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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why do diets fail?

I was perusing the blogs that I follow and I came across a post from Camille, a physician from Corpus Christi in which she discussed her recent trip to the nutritionist as a part of her pre-op insurance requirements. Here’s a link if you didn’t catch the blog:

Camille was reflecting on why she overeats and there was great discussion from a bunch of people who, like Camille, are not unhappy people who had horrible childhoods that drove them to abuse food as adults.

I posted the following comment:

I think that the common assumption is that people who have weight problems are lazy, not very smart, disorganized and/or have no self-control, but I think most of us know that that is total BS. I really think that it is all the years of dieting that screw us all up. We get wrapped up in this cycle of eating too much and feeling bad about it and then making bad food choices because we are ashamed and then starving ourselves which triggers a binge. If you look at ANY weight loss program, you will see in their fine print that the advertised results ARE NOT TYPICAL. This means that most people do not lose weight and keep it off on Jenny Craig or WW or Adkins or any other commercial program or diet. But the assumption is that WE are the problem and not the diet. I cannot imagine any sane person buying a product that doesn't typically work as advertised.

As I typed it, I felt like it was a blog entry in the making all in itself so I wanted to explore it a bit here.

First of all is the issue of the weight loss results not being typical. Here are a couple of examples:

Easy weight loss that works!
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• Nutritionally balanced & formulated to help
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• FREE membership to community and online tools

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*Results not typical.

Medifast makes no claim that these results are representative of all participants on the Medifast Program.

Weight Watchers
Read about someone like you*
Browse through these selected Success Stories …you may find someone who started out just like you. Find out how people with similar challenges made it to their weight-loss goals.
*Results not typical

I find it kind of bizarre that we as consumers would put up with this for so long. Imagine if you were planning to buy a car and you read the advertisement to see that the vehicle got great gas mileage, had air bags, and offered a smooth ride. You were about to make the purchase when you noticed that the majority of people who’d bought this car DID NOT get the advertised gas mileage, air bags or smooth ride. You probably wouldn’t buy that car and you would be outraged that this kind of advertising is permitted.

But not with diet programs. When they fail, we blame our self. Why is that?
I went on my first diet when I was about 10 or 11 and I have steadily gained weight ever since. I wonder what would have happened if I’d never dieted.
The problem is that I now cannot determine the difference between not being on a diet and eating whatever the H. E. double hockey sticks that I want. When did I lose the ability to listen to my body and know when it was hungry and when it was full? Did I give this power to a diet company that told me what and when and how much to eat, regardless of what my body wanted and needed?

The other issue is that of overweight people lacking something as human beings that allows them to reach this sorry state. For some reason I keep thinking about this old episode of The Brady Bunch where Alice and Mrs. Brady went on diets. Of course Alice (who really wasn’t fat) couldn’t follow the diet. She didn’t have the will-power. And lovely Mrs. Brady (who also wasn’t fat) and who had supposedly birthed three children, had tons of will-power, but ultimately she couldn’t follow the diet either.

I know that overweight people are no less-intelligent, less-organized, less- motivated and possess no less will-power than the average person. I, for one, graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Oregon, own my own business, and have accomplished many professional and personal goals in my life.

I’m not beating my head against a wall anymore. I’ve been overweight for nearly seven years and before that, off and on since I was a kid. I’m tired of letting food and weight issues run my life. I’m finally doing something different, something in which the successful results ARE typical. Because I ran across another interesting bit of information today as I was blogging. It was a study by the original developers of the lap band weight loss surgery. They tracked nearly 2,000 patients for 12 years and the average patient lost 96.14 lbs. after surgery and continued losing weight over the course of the study. Those are the results that we can expect. Yeah!


Camille said...

I totally agree. Those diets and programs (which we have all tried) are insane because inherent in them is failure. We want so badly to be "cured" that we buy and buy. It's one of the largest businesses in the fattest country. Weight Loss. Crazy. I can't wait to join all of you that have had such great results. The bloggers who are complaining are on a plateau after large amounts of weight loss. I can live with occasional plateaus and slower results. Bring it on!!

amandakiska said...

Your original post was really great. Thanks for the inspiration!

Drazil said...

Very insightful and interesting and right on! Good luck to both of you.

Bonnie said...

Great post. I've definitely dieted my weight up to this point.

Girl Bandit said...

I have never noticed that disclaimer on WW...I agree. A very interesting post...thanks

MandaPanda said...

Great post! And you're absolutely right...we wouldn't tolerate it for any other kind of product. I, for one, feel proud to be part of the new trend of trying something that actually works (at least I hope to be..)

Sandy Lee said...

I am with you. I too started dieting at age 10-11 and it has been a yo-yo ever since. Results aren't typical was me in all those diets you listed above. Great post. I also loved Camille's. We are not stupid, lazy or ignorant so I don't know why we are treated that way. This band is gonna do it because it isn't a diet. It will help me change the amount I put in my mouth.

Dirttrackdiva said...

I agree with everyone else. This is a great post. I also like being part of a success program with good results.

Banded 06/16/2009
Lost 54 pounds and 3 sizes*

*Results typical


Tina said...

Hi! Thanks for coming over to my blog. I am doing a little work avoidance technique today..checking the blog instead of grading papers. It is nice to have another fellow Oregonian on my followers list. I work on Corvallis on Monday's so if you want to meet up for a coffee sometime just say the word. I have been at this band game for 1.5 years now and its going well.

I think you are right about the whole dieting cycle thing. My surgeon has confirmed some of it as we have discussed dieting research when I check in with him. I do think that us life-long obesity battlers are even less lazy, more motivated and represent people who do awesome adventuresome things. I sometimes wonder if we don't over compensate in our lives to make up for the failed fat fight.