Everyone knows that dieting can be a major struggle. You’re constantly tempted by food, and if you’re lucky, you’ve found your dietary niche and are eating well no matter how much or little you think about it. If you’re not so lucky, though, dieting can force weight loss, break your metabolism down to the point where any sort of weight gain is no longer possible. Physical fitness attitudes are set during childhood and cannot change. When the “cheat days” come around or when we haven’t made progress in awhile (which often happens), we tend to devolve into binge-eating binges filled with lots of beer and ice cream.

1. Dieting is extremely emotionally draining.

This is probably the most obvious point on this list, but it’s worth highlighting all the same. When we first start dieting, we always feel pretty determined: we’re going to break our old bad habits and get healthy! But after a few weeks of dealing with hungry and unsatisfied feelings, or missing certain foods or treats, or struggling to pay attention to anything other than food, our resolve starts to wear off. Sometimes, it flares back up again when we see progress in the scale or mirror—but often this just gives us a false sense of security that eventually leads us right back down into the depths of despair when we don’t make any progress for a while.

2. Dieting is NOT sustainable.

Despite what you see on reality TV shows, or the cover of magazines, no one is actively dieting all the time. Sure, some people are trying to maintain their weight loss and so they’re always mindful of their food intake, but no normal person is going to live like that for the rest of their life. Instead, people tend to follow a cyclical pattern: they’ll go on a diet (which is stressful) lose weight (which is awesome), then get off the diet and gain it all back plus more (which sucks), then eventually get back on a diet and end up repeating this process over and over again for years. Diets just aren’t sustainable.

3. You give up food freedom when you diet.

When going on a diet, you tend to get into a mindset where everything is either “on plan” or “off plan”. And on this diet, there are only a few things that are on plan—you’re allowed to have lots of fruits and veggies, some lean meats, and that’s about it. If you want something else (most people will say no), then you’re off the diet and that’s the end of that. In other words, you have very little personal food freedom (something enlightened folks value highly).

4. Dieting is not a substitute for time-tested personal growth strategies.

Dieting is a short-term solution to a long-term problem (overeating and overconsumption, or not taking good care of our bodies). The truth is that if you’re looking for a quick fix to your life problems or weight issues, then dieting isn’t going to be the answer. No diet can magically make you feel better about yourself; no diet will magically solve all your health problems. If you’re expecting a diet to solve all your problems, then you’re going to be very disappointed.

5. Dieting often makes us feel like we aren’t in control of our lives.

Because most diets require us to give up many foods, or force us into an unnatural eating pattern that goes against the way our bodies are used to working (i.e., three meals a day), dieting tends to rob us of control over what we eat and when we eat it. This can make us feel like the diet is controlling us instead!

6. Dieting rarely leads to lasting happiness and fulfillment.

Ultimately, dieting is a very, very difficult thing to do. It’s painful, it’s stressful, and it tends to leave us feeling very unsatisfied and angry at ourselves. We’re unable to eat anything we want and feel ecstatic about it—hell, sometimes we’re not even hungry! And because of this constant stress and unhappiness caused by dieting (most of us don’t find ourselves extremely happy when we’re on a diet), we often develop a lot of psychological baggage. And in the long run, this psychological baggage is never something we’ll be able to forget about.

7. Dieting can trigger a self-destructive pattern of behavior that makes us feel like we’re “never good enough”.

Dieting is based on restriction, and when you constantly restrict something—whether it’s food or something else in your life—your body and mind tend to rebel against you if you restrict it long enough. When this happens, people begin to think things like “why even bother dieting? I’ll just binge later on anyway” or “I already screwed up today; I might as well eat whatever I want”.


Dieting can be a difficult thing to do, and it’s stressful and unsatisfying all by itself. So why do so many people choose to try it? Well, for one thing, it’s often a lot easier than changing your habits and lifestyle, or finding better coping skills. For another thing, we tend to look at celebrities and think “That’s how I want to be in ten years!” Of course, we may be looking at a whole myriad of factors (that are very complex) that are fueling the celebrity appearance—but without fail some people will always want to emulate someone else.


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