8 Reasons Why Dieting Doesn’t Work

by Ahmed Zayed, MD on May 15, 2019
Last updated on May 23, 2021

Dieting – such a small word, and yet it is able to cause such dissatisfaction in one’s life. Losing weight and feeling better about yourself is not a hard thing to do, but it should not be only temporary as well. And diets might offer an easy way out, but they also offer many additional things, some of which are not friends to your health and wellbeing.

woman sitting leaning forehead on knees

In the following article we took the time to list some of the biggest reasons why dieting is a bad idea, but also, to give you some idea as to what you are supposed to look for in any future diet plans that will guarantee a healthy and effective weight loss while also working to promote a creation of healthy habits.

Why are diets a bad idea?

The temporary nature of diets

Diet plans are only temporary food plans that most commonly involve a serious calorie deficit, elimination of important nutrients, and excessive workouts in the gym. Even though some of the most effective diet plans help you achieve the wanted results in terms of losing those extra body pounds, most of them also lead to the unwanted yo-yo effect in the next 1-5 years. We will speak of the yo-yo effect in a little bit.

But first, let yourself soak in the idea of diets being only temporary. This should not come as a surprise, thinking of how most diets do not teach you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. You will not continue losing weight after you complete a certain diet, because you have not learned how to eat healthily, you have just learned how to lose weight in that period of time, by any mean.

The disappointing yo-yo effect

The yo-yo effect occurs after a weight loss period when the individual actually gains the lost weight once again, and even a bit more weight than previously. It has been estimated that around 60% of the individuals have gained more weight than they actually lost through the dieting process (1). The yo-yo effects occur because of the fact that, as we mentioned before, diet plans are only temporary. Most of them do not encourage you to take on a healthier lifestyle; instead, they only share tips and tricks on how to lose unwanted weight as fast as possible.

Even if that would involve feeling hungry most of the time. By following a certain diet, you are exposing yourself to the great risk of gaining all of that weight and even a bunch more, thanks to the disappointing yo-yo effect.

Dieting can slow down your metabolism

One unwanted effect of dieting is slow metabolism. Your metabolism rate is determining the number of calories that will be burned on a daily level. Thanks to a speedy metabolism, your body is burning more calories, and you are losing weight and maintaining health.

On the contrary, what these diet plans can cause is to slow down your metabolism which would actually make it even harder to lose weight (2). That happens because of the frequent starvation that you put yourself through as a result of the dieting. Your body will do everything that it is in its power to maintain what calories and store as much fat as possible in order to survive.

Dieting increases the risk of emotional eating

It has been scientifically proven that diet plans that require serious calorie deficits in order for them to work are linked to a high risk of emotional eating, or binge eating behavior (3). This is quite a serious eating disorder that causes you to eat your feelings away.

Binge eating behavior especially occurs in moments during which your body and mind are under a lot of stress. And here is a major coincidence – low-calorie diets have been proven to increase the levels of the stress hormone – cortisol, in the body, which will only provoke the binge eating behavior (4). And the result – you will end up eating a lot of empty calories and feel major dissatisfaction and guilt because of it.

Diets bring you closer to nutrient deficiency and their complications

A lot of diet plans have the habit of eliminating certain nutrients – such as vitamin, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, fibers, in order to achieve the weight loss goal. But what you are not aware that it can happen in the middle of all that, is your body struggling with the nutrient deficit.

A lot of things can happen as a result of a certain nutrient deficit in the body. For starters, you can actually gain weight, struggle with insomnia, lose muscle mass, increase your risk of numerous health issues, and many other side-effects. The elimination of certain nutrients will not do you any good, and you should stay away from any diet plans that tell you otherwise. There are better ways that you can use of losing weight, and that will not expose you to any health risk in the meantime.

A new outlook to food

When you are continuously keeping yourself away from the opportunity to taste and enjoy the food that you like, even the foods that you do not usually like to eat, your body turns to survival mood. The calorie deficit causes certain hormones to be produced in the body, hormones which are bound to make you eat with the sole goal of surviving (5). These hormones are known even to improve the taste of the food that you are eating.

So perhaps you are not a fan of eating apples. Well, when you have gone through quite a few diet plans over and over again, even apples will start tasting different and better than you remember. And you will probably end up eating a bunch of them, and your body will get what it needs from them. A lot of the times, this can end up with eating too many empty calories or even overeating and feeling sick to your stomach.

Diets eliminate your pleasure for eating

Just as easy as diet plans can cause emotional eating, they have also been suggested to take out all the pleasure from eating literally. Going through diet after diet, dissatisfaction and disappointment can take the fun and pleasure that food, even your favorite food choices are known to give you. You should never become a slave to food or dieting and eat just because your body needs food to survive. Unfortunately, this is quite a common case among people who have been through their fair share of diets.

The existence of certain body images for women that are achieved with diets

Despite the fact that in the past, the most appreciated women were those whose bodies were not all bones and skin and were more towards a healthy weight, and even a bit overweight, today, popular opinions tell us otherwise. Nowadays, the famous magazines tell women that they need to change their bodies in order to get men, and generally people, to like them.

So what do the women do? They turn to ridiculous diet plans with the hope of losing weight in order to look better. But diet plans should not be about looking better, just because you decided to follow a certain option. You should want to improve your lifestyle in order to feel happy and healthy because you have decided to, not because someone has told you.

What to do next?

For starters, you should start working on believing that you do not need a diet to feel good. Although body image is important to every human being, it is more important to feel good and be healthy inside out, rather than outside. You should learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle that will help you become a healthier, happier version of yourself. And the improved body image will just be a plus.

Stop being a slave to diet plans. Weight loss should not be a goal, and it should be a wonderful outcome of your changed lifestyle. There is no point in lying – your extra body weight is a result of too little physical activity and an unhealthy diet. Once that you improve those factors, in order to improve your health first and most important of all, you will succeed to lose weight as a great outcome of the latest events.

Let yourself learn how great regular physical activity is. Nowadays, there are literally millions of different options that allow you to be physically active on a daily basis. If you are not a fan of running or cycling, perhaps you will like the occasional spin class or yoga. Perhaps boxing or hiking is what you have been looking for your whole life.

The options are endless, and you just have to be motivated enough and take the time to find the physical activity that will soothe your needs. Physical activity is great for maintaining a healthy body in addition to losing weight.

And last but not least important – practice mindfulness. Take the time to reconsider your actions and the choices that you make, and how are these choices affecting your life and health. Take the time to eat your meals and finish your workouts, where that is your only thought on your mind. Clear your mind from any worries and let yourself taste the food that you are eating and sweat hard during those workouts.

How to find diets that really work?

Okay, let’s make something clear – we are not saying that every single diet plan on the face of the Earth does not work. We are simply saying that diet plans that make you go through awful periods of starvation, implying ridiculous calorie deficits, and excruciating hours in the gym, do not do anyone any good. But how to choose a diet that will deliver promising results and help you maintain healthy and happy at the same time? Here are some tips!

  • Always seek for diet plans that teach you that feeling hungry is not equal to a step closer to weight loss. Diet plans that satisfy your daily calorie intake by offering a way to include all food groups in your meals on a daily basis are the diet plans that will offer the best results in terms of improving your health, your body image, and achieving weight loss.
  • An efficient diet plan should offer food options for all five meals instead of telling you that you should eat only once a day (6).
  • Promising diet plans will combine healthy food options and regular workouts with the goal of making you feel better about yourself (7).
  • You should only look for diet plans that make it their primary goal to teach you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle so that you would learn the secrets of maintaining a healthy, good looking body through healthy habits, instead of temporary changes in your diet and physical activity. Diet plans that make you fall in love with healthy food options, regular sleep, and being physically active on a daily level are the diet plans that you should choose.


In conclusion, following a diet after a diet is not something that anyone should be doing. Unfortunately, that is what most of us are doing, and sadly, most of the times, that is what causing emotional eating, a bad body image, low self-confidence, and many health risks to develop.

Listen to our advice and seek a diet plan that is here to serve you, and you will achieve not only weight loss, but also a quality of life, physical and mental health.


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