Diets don’t work.
How often have you heard people say that.
It isn’t technically true though.
Let’s assume the diet is to lose weight (diets can be for other reasons but this is the most common).
If you stay in a calorie deficit then you will lose weight and by definition your diet will have worked.
So what do people mean when they say diets don’t work?
Generally they mean that restrictive diets, that cut out food groups or require very low calorie levels are difficult to sustain for long periods of time. This means that you might well see good results whilst you are sticking to it, but you inevitably won’t be able to stick to it for long and when you stop you will see the weight come back on. This is generally what we mean when we talk about yo-yo dieting, a cycle of losing and regaining weight as we jump on a diet and then stop following it.
A diet in reality though is just a term for what you eat. If you never think about your food intake and eat whatever you fancy, that is still your diet, and if you aren’t bothered about gaining or losing weight then this type of diet works.
So if you decided to modify your habits and food intake in a sensible and manageable way, that felt easy enough and not restrictive. If you accepted that sometimes you would eat more but in general you just started sticking to a few new habits. If you had a calorie target based on your TDEE that kept you in a small calorie deficit, looked at eating more protein, more vegetables, drinking more water, moving just a little bit more. That, is a diet. The difference is, it’s a sustainable diet. You might see slower steadier results but you would find it easier to keep it up, like, forever.
So diets can work, that’s a simple fact.
But for them to be effective long terms they need to suit your lifestyle, they need to work around your life rather than dictating how your live. That allows them to be maintained long term.
What people mean is fad diets or restrictive diets don’t work and we shouldn’t let click bait headlines put us off from following sensible advice to work towards our goals.