7 Reasons Diets Don’t Create Healthy Eating Habits

So, you’ve decided to embark on a diet. You’re pumped, motivated, and ready to shed those extra KG’s. But hold up a sec! Before you dive headfirst into the latest fad diet craze, let’s talk about why diets might not be the best route to achieving those long-term healthy eating habits you’re after. Here are seven reasons why diets often fall short:

1. Diets are Far Too Restrictive

Seriously, have you seen some of these diets? They make you swear off entire food groups faster than you can say “carbs are evil.” Research shows that 80-90% of diets fail long-term. So why put yourself through the pain of deprivation and restriction when the odds are stacked against you? It’s like trying to swim upstream while carrying a boulder – exhausting and totally unsustainable.

2. They Mess Up Your Relationship with Food

Ever notice how the moment you tell yourself you can’t have something, it’s all you can think about? Diets turn innocent foods into forbidden fruits, leading to a twisted love-hate relationship with your favourite foods. Focusing too much on categorising foods as “good” or “bad” places excessive pressure on you, turning eating into a source of anxiety rather than enjoyment. 

3. Quick Fixes Lead to Quick Regains

Ever found yourself stuck in the diet cycle? You start off strong, shedding a few kgs, feeling on top of the world. But then your body starts to feel deprived and it slows down your metabolism. Suddenly, all you can think about is food. Eventually, you break “the rules”, and guilt and disappointment follow suit. Before you know it, you’re back to where you started, or even with a couple of kilos extra. 

This weight cycling (losing weight, gaining it back, and then some) isn’t just frustrating; it’s harmful. It can mess with your physical health and mental wellbeing. Healthy eating is a marathon, not a sprint.

4. They Ignore Hunger Cues

Diets often come with a strict set of rules dictating when and what you can eat. But what happens when your stomach starts growling outside of designated meal times? Do you ignore it and soldier on with your diet plan, or do you cave and raid the pantry like a hungry bear? Ignoring your body’s hunger cues is a recipe for disaster.

5. Diets Don’t Teach You How to Eat Mindfully

Healthy eating isn’t just about what you put on your plate; it’s about how you approach food in general. Diets rarely emphasise mindful eating – you know, actually paying attention to what you’re eating, savouring each bite, and stopping when you’re satisfied. Instead, it’s all about sticking to a predetermined meal plan, no questions asked. The most important thing here is to start off by cooking a meal you actually enjoy.

6. They Focus on Weight Loss, Not Health

Sure, losing weight might be your primary goal when starting a diet, but what about your overall health? Diets often prioritise shedding pounds over nourishing your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. It’s like trying to win a race with a flat tire – you might make some progress, but you’re not going to get very far in the long run.

7. Diets Can Mess with Your Mental Health

Ever feel like your entire self-worth is tied to the number on the scale? Yeah, diets have a funny way of messing with your head like that. The diet industry uses this insecurity to make money – not cool at all. Constantly obsessing over calories, food and inches can take a serious toll on your mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and a whole lot of unnecessary stress. 

So, what’s the alternative to diets? 

Glad you asked! It’s called intuitive eating – listening to your body, honouring your hunger, and making food choices that nourish both your body and soul.

  1. Don’t skip meals
  2. Make meals you actually enjoy
  3. Fill these meals up with protein (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, nuts), fibre (bread, pasta, grains, veggies, fruit) and healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado).
  4. Make a conscious effort to notice the flavours and enjoy the taste.

Instead of following a rigid meal plan, why not try experimenting with nutritious and delicious recipes that make healthy eating a breeze? Check out these recipes to get started on your journey to true food freedom (trust us, your taste buds – and bod – will thank you!):

Berry Crumble

Peanut Butter Overnight Weetbix

Chicken Fried Rice

English Muffin Pizza

Chicken Pot Pie

Baked Ziti (Pasta Bake)

One Tray Nachos

Chicken Tacos

In conclusion, diets might promise quick fixes and instant results, but when it comes to creating lasting healthy eating habits, they often miss the mark. So, ditch the diet mentality, embrace intuitive eating, and remember – life’s too short to deprive yourself of the foods you love. Eat the cake, savour the moment, and enjoy every delicious bite along the way!

Live Life Get Active is building a fitter, healthier and happier Australia and we want people to have fun along the way. With the help of Local Government and Corporate Australia we provide FREE health, fitness and nutritional education both online and in the parks, suburbs and cities of Australia.