In a world where dieting is becoming increasingly more demonized and fastfood is rampant with screens to keep us sedentary for hours many have found themselves in a strange place. They are unhappy where they are currently with their weight but have only heard the negatives to dieting? So, are all the new rumors true? Not necessarily.
The new anti-diet trend is not completely wrong when saying that diets as they are pushed through commercials and get thin quick scheems more than often will not work. These eating habits typically aren't sustained past that time frame. According to the International Journal Of Obesity, eighty percent of dieters regain their lost weight. BUT do not let this sway you into thinking a diet cannot help you.
As more studies have come out and we are able to access more information because of the internet we know that loosing and gaining weight are a simple calories in, calories out. Meaning that if the amount of calories you burn throughout the day is more than the ones you consume you will loose weight and if you eat more than you burn you will gain weight.
This means that technically you could really eat what ever you wanted and as long as it is below your maintence (the calories you need to maintain your weight) you will loose weight. But because of how calorically dense foods like fastfood are it is much easier to go over that limit. These foods also will not make you want to get up and move but often make you feel lethargic and tired. That is why instead of the typical diet, trying to limit your food intake or eating foods that are not sustainable for your life, you need to make an overall change in your diet.
This means you have to look at your nutrition (See our blog on nutrition and its benefits here: Why Should I Care About Nutrition?). By making healthier food choices, skipping fastfood for more whole foods, you can actually eat your fill without going well over your calories. You will feel less hungry, less cravings, and have more energy. This change in perspective can take you from the 80% of diets that fail, to the 20% that succeed.
You can be on this side by implementing lifestyle changes according to many studies including one by the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." This includes both getting up and moving your body regularly and changing your diet. Not just going on one.
So to answer the question in the title "Do diets really work?" The answer is no. Not in the way your or I think of it. The real answer you are looking for to reach real change is changing the diet habits you have and reaching for better, healthier goals to achieve a healthier life.
If one wants to lose weight and change the way they see their life day to day they need to change the habits they are doing to themselves. They need to make the changes they want to see in themselves. A health-conscious diet is definitely a key factor in overall wellness, but that's just it, it is only a factor. If we can turn it into a lifestyle and allow it to complement daily activity and exercise, we're well on our way to reaching all of our weight-related goals!
Kraschnewski, J., Boan, J., Esposito, J. et al. Long-term weight loss maintenance in the United States. Int J Obes34, 1644–1654 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2010.94