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The Diet Dilemma. Why Diets Dont Work

Let's face when it comes to overweight and obesity there are 2 basic facts we have to take into account.

First, dieting is a huge industry.

Second, Industries live by getting and keeping customers and not by loosing them.

Sounds sarcastic? Maybe it is, but the fact of the matter is that if you buy a dieting product for a specific time and you do not need it any more after, say, 6 weeks you are a lost costumer. If all customers would do the same the business would cannibalize itself by curing diseases it is living from.

And, because the above fact is a general principle in every business (keep your customers and make them buy constantly) and industry I can think about, huge amount of the players run by the same mind set. Maybe the pharmaceutical and food industry for example?

Was only a question not a statement.

Bottom-line the interest in keeping people healthy, at a healthy weight or help them through dieting to get there and stay there without a need for their products anymore is at best very limited by those who make a living out of selling things like drugs, diet food or even restaurant and fast food chains.

Keep an open mind and raise all kinds of questions before you decide to use any industry dieting product to loose weight. The common experience is that weight loss using certain products without a change in mind set (more on this later) leads to building up weight again after a short period of success.

How many times have you dieted, lost some weight just to get it back - and maybe even more of it - only months after you ended your diet? See what I mean?

Think about it for a moment. Why does our body store more and more fat in their tissue? Maybe because it gets nutrition it can not use up within an appropriate time?

In fact our body is a very efficient system that makes sure all cells get energy and it can survive without getting fed for some time by storing energy in the form of fat. Just in case of a famine.

If we incorporate more food on a constant basis than our body can use up, we store more and more fat in our tissue - transform it into energy and let the cells use it -. This in turn makes us more immobile and puts extra tear and wear on our skeleton, especially the joints.

Worse, after we gained weight our tendency for moving gets weaker and weaker, because moving becomes more and more painful.

Classical vicious cycle. The only way to balance the additional energy and prevent it from becoming stored as fat would be additional movement, that is getting the cells (especially the muscle cells) to work more and to use up more energy. Yet, this doesn't happen. We get more and more propelled into a "don't move" behavior.

There is a second reason for overeating that adds to the issue. Eating feels sooooo gooood. Right?

We all link massive joy and pleasure to eating. Which makes sense as it helps us survive. The problem is, that we link massive pleasure to a nutrition that doesn't keep us healthy.

Now, at some point in time the pain of being fat - even if we only believe it - becomes more evident and we look for a way to reduce our stored energy.

We are ready for a diet. We are ready to take some short term pain for the outlook of long term pleasure.

Now we look for a way to keep the pain at a minimum. The industry answer is often using something that makes us feel we have a full stomach. We buy the wonder drug and start dieting.

Once we done that our body starts thinking, hey, a famine and releases some of the fat to overcome the threat. All the while we consciously fight with the pain of not eating what we like to eat but are still committed to follow through.

At the end of the famine, that is at the end of your dieting you have lost weight. But now your mind and your body are sad of the famine (your body) and the pain it brought (your mind).

You deserve pleasure, so you start eating all the nice stuff you have missed so long and have linked pleasure to. At the same time your body starts to immediately store fat again, just to be prepared for the next famine.

The result is devastating. You gain your weight back quicker than you would have built it up in the first place.

This is the reason why diets usually do not work.

What you need to constantly reduce your weight to a healthy level is threefold.

First you need to switch to a nutrition that is healthy and balanced (and fast food and convenience food does not go into this category).

Second you need to stop starving (dieting) to convince your body there is no more famine to come and it does not have to exploit every piece of energy your fed it.

Third you need to find a way to turn around your beliefs about what is pleasurable and what is painful when it comes to eating.

If you don't turn your beliefs about how pleasurable eating a healthy nutrition is (yes it is really as pleasurable as any other food) and on the other side build up a belief how disgusting the old kind of food is you are not going to succeed.

Turning your beliefs is certainly the most unusual advice you heard. But it is the only way to ensure you will constantly keep your weight at a healthy level.

If you have to fight pain, if you have to fight the feeling of a loss (I can never eat chocolate) you always will link pain to where you are and as soon as the pain level gets to high you will do something against it. This do something is eat the stuff you have linked pleasure to like fast-food, chocolate or whatever.

Once you done this you feel guilty and that is painful. Guess what your reaction will be to overcome that painful guilt? Yes, eat some more as it is the pleasure of the moment that makes you overcome the pain of guilt.

Bottom line. Overweight is not resolved by dieting, overweight is resolved through change in our mind. Dieting without changing what we connect pain and pleasure to has only two effects, it ensures that the producers of diet products have a constant income stream from you and it makes sure you spend money without getting the results you expect.

Do you think it is worth a second thought if I might be right?You can have the weight you want constantly and without any effort. All you have to do is change what you link pain and pleasure to.

How? There are many ways to do this but you need some assistance either through books or, better from a real person that is trained and knowledgeable in this area like NLP practitioners or Ericsonian hypnotists (see my article about hypnosis on that topic).

This article may published freely only in its whole including all appendices.

2005 by Norbert Haag

A complimentary copy of any newsletter or a link to the site where the article is posted is greatly appreciated.

Norbert Haag is a business consultant, entrepreneur and sought after speaker for more than 20 years. His company - Online Business Coach - provides information and services for online businesses, small business owners and freelancers.You can reach Norbert at



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