Why Most Diets Fail in the Long Run*

It is no secret that the vast majority of people who attempt to lose weight by dieting eventually regain the lost weight plus interest. Unfortunately, most of the various popular weight-reduction programs provide short-term success and long-term failure.

Most people lack an understanding of nutrition, digestion, and the effects of the foods and other substances they consume. They feel overwhelmed by the many contradictory diet programs and are confused by constantly changing nutritive claims and warnings. Rather than make an effort to learn underlying principles of nutrition or to acquire vital knowledge about their health, most people simply prefer to be told what to eat. Thus, most weight-reduction programs have strict, simplistic rules that must be adhered to through sheer willpower. This rigidity minimizes making dietary decisions that could jeopardize staying with the program.

Those who slavishly follow such a regimen can have success for a while. However, they experience urgent cravings, frustration, and increasing discouragement. Enduring these hardships is almost impossible, and an eventual break-down of willpower usually occurs. Pretty soon, their excess weight returns, and they then look for a new diet. This yo-yo effect is absent when dieters have (a) a conceptual framework for interpreting what they experience and (b) the knowledge to select an appropriate, healthful, and satisfying way of eating.

Some diet programs supply psychological support to generate heroic willpower. This artifice works for a period of time but cannot continue forever. Such willpower and its concomitant support become unnecessary when weight loss is based on an understanding of the principles taught herein.

An ideal diet must be more than just a means of attaining your optimal weight. It should involve educating your body to function optimally. It should teach you to make appropriate, knowledgeable, and creative decisions right from the start, based on an understanding of nutrition, physiology of digestion, and sugar metabolism. If you have not practiced good nutrition during the weight-loss phase, how can you expect to eat optimally afterward?

Therefore, a weight-loss diet should be an optimal diet to maintain ideal weight and health. If the optimal diet is modified for the purpose of losing weight faster, it should involve no reduction in , —only a reduction in calories. Because a diet for maintaining optimal weight involves eating only natural foods, it is even more crucial to consume only natural foods and take vitamin and mineral supplements when on a weight-loss diet. Moreover, foods must be properly combined and eaten in accord with the principles explained in my article on food combining.

The process of reeducating your mind and body can be slow, so don’t expect immediate results. Whereas you will never attain perfection, you can steadily move in that direction. You will be amazed at how well you will feel and look and how healthy you will become. Eating correctly will be increasingly easy as you see the results and your body reestablishes its inner knowledge.

Note that you need not be perfect—no one can be. It is only necessary to keep moving in a direction of increasing knowledge, awareness, and improvement.

*From Robert Chuckrow, The Intelligent Dieter’;s Guide, Rising Mist Publications, Briarcliff Manor, NY, 1997.

©Copyright 1997 by Robert Chuckrow

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