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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Why diets don't work

Updated: May 12, 2020

Albert Einstein wrote in his Letters to Solovine in the 1950s that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. Now, I’m not going to debate whether he made it up or not as that makes no difference here but I am going to say that the meaning behind the words, chimes with good old common sense. Why then do people continue to diet if after a month or so of stopping they have put on any weight and perhaps a few pounds more than when they started?

Maslow, a cleaver guy who studied behaviour amongst other things, came up with this hierarchy of needs. If you know it, I apologise but, please bear with me as I dance through the logic. The idea behind this hierarchy is that you work your way up the slope. So the first thing you need is air, then water, then food, shelter, sleep, you get the idea. So psychologically your need for food is tier 1 number 3 so very important in driving your behaviour. Why do you want to lose weight? Well if its health for example that is a whole tier above and then near the end of that. Is it to look good for intimacy? Well that is your need for food competing against love and belonging as you perceive it. Is this where the idea of comfort eating comes from? Common sense would therefore suggest that being human makes the idea of “dieting” doomed to failure.

So what do we do? We live in a world that is addicted to sugar, believes that fat is the enemy and the only way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. Doesn’t look good does it. No wonder we have a global problem with obesity.

We need a sustainable approach to our eating habits, we need to know the facts about nutrition and know what healthy nutrition looks like. Then all we have to do is make good choices. You don’t have to stop eating to lose or maintain body weight you just need to change what you are eating so that you are not, as Einstein wrote, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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