Have you ever done a diet that worked for a while? And then when it stopped working, you tried another one, which also worked for a while — until it didn’t. So you tried another, and another and another…?
While they all seemed to work for a bit, none of them ended up giving you the solution to your problem, so you wondered if you’d do better by mixing and matching different programs.
For example, follow the exercise plan of diet A; cut out food groups as recommended by diet B, and fast on every second day as recommended by diet C.
While this can be a tempting idea, we’re here to tell you that mixing and matching various weight loss programs is a recipe for disaster.
Why do people mix and match weight loss programs?
One of the main reasons that people mix and match different programs is because they haven’t got the results they were hoping for by following another plan.
Some diets are extremely hard to stick to because there are so many rules to follow, which means that you’re always falling off track. Others focus on depriving you of your favourite foods, so you end up binge eating. Some programs might encourage you to fast, which you find is impossible to follow, while others tell you to engage in excessive exercise as a way to shift the weight. And then there are other weight loss programs that end up costing you a fortune because you’re required to buy expensive diet products and meal replacements.
Because these individual diets are hard to follow, it can be tempting to take the bits that you like from one diet, and combine it with bits that you like from another diet — and create your own version to lose weight.
However, it’s not the specific diet that you’ve been on that’s the problem here. The problem is that any kind of diet — even the ones sold to you by the largest or most successful weight loss company — have been proven not to work as a long-term weight-loss strategy.
And creating your own hybrid version of a diet plan is just asking for trouble.
Why mixing and matching weight loss programs won’t work
Diets of any kind are a real problem when it comes to weight loss. Instead of helping you lose weight, they cost you time, money and your happiness. They also cause more problems than they solve and lead to long-term weight gain. If you don’t believe us, read this article If I knew then what I know now about diets and weight loss. It’s the real story of one of our member who worked so hard at dieting, yet ended up gaining weight and becoming very unhappy.
But if you think mixing and matching diet plans is a better alternative, you’re in for a shock. Here’s why.
The programs aren’t compatible with one another
While no diet provides you with a solution to long-term weight loss, mixing weight loss programs means that you’ll be mixing things that aren’t compatible with one another. For example, say you choose to focus on lots of weight training because you know this helps build muscle which increases your metabolism. (If you’re unsure about the role muscle plays in weight loss, read our blog “I don’t want to get bulky!” : 8 reasons why muscle is your friend”. ) You also decide to do intermittent fasting because you’ve read that it can help you lose weight. You’re sure this combination will be the answer.
However, because you’re not eating enough food, your training sessions will be terrible. You won’t have the energy to train properly, nor will you have the correct nutrition to recover from training after your session, and build the muscle you’re wanting to build. This means that the quality of your next training session will be compromised even further. Because you’re not giving your body the fuel that it needs, you won’t be able to think clearly or focus, which only increases the likelihood of sustaining an injury or burning out. And when that happens, you won’t be able to train or exercise at all.
You’re likely to do too much exercise
While we’re on the subject of exercise, cobbling together your own weight loss program is likely to lead to you doing too much exercise. That’s because the diet industry has led you to believe that increasing your exercise is the best way to lose weight. However, you only have to exercise for 3-4% of your week to get results. To learn more about this, read our blog The truth the fitness industry won’t tell you about exercise.
Not only does doing too much exercise increase the risk of injury and burnout, but it can also lead to increased levels of stress, which is something you want to avoid. That’s because stress actually contributes to weight gain, and makes it very difficult for you to lose weight. To fully understand the impact stress has, read our blog How stress and weight gain are linked.
You increase the chances of binge eating
Most diet plans promote the idea that in order to lose weight, you need to decrease your calorie intake. While this is true, you only need a small calorie deficit to lose weight. Where most people get it wrong, is they create a large calorie deficit thinking that the bigger the deficit, the more weight they’ll lose. However, a large calorie deficit actually has the opposite effect. One reason is it increases your appetite and cravings for certain foods — usually those high in calories, fat and sugar. This leads to binge eating or emotional eating, which means that you end up consuming a lot more calories than you would if you had let yourself enjoy your favourite foods every now and then.
You compromise your metabolism
Not eating enough food also compromises your metabolism, which means that losing weight becomes harder and harder. By the time you come off your diet and go back to your old way of eating, your metabolism is so sluggish that you’ll end up gaining any weight you lost, with interest. This slower metabolism makes your next attempt at weight loss even harder.
You’re likely to compromise your nutrition
For you to lose weight, your body has to function at optimal levels and for this to occur, you need to feed it optimal nutrition. However, following a diet plan — even one you create for yourself — usually ends up compromising your nutrition because you just don’t eat enough, or you cut out certain food groups. This can lead to all sorts of problems including a compromised immune system.
The best approach is to eat a wide range of foods that are rich in colour, texture and flavour. This will ensure that you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. You’ll also never be bored with your meals, which will mean greater consistency with healthy eating and better weight loss results. To find out which foods are the best for weight loss, read our blog The 14 best foods to lose weight.
You’re still following a diet
Mixing and matching weight loss programs and concocting your own version means you’re still following a diet, which we know just won’t work. While the rules of your own program are of your making, they’re still rules which will only lead to weight gain. Be sure to read our blog Why food restriction, food rules and diets are making you overweight, to fully understand why diets actually cause you to gain weight.
You’ll try to be ‘perfect’
The weight loss industry likes you to think that you have to be perfect in order to lose weight. Even if you create your own program, you’ll be very tempted to try to be perfect because what you’re doing is still based on the diet mindset. But perfection is impossible and trying to get everything ‘right’ all the time only leads to stress — which as we’ve seen, causes weight gain.
You’re ignoring your habits
By following another diet, even if it’s a ‘weight loss program’ that you have created yourself, you’re failing to address the habits that have led you to become overweight in the first place. Your habits — thoughts, beliefs and behaviours — are the most powerful influences on your weight. Unless you change your current habits, no amount of dieting or exercising will help you lose weight and keep it off.
To fully understand habits and how they impact your weight, be sure to read our blogs: What is a keystone habit and why do you have to focus on it to get results and Why weight loss is never about food or exercise.
The truth is that to lose weight, no matter what program you follow, you have to deal with your habits. And there is no diet plan anywhere that acknowledges that it’s your habits that need working on.
So if mixing and matching weight loss plans isn’t the answer, and diets don’t give you the results you’re after, what should you do instead?
Stop following diets
Quite simply, you need to stop dieting. That means following prescribed meal plans, ‘wellness programs’, weight loss programs, ready-made meals, or anything else the weight loss and fitness industry will try to sell you. They simply don’t work. They’re nothing more than a quick-fix that will leave you worse off than when you started. You also need to stop creating your own version of a diet, based on all the diets you’ve been on or heard about.
The answer lies in changing your habits because it’s your habits that have led you to where you are now. When you develop habits that support long-term weight loss, you’ll find that you’ll no longer need to diet to lose weight. Hell, you won’t even want to diet anymore!
However, gaining an awareness of the habits that have been holding you back can be difficult, as can changing current habits into new ones. But we can help you with this. You see, we’ve been through the diets as well, working hard to get results but never getting them. We know the pain you’re in now because we’ve been there too.
That’s why we created the Diet Antidote Transformation System (DATS™️) — the Not-diet diet for people who are sick of diets and want more than a good body.
Through our DATSTM Program, we show you that you don’t need to follow rules, diets or meal plans to lose weight and keep it off. DATSTM will give you the knowledge, systems, tools and skills so you can learn how to develop habits that will help you lose weight for good. Through our program we will give you specific, personalised action steps and provide you with the right amount of structure and accountability, to help you get the results you’ve always been looking for.