GUEST BLOG! The Myth of the “Good Diet”

‘The only good diet is a dead diet!’ – Experts Weigh in on Dieting

GUEST BLOG – Rens van der Windt

In the last ten years more than half of the world’s female population has been on a diet and around one third of men have tried to shed the pounds by dieting. People will try just about anything to lose some weight. The Cookie, Subway and Cabbage Soup diet are rightly considered to be nonsense but others have found quite a large following. At the moment the HCG, Paleo and Dukan diet are very popular. But do fad diets really work? Online doctor and pharmacy Chemist Direct consulted five renowned weight loss specialists. Here are their anwers:

First off is professor of psychology at California State University and author of You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life, Ramani Durvasula. She couldn’t be clearer with her opinions on diets, fad or not: “the only good diet is a dead diet. Bottom line: they do not work.”

“There is no good scientific evidence that any ‘plan’ can lead to sustainable weight loss. Any fool can lose weight through starvation – which ultimately is the core of every diet plan: undernourishment and calorie control. They are also the single most consistent predictor of developing an eating disorder. Therefore, my tip is: don’t diet. If you want to lose weight you should tackle it using a three part strategy: Firstly, you need to change the context: don’t keep unhealthy options at easy reach. Clean out your cupboards, car and desk!”

Secondly, Dr. Ramani recommends that you should listen and react to the signals that your body is giving you and start to mute out the nonsense found in a lot of modern diet literature.

“The problem is that most people don’t know how to listen to their bodies. They are too busy measuring out a cup of quinoa to eat at three at night while standing on their heads because a book told them so! Eat mindfully, slow down and learn to stop cleaning your plate once you are full. It’s the mindless calories that make us and keep us overweight.”

She also believes that changing the way you think of your body has much more of an impact than most would expect.

“Exercise is a lousy weight loss tool, but a wonderful wellness tool. Once you start respecting your body more, by moving it and listening to it, you are less likely to put bad stuff in it. Use your body and let it reward you.”

As a structured cognitive behavioral trainer and CEO of SelfHelpWorks, Lou Ryan looks at the root causes of pound-packing eating habits and advises people on how to address the hidden behaviors that begin their binges.


“Diets are not an effective long-term solution because they target the symptoms. For people who feel they need to go on a diet the symptom is the unwanted eating behavior. These people need to start using willpower to defy their subconscious thought process that creates food cravings. Diets may work well for the short term, but they will not be an effective long-term solution unless coupled with an intervention that changes the subconscious thought process”

So, instead of fighting against your brain and struggling with restrictive diets, you should at first confront the psychological triggers that make you want to eat in the first place.

“Someone who loses weight by starving themselves and temporarily resetting their metabolism on the HCG diet will end up gaining it all back (plus more in many cases), because their subconscious thoughts will produce food cravings that drive them back to their old eating habits once their diet ends. The only real way to lose weight for the long term is to break down and replace the subconscious thought patterns that create emotionally-charged food cravings. This process is called structured cognitive behavioral training.”

Now that we have broken down our dependence on fad diets with Ramani Durvasula and Lou Ryan we can argue that dieting isn’t about what we eat but why we eat. But what’s the best way to implement these changes?

Lori Rosenthal is a registered dietitian, certified dialysis nurse, holds a degree in master of science and (surprise, surprise) she doesn’t believe in dieting:

”Diets don’t work because they are often extreme, forcing followers to give up whole food groups and change their habits all at once. Although diets don’t work, healthy dietary and lifestyle changes do. The best way to go about losing weight and keeping it off is to make one or two healthy changes at a time, only adding another once a change has become part of your routine and you enjoy it. If you feel restricted or deprived the change won’t last. Finding foods you like and that are in line with healthy eating is so important. If you are enjoying what you are eating you choose it because you like it, not because you’re on a diet.”

Lori’s advice seems to make sense, much like a smoker will strugle more with going cold turkey than they would with cutting down one cigarette at a time, dieters must make a series of small but significant changes to achieve their ideal behavior.

Our last weight loss expert is dietician Megan Ware. She has her own healthy living and weight loss practice, Nutrition Awareness, in Dallas, Texas. Unsurprisingly, she is not advocating dieting either…

”Do diets really work? In one word: no. Fad diets only work in the short term. They are not for long term weight loss. Anyone can stick to a packaged diet for a few weeks but most people go back to their old eating habits once they get tired of dieting. For instance, if you want to start on the ‘cookie diet,’ you send away for a box of cookies and you’re supposed to eat one for breakfast, one for lunch, then a sensible dinner. Of course you are going to lose weight following that plan when you’re probably taking in less than 1000 calories per day. But who can say that they are going to eat a cookie for two meals a day for the rest of their lives? As soon as you go back to normal eating habits, the weight lost will come back, and it’s very likely that you would gain more because your metabolism has slowed from eating too few calories.

“What I have found to work the best is to meet my clients where they currently are and set either weekly or biweekly goals to move them towards the right direction. We touch base weekly to evaluate whether we can move forward and set new goals, or take a step back and figure out what’s not working. The only true changes that can be made are ones that can be maintained for life.”

So there we have it, four great weight loss tips from four industry experts. Just to recap:

– Listen to your body and eat mindfully. If you are full, you are full. Don’t eat the mindless calories that make us overweight.

– Use your willpower to stop food cravings.
– Make small changes and don’t add additional changes until the ones you made have stuck. Think small gradual changes rather than total lifestyle overhaul.

– And finally, set yourself goals. Use the small targets you want to achieve as your path to weight loss success.

Listen to your body, exercise and stay mentally focused on losing those extra pounds. You’ve heard it from the experts and now it is up to you!





This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 at 10:22 am and is filed under Health and Wellness, Weight Loss, Diet, and Exercise. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “GUEST BLOG! The Myth of the “Good Diet””

  1. Albato Healthy Life

    Our body is our Temple, and we must learn to love it. We are living in the 21st century, where healthy food costs much more than unhealthy food. A healthy living plan consists.

  2. Albato Healthy Life

    Lot of information about weight loss and diet plan. healthy food to eat for breakfast have any like this?

  3. Albato Healthy Life

    You written nice article which for helpful diet plan, weight loss food and why should we eat healthy food… Thanks

  4. drramani

    Thank you for your feedback!

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