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To think that weight-loss diets don't actually work

(106 Posts)
AKMD Mon 21-May-12 19:53:36

SILs and MIL are morbidly obese. They have been on weight loss diets for years, SILs since they were early teens, and are still hugely overweight.

A group of women in a certain department at work are morbidly obese. For the first year I was there I noticed that they always got x + chips from the canteen for lunch, then they all switched to WW ready meals to heat up in the microwave. Three years after the switch they are still morbidly obese.

DH decided to lose weight about 6 months ago and got those stupid milkshake meal replacements. All that happens is that he gets very hungry during the day and overeats when he gets home.

Back in the days when I was into women's magazines I was always hmm when the celebrity being interviewed raved about x latest diet and how great it was, then went on to describe how they did 2 hours of yoga every morning, then went for a run, then worked out with their PT for an hour or so, followed by a massage. Who in the real world has the time or money to do that kind of exercise regime?

AIBU to think that most weight-loss diets don't actually work short-term, none of them work long-term and the only long-term solution for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to eat a balanced diet and do regular exercise?

CoteDAzur Mon 21-May-12 19:55:31

YABU. I lost 10 kgs over two months with diet & exercise (1.5 hours, 3x per week), going down two dress sizes. Three years later, I weigh still about the same and am still the same dress size.

Borntobeamum Mon 21-May-12 19:57:26

I've lost almost 6 stone in 12months months with Weight Watchers.
It works. Obviously.
But only because Im motivated and stuck to it.

ivykaty44 Mon 21-May-12 19:57:31

So is it the diets that doesn't work or the person that is doing the diet doesn't follow it?

AKMD Mon 21-May-12 19:59:35

I think it's a bit of both. If the diet is completely unrealistic, expensive or hard to follow then it's not going to work long-term and that's a failing of the diet.

Interesting to read other people's experiences.

Tee2072 Mon 21-May-12 20:02:19

Weight Watchers has been proven to work for years but you do have to have the motivation to stick to it and exercise.

Just eating one thing, or removing one thing, or what have you is not going to work long term.

You have to teach yourself how to eat. Most people eat too much.

rhondajean Mon 21-May-12 20:32:12

YANBU. Most people do not sustain weight loss from a diet even if they manage to lose it in the first place.

CoteDAzur Mon 21-May-12 20:49:26

Which most people and which diet?

DressDownFriday Mon 21-May-12 20:53:07

Slimming World and Weight Watchers have been on the go for years and must have good success rates otherwise they would have gone out of business years ago.

OutInAllWeathers Mon 21-May-12 20:53:55

YABU the plans generally work well when coupled with willpower and determination. They don't do it all for you! Ive had great success in the past, but am struggling currently mainly because I don't have the motivation right now.

CrunchyFrog Mon 21-May-12 20:54:31

I don't think most diets work, I don't think they're designed to work. The diet industry relies on repeat custom.

I read somewhere that the best way to gain weight is to severely restrict calories for a while, then splurge - exactly the pattern most overweight women follow.

I hate the guilt, the "syn" thing makes me crazy. It's just food.

I've lost 81lb, have another 10lb to go, it's taken me over a year, and I haven't used a diet. I'm using Myfitnesspal now, for the last bit, but mostly it's been about changing my attitude to food.

CoteDAzur Mon 21-May-12 20:55:10

If you lose weight with an irrational diet like Dukan, elimination of a food group (ex: no carbs), or flat out starvation, it is natural that you would gain back any weight you lost over time.

If you lose weight with a rational diet that includes all food groups in the appropriate proportion but aims to reduce overall portions/calories, then chances are you will manage to not only lose weight but keep it off.

chandellina Mon 21-May-12 20:55:26

There isn't a quick fix. The dieter must permanently change their eating habits and take more exercise. Some foods may have to go off the menu forever.

AKMD Mon 21-May-12 20:58:50

Ive had great success in the past, but am struggling currently mainly because I don't have the motivation right now.

That's my point really. If your diet had worked in the past then you shouldn't need to still be 'dieting'. Either you change your lifestyle to become healthier or you yoyo.

bobbledunk Mon 21-May-12 21:04:03

yanbu, fat people are always dieting and as soon as they return to normal eating they gain even more weight than they've lost. Cutting out junk, reducing portions and exercising is all you need to do and you can keep that up forever, it's lifestyle. Gimmicks only work until people get bored of them, they don't change decades of bad habits. Weight Watchers probably isn't too bad, those milkshake diets are horrific.

OutInAllWeathers Mon 21-May-12 21:04:44

Well yes you could say I'm a yoyoer but ive put weight on after each child then lost it again but struggling this last time.
I agree you have to change for the long term but I've never managed to get back to where I want to be as I've got pregnant each time.
Do agree with what you're saying in a way but it's me to blame not the diet plans. If I could stick to it properly I know it could work especially now as I am not planning any more babies! I suppose it depends whether you mean weight watchers for example which I see as something you could stick to long term, however meal replacements IMO are in no way a long term solution.
I hope im making sense!

rhondajean Mon 21-May-12 21:06:00

Cote I can't post links on my iPad but if you google diets don't work about the second or third result is a very informative guardian article from 2007 explaining how research proves most people who diet and do lose weight End up gaining it all back within five years.

Diets don't work - akmd is right - lifestyle change is the only way to sustain long term healthy weight.

rhondajean Mon 21-May-12 21:06:49

Oh and that's regardless of what type of diet.

CrunchyFrog Mon 21-May-12 21:08:35

IMO WW and SW are as bad as any other diet in terms of making you obsess about food. I just don't do that any more. Food has stopped being a reward or whatever, I am no longer compelled to eat (when I was fat, there is no way I would have refused dessert, couldn't have chocolate in the house etc.)

I eat well now, and healthily apart from this week when I have drunk A Lot Of Whiskey but I could not have made that change with the loaded "food as a treat," "reward," "syn" etc

I know they do work for some people, but not the majority.

Wolfiefan Mon 21-May-12 21:12:13

You speak the truth people! If you can't live on the diet then it's not a long term solution. Change your diet (rather than go in one) and exercise. It's simple calories in vs calories out!

eurochick Mon 21-May-12 21:12:19

The only way to lose weight is by creating a calorie deficit. You can do this by eating less, moving more or some combination of the two.

The only way to maintain weight is to consume an amount of calories equal to what your body needs to live plus an activity you do.

It really is that simple. Most diets work on this principle (WW and so on are just branded calorie counting in the form of points and syns). Some are just bonkers, cutting out several food groups, etc. But they are still trying to create a calorie deficit in some weird and wacky way.

Counting calories, learning what your body needs and then eating that to maintain your weight once you have reached your goal is the way to sustainable weightloss.

Kewcumber Mon 21-May-12 21:15:10

There is lots of evidence that weight loss diets (vs small changes in habits) don't work in the long term and in fact do often result in weight gain. Of course they will work for a proportion of people so you will always get a small number of people who will say "well they worked for me"

You also need to differentiate between people who are slightly overweight and have no more than a stone or two to lose and those who are morbidly obese or very overweight.

Generally its possible to stick to a diet for a few months to shed a stone or two but its very very difficult to stick to it for years necessary to shift the amount of weight someone morbidly obese needs to lose. Added to which, the longer you "diet" the more efficient your body gets at hanging on to the calories you eat rather than burning them.

The head of metabolic medicine at Charing Cross hospital one told me that the best advice he gives to people who are slightly underweight is to go on a diet - they almost always end up weighing more in the end! (I think he was joking?!)

AnyoneforTurps Mon 21-May-12 21:17:17

How many calories do you think your DH/MIL & SILs are eating per day? Because I bet it's more than 2500/2000. So they are not actually dieting.

For most people, weight loss is more about diet than exercise. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, but most people won't lose weight through exercise unless they do at least an hour of it per day (does depend a bit on exercise intensity). So YABU to say you can't lose weight because you don't have time to exercise like a celeb. If you watch your food intake, you can control your weight.

raspberrytipple Mon 21-May-12 21:18:36

What euro hick says is spot on. Just eat a healthy diet, no processed garbage, exercise etc and you will lose weight, no matter how hard you try to disprove that theory im sad to say that it WILL work. I stopped reading women's mags a couple of years ago and that definatatly helps, they give such crappy conflicting advice all the time it's no wonder people feel they've failed if they haven't lost 10st in a day

CanISawItOff Mon 21-May-12 21:18:42

I'm a firm believer in eat sensibly and exercise several times a week at a moderate rate (dog walking, gentle cycling, etc) and you'll land at the weight/body shape you're naturally supposed to be.

It's when you tip the balance too far one way or the other that things go a bit squiffy.

YANBU though because fad diets are crap.

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