Wait, what? Think about the number of fad diets that work long-term. Are carbs the enemy? Not really. Gluten-free? Most don’t have celiac disease. Just change gluten-free to Little Debbie-free. You’re avoiding processed crap.

Damn, you mean if I eat vegetables in place of the box of Oatmeal Pies I will feel better? My numerous experiments confirm this…

How about throwing down like a caveman? Considering the nutrient profiles of foods today and way back then, it’s just sly marketing. In reality, you’ve discovered the part of the food pyramid that lists something other than pizza.

do diets work

According to researcher Traci Mann, all diets are designed to fail. Give it to us straight Traci. Don’t hold back.

A University of Minnesota psychologist and professor, Mann sat down with the Washington Post to explain why diets fail. It’s the biological changes unleashed by the latest, crazy ass juice cleanse.

Mann, who has studied the eating habits of people for decades, said diets are designed to provide a short-term benefit. Most do not have the structure to help people keep the weight off long-term.

“For practically any diet…in that first 6 to 12 months, people can lose about 10% of their starting weight. So a 200 pound person will lose about 20 pounds in the short run. But the short run isn’t the whole story. Everyone acts like the short run is the whole story, and that anything that happens later is the dieter’s fault and not really part of the diet. People act like the only part that is the diet’s fault is the beginning bit. The long-term part, people always say that’s not the diet, that’s the person. And yet, it’s clear that that’s not true. It’s over the long term that you see all these biological changes take control.”

What are the biological changes?

1 – Adjusting to food. “Your brain becomes overly responsive to food, and especially to tasty looking food,” says Mann, “so the thing you’re trying to resist becomes harder to resist.”

2 – Your metabolism stomps on the brakes. This leaves more of what you eat to get stored as fat. Your metabolism slowing down would be a good thing if the SHTF, but on a diet? “It isn’t a good thing if you’re trying to lose weight.” Mann adds, “when your body finds a way to run itself on fewer calories there tends to be more leftover, and those get stored as fat, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen.”

Don’t worry. It’s not all doom and gloom. You just have to focus on other areas beyond diet. You know, physical activity. It’s called ‘behavior modification.’

Diet Remarketed as Behavior Modification

First thing? The term behavior modification freaks people out. I’m envisioning someone with a taser after me just because I wanted a damn cookie. At least Paleo sounds badass. Science is going to need a branding team to fix behavior modification.

The term focuses on how much you exercise when you eat and whether or not your friends and family support your goals. I know CrossFit people never shut up, but they have the support system down.

It’s all about a lifestyle. Paleo has it. Crossfit has it. Are they the best? Maybe for you. What’s not likely to work? Eating carrots and staying a couch potato. Eventually, you start to stare longingly at the cake.

Eat to live. Move to eat. Better support system. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your path to healthier living.

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