The Truth About Diets

The western world is suffering from an obesity epidemic and the slimming business is a mulitmillion pound industry, constantly churing out the next new fangled diet plan or fitness regime.

I received blog today from my original trainer, Adam Eason which I wanted to share with you here:

By Adam Eason, Anglo European College of Hypnotherapy:

“The old world view of only eating ‘low-fat’ is dead, the old-school perspective of ‘low calorie diets’ are dead, the old school view of just ‘exercising and exercising and exercising’ to lose weight is dead….These old, outmoded perspectives have been central to what people believe is healthy for the past few decades and the world is now suffering from an obesity epidemic and diabetes is rife. The new world view is busting these myths. There are so many common myths and I’m going to banish some of them here for you today as well as telling you about the new trends and what science tells us is better for us instead. Today I want to give you three main points you can take away with you and those three points alone, if you action them will make massive change to your size, shape and weight.

According to research findings published in the Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year, it is overeating sugar and carbohydrates that cause obesity and not a sedentary lifestyle as is popularly thought.

The researchers state “Our calorie laden diets now generate more ill health than physical inactivity, alcohol, and smoking combined” !!

They go on to add;

“It’s time to wind back the harms caused by the junk food industry’s public relations machinery,” the authors wrote. “Let’s bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You can’t outrun a bad diet.”

Exercising regularly is a contributing factor to well-being and good health, but it is not the singular answer and governments of Western Countries are examining their public health advice currently because of the advancing evidence to support this.

You can’t outrun a bad diet. That is, you can’t eat poorly and think that exercise and activity will combat it, research proves this to be a myth.

This does NOT, however, mean that you need to ‘go on a diet.’ Having a healthy diet is very different to taking up a fad diet or a diet comprising of supplements, or a very low calorie diet whereby you feel starved, or a diet whereby you have to count calories (calorie counting is also proven to be ineffective with regards to weight reduction).  There are some major conclusions that research suggests about dieting, and they are as follows:

  1. Dieting does not work. 
  2. Dieting may make you more overweight, especially in the long run. 
  3. Dieting may be bad for your health. 

Companies with big budgets and a vested interest in the massive diet market do not share such research findings. With this in mind, I have made significant changes to the food I eat and the way I eat in recent times. I do not drink anywhere near as much alcoholic drinks as I used to, but the main distinguishing features of how I eat is that my diet is one that has no processed carbs or sugar. It is filled with lots of healthy, whole foods that satisfy me and support my active lifestyle.

That is my second main point today then (following the point that “you can’t outrun  a bad diet”) – that dieting does not work. It often leads to yo-yo dieting whereby a person reduces their weight, puts it all back on again, then tries to lose it again. However, it becomes an endless task because people who go on a very low calorie diet for the second time lose weight more slowly even if they take in the same number of calories as the first time. The body develops defences to deal with this and the more often it happens, the more difficult it is to reduce the weight.

Other things happen too when we diet; people become obsessed with food and eating, thinking about it constantly and sometimes obsessing about it. The body of someone who has yo-yo dieted responds by hoarding energy and our usual activities use up less calories (including sleeping burning less calories, the research suggests!), we give off less energy in body heat and we often become lethargic, and all the naughty foods start to taste even better than before.

We often relapse, we yo-yo and we feel doomed to a lifetime of being overweight. This is a myth, just because we have always been overweight, or were only ever not overweight as a child, it does not mean that has to be true for us for the rest of our lives. People seem to get into an overweight mindset and they seem to believe things about being overweight that simply are not the case. ​


There are many other myths about being overweight, let me give you a couple of the big ones:

  1. a)As I have already suggested, the idea that physical inactivity is a major cause of obesity is not really proven to be true.

People that are considered to be fat are usually less active than thinner people, however inactivity is probably caused more by being overweight than the other way around.

  1. b)The notion that being overweight indicates a lack of willpower is a whopper of a myth. Today’s society often makes being fat a shameful thing and we hold people personally responsible for their weight. Being overweight equates to being weak-willed and slobby. This is helped by the fact that our friends and people in the media that have chosen to reduce weight do so dramatically and in a fairly short period of time. Know this though; almost everyone returns to the old weight after shedding pounds by dieting. The more diets people try, the harder the body works to defeat the next diet. There are plenty of genetics involved in how much we weigh and when dieting, people also have to compete against an even tougher opponent; our biological defence against starvation. We win some small victories through determined application of our conscious will, but more often than not, we lose the longer term war.
  1. C)There is also a myth that overweight people have an ‘overweight personality’ which is also wrong. There has been plenty of research conducted looking at the correlation between fatness and personality and it has shown that obese people do not have any major differences in personality to those who are not obese. it might be more correct to suggest that overweight people adopt a mindset, which is great news, because that can be managed and a new mindset can be engineered, more on that later….

There is agreement from researchers that anyone can lose weight in one or two months on just about any diet, and there is also agreement that you are almost certainly going to put it all back on again within a few years (some authors suggest that you’ll actually put it all back on again and then some). You all know people who have adopted diets, regimens and plans or attended groups that has seen them reduce weight impressively only to put it back on again. Just look at many of the celebrities who did so in the public eye:

Oprah Winfrey: She followed the Optimist plan and became slimmer and slimmer on TV, losing 67 pounds in a few months. Then the following year, she gradually put it all on again and no longer sang the praises of the diet and in fact condemned it.

Vanessa Feltz, Fern Britton, Anne Diamond, Sharon Osbourne: Here in the UK we’ve seen many reduce weight and publicly put it all back on again after following a variety of fad diets and interventions.

If the science had been consulted before hand by these people, they may have not gone on those diets in the first place. Very low calorie diets have been proven to fail in the long term for most people who embark upon them. There is no diet in the world today that can boast figures and statistics to prove it works in the very long term. With most diet studies in fact, the longer the follow-up, the poorer the results.

People need to be able to maintain a proper eating plan. It may be useless or very difficult to eat less food, but it is incredibly important to eat healthier food and food which satisfies us. There is evidence to suggest that the right mindset therefore helps, and it is my belief that the right mindset is the single most important thing when it comes to reducing weight and maintaining it for the long term.

In fact, when dieting inevitably leads to failure and helplessness this leads to another cost of dieting – depression. When your fallible will-power competes with your unyielding biological defences, you know who comes out on top more often, don’t you? You get reminded of that failure each time you look in the mirror, you feel guilty every time you order a huge dessert at the restaurant, and you feel like your desire for everything that contributes to you being overweight is beyond your control…. and all of this makes us depressed. Especially when the media glorifies those that are young and thin; those continual messages we get from the media contribute to our depression, even if it is subtle.

There is much more to this, there is so much more, we still do not know the answer when it comes to diet, exercise, genetics and many other factors that contribute to our physique. What’s more, there is a lot of evidence that we can utilise to give ourselves the best possible chance of achieving more for the long term.

My third point, is that if you want to abandon fad diets and ways of losing weight rapidly, if you want to adopt a course of activity that suits you best, if you want to feel good about doing it and take control of your appetite, then you need to address your psychology and emotions.

  1. You can’t can’t out run a bad diet.
  2. Dieting does not work.
  3. You need to address your psychology and emotions in order to reduce weight effectively and for the long term.

What is the solution?

You can action the information that I have shared so far. Stop dieting, eat healthy whole foods, do not rely wholly on extra exercise, and find out how to use your psychology to advance the results you get. It all starts and ends in the mind.

In order to eat right, in order to exercise or up your activity levels at all, the key is that you need motivation. Real motivation. You need self-discipline, drive, you need belief in yourself, you need to communicate with yourself effectively, you need a mindset to help your approach to food, to help with the way you perceive yourself, and to prevent emotional eating. And you need to do these things in the way that the evidence suggests is the most effective way of doing it all. That’s where hypnotherapy comes in.

An individual’s perception of themselves, beliefs about themselves, way of communicating with them self and the psychological attitude that individual has towards their own physique plays a vital role in achieving the body you want. It precedes and underpins everything else that individual does.

You need a long-term psychological strategy if you wish to maintain that body once you have achieved it. Each time you lose weight and put it on again, it becomes harder to lose again and keep it off.

You need a long term plan, a strategy that ensures you can prevent relapse, that can help you make healthy choices, feel fortified and in control of who and how you are.

You need a long term strategy that will help you engage in heightened activity if you choose to and if you want to, a strategy that ensures you can make the steps forward with how you eat in a way that is not dieting at all, and a strategy that gives you skills to serve you for the rest of your life.”