Experts Reveal Why Dieting Never Works (and What You Should Do Instead)

Tired of dieting? Believe it or not, so are many dietitians. Buzzfeed recently talked to a handful of experts and found that many of them don’t even think that dieting works! Thankfully, they also divulged some alternatives that they trust.

Here are the reasons experts believe that dieting never works, and what you should be doing instead (page 6).

Dieting is too ‘black and white’

Healthy Lifestyle Diet

The all-or-nothing approach doesn’t work. | iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd

One dietitian points out that diets fail because of their “all or nothing” approach. Either you are following the diet, or you succumb to a certain food and you have failed. Some experts dislike diets for this very reason. It presents an individual with strict rules about food, and not following those exact rules means you lack willpower.

Next: If you have this mindset …

Dieting creates unhealthy habits

Woman on gluten free diet

Diets can often lead to unhealthy habits. | lolostock

A main focus when it comes to diets is breaking bad eating habits. But a big problem with going on diets is it can create bad eating habits, from skipping foods with essential nutrients to binge eating. What’s worse, is that chronic bad eating habits can lead to health problems such as heart disease.

Next: One of the biggest problems when it comes to dieting is …

It creates body image issues

woman with bad body image or low self esteem looking in the mirror

An unhealthy body image can lead to even worse habits. | iStock

“Body acceptance doesn’t come naturally in this environment,” Glenys Oyston, RD, tells Buzzfeed. Oyston isn’t the only expert that thinks this way. Plenty of dietitians who practice a weight-neutral or anti-diet system are not in favor of the body shaming that occurs with most diets.

Next: Body shaming can cause you to confuse two big things

Dieting confuses size with health

Healthy diet and exercise help prevent cancer

Being healthy and being thin are not the same thing. | Getty Images

Unless you’re referring to someone who is morbidly obese, someone’s health is not the same as their pant size. This is a big reason why experts believe that dieting doesn’t work. “I don’t use the scale as a measure of progress,” Julie Duffy Dillon RD, tells Buzzfeed, “because for most people it keeps the focus off health and promotes unhealthy attitudes toward body image and self worth.”

Next: Perhaps the biggest reason experts say that dieting doesn’t work

Weight loss isn’t up to the individual

Workout and fitness dieting

It really is matter over mind sometimes. | scyther5/iStock/Getty Images

This may sound harsh, but it’s absolutely true. “Whether or not the body loses weight is up to the body, not up to the client,” Lauren Anton, MS, RD, CPT, tells Buzzfeed. What’s worse is that even though the individual person can’t completely control whether a diet works, that’s who shoulders the blame when it doesn’t work. Dietitian Rachael Hartley, RD, asks:”If dieting doesn’t work for most people, why do we blame the individuals and not the approach?”

Next: So if dieting doesn’t work, then what does?

Instead: Have a good relationship with food

Healthy stir fried vegetables

Worry about eating healthier, not radically altering your eating habits. | iStock.com/Mizina

Many of the anti-diet dietitians interviewed said that they promote eating and creating a healthy relationship with food. This in turn creates good eating habits that are easy to stick to, as opposed to trying to stick to a strict diet and beating yourself up for having a cheat meal. “I help my clients build sustainable habits that aren’t built on restriction, and let their body settle at whatever size it’s supposed to be,” Hartley says.

Next: Something else that the anti-diet crowd promotes

Instead: Embrace your body

Mature woman applying moisturizer to her skin in a mirror

It’s healthier to just love yourself the way you are. | studiokovac/iStock/Getty Images

Experts that promote an anti-diet system of weight loss also promote self-love and embracing your body. This helps to break the stigma that dieting creates connecting thinness and wellness. By promoting positive body images, healthy eating and weight loss is much more obtainable.

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