to become a nerve-racking cycle of gaining and losing weight (referred to as yo-yo dieting) rather than an exit strategy from the risks and hazards of potential obesity.
For those who have already tried the program or are in it, you know how tiring it can be. It takes frankly unsustainable amounts of time, energy, and discipline to stick to your program. And while it can be refreshing at first to see that you’re actually getting somewhere, it can be exhausting in the long run with all its restrictions.
More so, they usually target superficial eating habits that eventually die along with willpower. Cutting out certain foods can lead to avoiding certain situations and people that can tempt you to abandon your efforts.
It Cultures Weight-Obsession
Stressing food intake molds society to obsess on weight and food. It’s a tedious and unrewarding excursion of counting calories, creating long lists of “nope” foods, and forcing down the semi-palatable—if not completely inedible—“nutritious” meals.
Rather than directing your efforts to more productive and real-time weight loss opportunities, you’re basically spending too much time and energy on deprivation.
Steer clear from fad weight loss programs and save yourself the drama. While it’s tempting to surrender to these schemes, your best choice is to go for more practical and proven ways of losing weight; ones that approach your biological and environmental requirements holistically.