The truth the diet and weight loss industry is hiding from you

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If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably tried to lose weight before. 

If you tried to lose weight before you probably tried dieting on your own, or working with a PT. Maybe you even signed up for a 6- or 12-week challenge.

But they all failed, didn’t they?

Rest assured, it’s not your fault that you didn’t lose weight, even if that’s what you’ve been made to believe. 

You see, the diet and weight loss industry has actually been misleading you for years. In fact, they’ve been working very hard to hide a shocking truth from you.

Well, the game’s up! Today, we’re going to expose the ugly truth that they don’t want you to know.

We’re also going to show you why the traditional approach to weight loss doesn’t work and introduce you to an evergreen system — something that will work no matter what is going on in your life. Something you can stick to even on your worst days.

At the end of this blog, you’ll understand why you’ve always struggled to lose weight and why nothing will change if you don’t take a different approach.

What the diet and weight loss industry tell you about how to lose weight

Ask anyone in the diet and weight loss industry about how to lose weight and they’ll tell you two words — 

Calorie deficit.

“All you need to do is create a calorie deficit.” 

“Burn more calories than you consume.”

“Energy out must be more than energy in.”

“Calories in, calories out” (CICO)

“It’s a simple mathematical equation.”

Well, if it was a simple mathematical equation, wouldn’t everyone be able to lose weight and keep it off?

Weight loss is more complicated than creating a calorie deficit. Yet that’s what the diet and weight loss industry tells you to do. And they focus on four key areas:

  • Restrict your food (to reduce the calories you consume)
  • Up your steps (to burn calories)
  • Increase your exercise (to burn even more calories)
  • Develop ‘healthy habits’ (to help you keep the weight off). 

We’re here to show you what they mean and explain why this weight loss strategy only leads to failure.

Restricting food

Every year there is a new fad diet designed to help you restrict food and reduce the calories you consume. If you’ve dieted for a while, you’ve probably done some of them yourself. Here are just a few…

You may have even developed your own program by mixing and matching elements from multiple diets or even signed up to a program that has been marketed as a ‘wellness’ or ‘lifestyle’ program.

However, the truth is that no matter what you call it, if you are restricting food, you’re on a diet. And as we’ve said many times, diets just don’t work.

Check if your weight loss program is a diet by taking our quiz.

Why restricting food doesn’t work

The problem with restricting food (aka dieting) is that it sets you up for binge eating and emotional eating. While the approach looks good on paper (all those calories you’re not eating will surely lead to weight loss), eating less actually leads you to consume more. 

Let us explain.

Restricting food is like a pendulum. The harder it swings one way the harder it swings the other way. That means that the more you restrict food, the more you will binge, and the reason you binge is because you’re hungry! Your body is actually crying out for food. What often happens is that after binge eating, you end up feeling guilty, and then turn to food to soothe your feelings. So the binge escalates into an episode of emotional eating. This is what we mean by eating less leads to consuming more, and we know that consuming excess calories leads to weight gain.

However, most people don’t realise that restricting food leads to binge eating because they only focus on the little amount of food they ate during the day, and try to control their binges instead of addressing the reason why they binge (they restrict food!). This is called a weight loss blind spot and you can read more about it in our blog Well known, little understood weight loss blind spots.

‘Upping your steps’

Another common factor in the diet and weight loss industry formula for losing weight is to ‘up your steps’. How many times have you heard about aiming for 10,000 steps a day? Perhaps you’ve even joined a challenge to get 10,000 steps each day. Well, just like cutting calories, it may sound like it’s the answer to your weight problem. But aiming for 10,000 steps is something that is rooted in diet culture, and has the potential to sabotage your weight loss more than you know.

Why ‘upping your steps’ doesn’t work

Don’t get us wrong. Regular movement is vital for overall health and wellbeing as well as weight loss. Our bodies were designed to move every day and regular walking should be part of your week. However, aiming for 10,000 steps (or any number of steps for that matter) can sabotage you by:

We explain this in more detail in our blog Why 10,000 steps a day challenge is bullshit and what to do instead.

Increasing exercise

Of course, the diet and weight loss industry will also tell you that you have to exercise a lot to lose weight, and the exercise to rely on is cardio. The thinking behind this is to create that calorie deficit and the more you exercise the more calories you burn and the bigger the deficit, right? This explains why ‘weight loss challenges’ focus on intense exercise sessions and daily boot camps, and why many people turn to daily cardio exercise when they decide to try to lose weight.

Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t provide you with the results you crave.

Why increasing your exercise doesn’t work

One of the biggest problems people have when they set out to lose weight is going from no exercise to exercising every day. Many PTs are actually guilty of encouraging their clients who haven’t exercised in years, to exercise on most, if not all days of the week. Of course, this approach increases the risk for injury and therefore being unable to exercise at all.

The other important factor when it comes to exercise is the type of exercise you do. The biggest influence on your metabolism is your muscle mass, and the only way to build muscle mass is to focus on focused intense resistance exercise (FIRE). We explain this fully in our blog “I don’t want to get bulky!”: 8 reasons why muscle is your friend.” 

The truth is exercise isn’t the key to weight loss that most people think it is. In fact, it’s only 3% of the equation, which means 97% of weight loss is due to other factors — your habits. We explain this fully in our blog The truth the fitness industry won’t tell you about exercise.

When it comes to exercise, the best approach is to make resistance training your focus, add in small amounts of cardio exercise, and allow plenty of time to rest and recover to ensure you can remain consistent and keep progressing. You can read more about this in our blog How to exercise for weight loss after 40.

Change your behaviours 

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle that the weight loss industry will give you is to tell you to develop ‘healthy habits’.

“Ah! See, they’re talking about habits,” we hear you say.

Well, yes — and no.

The habits that you’re often told to focus on include drinking more water, getting more sleep, eating more fiber, cutting out processed foods, and reducing stress. While all of these things are good and helpful for healthy living, they are ‘shallow’ habits that won’t help you lose weight and keep it off for the long-term

Why changing your behaviours doesn’t work

The secret to weight loss isn’t about controlling what you do (relying on willpower) but in addressing your deeper habits — why you do what you do. 

You see, the biggest influence on your weight are your deep habits (thoughts, beliefs and identity, fears, and mindset) because these are the things that influence your behaviours over and over again.

For example, if you have trouble getting enough sleep, simply using willpower and focusing on sleep won’t be enough to change this habit. Real change comes in asking yourself why you have trouble getting enough sleep. Is it because you spend too much time at night scrolling through social media or watching TV? Is it because you work long hours? Is it because you’re a people pleaser and don’t prioritise yourself? 

Focusing on changing a behaviour is solving the wrong problem because the reason you engage in a behaviour is driven by your habits. Once you address your habits, the behaviours take care of themselves. We explain this fully in our blog The solution to your bodyweight problem is not in addressing what you do, but why you do it.

The biggest lie of all

By now, you’re probably starting to realise that diets and weight loss programs peddled by the diet and weight loss industry don’t solve anything. In fact, they only create more problems.

But guess what?

The industry already knows this, and they’ve known for quite some time. That’s why they keep reinventing themselves.

A 2017 market analysis1 report stated —

“Many millennials today view Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig as your mother’s (or grandmother’s) weight loss program. This will be the challenge—to stay relevant and cultivate this future generation of dieters.”

The report goes on to say — 

“Millennials are the future dieters. Any weight loss company that continues to focus most of their efforts on Baby Boomers is sure to wither and die.”

This explains why so many diets are renamed and repackaged into more palatable solutions. For example, Weight Watchers has been rebranded “WW” (Weight Watchers reimagined) and now focuses on terms like ‘wellness’, ‘lifestyle’ and ‘healthy living’.

Yet, they’re not the only ones. There are whole movements dedicated to ‘wellness programs’ and ‘healthy lifestyles’, which includes the ‘clean eating’ movement. Around 30 years ago, diets were sold through magazines as meal plans and one-size-fits-all exercise plans. Now they’re sold through fancy apps and clickable online programs that promise to deliver results. However, when you get past the fluff and fancy packaging, they’re nothing more than the dodgy diet solutions that they’ve been selling for decades.

Why do they keep selling products they know won’t work? Because they are the easiest things to package up and sell. 

Currently, the global market for health and weight management is worth $166.3 billion. Over the next 5 years, that’s expected to grow to $259.1 billion.

That’s a lot of dodgy diets to sell, which is why the diet industry keeps telling you that you’re overweight because you eat too much and don’t exercise enough. 

However, being overweight is less to do with your food and exercise and more about your habits. Some of the most common habits that will stop you from losing weight are people-pleasing, not putting yourself first, and lack of self-worth.

So if diets don’t work, what does?

Focus on the deep habits, not willpower

One of the biggest problems with diets is they tell you that you’ll get results if you have enough willpower to stick to them. But this isn’t true. When you rely on willpower to get results you use 90% effort to get 10% results. 

The key to long-term weight loss is to ditch willpower and work on your habits — which are the real reasons you became overweight and unhappy in the first place. Creating a calorie deficit by restricting food and increasing exercise does not address the reason you became overweight. This explains why so many people lose weight on a diet, only to gain it back with interest.

Permanent weight loss is achieved by addressing your habits. Because when you do this, you don’t need a diet or willpower to get results.

We explain this in greater detail in our blogs Willpower versus habits and Running for weight loss: Why it doesn’t work.

How DATSTM Program helps 

The DATSTM Personal Coaching Program is not a diet. Instead, it is grounded in habit and mindset change that will help you lose weight and keep it off for good. There is no food restriction, no excessive exercise, and no need for willpower. 

Instead, we help you identify and address the habits that have led you to become overweight while equipping you with the knowledge, systems, tools, and skills to help you ditch the diets, lose weight for good and get the body, confidence, and lifestyle you want. 

In summary…

  • The diet and weight loss industry tells you that all you need to do to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit.
  • They tell you to create a calorie deficit by restricting food (cutting calories) and increasing your exercise (burning calories).
  • Following a diet and creating a calorie deficit will only backfire on you and cause more problems because diets just don’t work.
  • The diet and weight loss industry knows diets don’t work, which is why they keep re-labeling and repackaging them.
  • Diets rely on willpower which is not sustainable for long-term weight loss.
  • The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to address the habits that have led you to become overweight.
  • Our DATSTM Personal Coaching Program is based on habit and mindset change so you can address the habits that have led you to become overweight and build new habits that will support long-term weight loss.
  • Our DATSTM Program gives you the knowledge, systems, tools, and skills to help you lose weight and keep it off, even on your worst days.

 1. Christy Harrison, How to avoid falling for the wellness diet. 

Want to finally lose weight forever and feel confident?

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