3 Reasons Diets Have Failed You

I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that you have tried a diet before. I am also going to bet that you have tried multiple diets in your past. I would even go so far as to bet that you lost some weight on these diets. But I will also bet that, #1 you stopped losing weight before you hit your goal, or #2 the weight you lost came back on. I’d like to set the record straight right now…IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Diets have failed you because most fail to address 3 fundamental truths of the human body.

#1 Your body is saving those extra pounds of fat for the upcoming ‘famine’

Your body doesn’t want to lose weight. Plain and simple. Your body especially doesn’t want to lose those last 10 or 15 pounds.

We can thank human evolution for this one. Our ancestors did not have access to the calorically dense foods that are so common in the standard American Diet (SAD) today. Carbohydrates were scarce. The fruits our ancestors consumed were smaller and contained less sugar. Meat wasn’t available every day and not in the large quantities to which we’ve grown accustomed. Because of this scarcity, the human body evolved over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to efficiently store whatever excess calories were available at the time, so that it wouldn’t starve to death when faced with the inevitable famine. Even though in today’s world famine is not a threat for most of us, the human body still prefers to hang onto extra pounds, just in case.

The majority of us have tens of thousands of calories of stored energy in our bodies, mostly in the form of fat. Did you know we have enough stored energy to run multiple marathons without eating? Many of us could go days or even weeks without eating anything.

On most diets you may find it easy to lose weight initially. But when you get to those last 10 pounds or so you hit a plateau. This is the point where evolutionary ‘hoarding’ kicks in. Through dieting, you have reinforced this tendency and showed your body that caloric energy is scarce. And so with 10 pounds left of ‘reserve’, it slows everything down now (you and your metabolism) to save that stored energy for vital bodily processes, leaving you hungry, stressed and tired. Your body doesn’t know any better. It doesn’t yet know that it is ok to tap into that fat reserve. Additionally, if your body is accustomed to being fed a continuous stream of calories and carbohydrates all day long (i.e. 3 meals and 2 snacks) then why would it tap into stored fat when it knows a snack or meal is coming soon?

Answer: To get past this scarcity mindset, we must teach our bodies that it is ok to burn the fat, and to use the fat for energy. We can do this by changing the way we eat.

#2 Diets don’t address the excess cortisol problem.

In addition to protecting us from famine our bodies also store excess fat in response to the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is essential to the human body. It gets us up in the morning and stimulates us to be active. It helps us get things done. However, chronically elevated levels of cortisol may lead to fat gain. That’s because cortisol tells the body it needs glucose for energy which then leads to an increase in blood sugar. If this excess sugar in the blood isn’t immediately used through exercise or activity, insulin is released telling your body to pull that sugar back out and store it as fat. Cortisol along with adrenaline were essential from an evolutionary perspective. These stress hormones helped our ancestors get out of a jam. When faced with danger, for instance being chased by a tiger, these ‘fight or flight’ stress hormones would give the human high levels of energy so that they could either fight off the predator or run away. But in today’s times it’s unusual to be in a real predatory situation. Instead, our tiger of the day is stress, whether it’s stress from fighting traffic, from work pressures, marital problems, arguing with your kids, not sleeping enough, or eating too much sugar or the wrong type of foods. It doesn’t matter where the stress is coming from in the eyes of the body. Our body just thinks we are being chased by a tiger, and we are flooded with cortisol, increasing blood sugar, insulin levels, and ultimately we store more fat.

Answer: To be successful in your weight loss goals, you must first stop counting calories, macros and points, and instead focus on making simple lifestyle changes, including changes to the way you eat, that support calm and relaxation, and reduce stress.

#3 Only 5% of our mental energy is available for decision-making.

The third reason diets fail us is that we simply don’t have the mental capacity to stick with their requirements. Whether they require you to count calories, count points or count macros, they are not something that most of us can keep up with for the rest of our lives. These ‘counting diets’ require measuring and calculations and willpower and decision making all day every day. Our conscious minds are able to process only about 5% of what we do in the course of a day. That means 95% of our behavior is non-conscious, autopilot, routine, or habit. When we ask our brains to follow a restrictive, prescribed diet, make repeated calculations, or log information into an app all day, we quickly use up our finite stores of willpower and mental energy. This leads to a state of overwhelm, giving up because it’s too hard, and eventual failure. We may be able to stick to a diet for weeks or even months but over time most diet programs aren’t sustainable.

Answer: Instead of struggling through diets that rely on the use of your precious mental energy, create new habits that support your goals and reduce the number of decisions that need to be made each day.

The program that I have created, U. BURN, overcomes each of the 3 reasons why diets have failed you. This program is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. By making simple changes to your lifestyle you will:

1. Teach your body to burn fat and even prefer fat for fuel.

2. Increase calm and relaxation and reduce stress.

3. Reduce the number of decisions that need to be made each day.

4. Create new habits that support fat burning all day long, even while asleep.

Once you do these things, you will naturally get to your ideal weight, and you will never have to think about dieting again. You will simplify your life. You will feel better. You will have more energy for the things you love.