Do Diets Cause Rebound?

by Neil Anderson

Diets don’t deserve as much credit as we give them for our successes.  

I am lucky enough to be in one of those enviable positions in life where I regularly get to see people make astounding, life transforming changes to their health.  These changes have transfer.  They transfer to all other aspects of their lives.  When someone is going through these positive, healthy changes they can see and experience the far reaching effect of their own efforts.  It’s exciting.  

Sometimes in this excitement, humility prevents a person from taking full credit for such an outstanding accomplishment.  When asked how they did it (lost weight, got healthier) most will simply give credit to the diet they are on.  Deserved?  Well, let’s do the math.  YOU were the one who overcame your addiction to the bad stuff you were eating.  YOU got the headaches, the hunger pain, the fatigue.  YOU were the one who reorganized your life to get away from the poor health habits you once had.  YOU were also the one who did the hard things like learning to eat right and exercise.  None of these were small things.  They all took supreme effort and perseverance.  The common denominator?  YOU!

By contrast, diets don’t deserve as much blame as we give them for our failures either.  

Over the years I have noticed that those who become healthy and have success with weight loss tend not to take the blame for it when they revert to a portion, or all of their previous life style choices and gain the weight back.  I have often heard them complain, “I think it was that diet I was on.  I mean, I can’t be expected to eat like that forever can I?”  

The answer to this question is, “As opposed to what?”  Perhaps you thought your dieting efforts were someday going to end and you’d be fine going back to what made you unhealthy in the first place?  

I have NEVER been in a conversation with someone who was gaining weight who had a perfectly balanced, nutritious and portion controlled eating plan.  NEVER.  How do I know?  They tell me.  Usually, when someone complains about weight gain I’ll begin looking for holes in their programming by asking a lot of very detailed questions about their diet and exercise.  It is what trainers do.   

“What did you eat for breakfast?  What did you have for lunch? What did you have for dinner? What did you have in between?”  These are the most common questions.  They are very telling, and sometimes we find problems with someone's diet in these alone.  If not, I have more.  

“What was in that casserole?  What time did you eat it? What was the ratio of fat, CHO and Pro?  What were the portions?  Did you weigh it?”    

Those who don’t have detailed answers to these questions are not on a proper nutrition program for weight loss (diet).  They are guessing.  Some are lucky.  They guess well and will lose weight anyway.  Most of us aren’t that lucky.

The thing is, if you are guessing - YOU are the one not doing the hard stuff.  YOU are the one not overcoming addiction.  YOU are the one not getting the headaches, the hunger pains, the fatigue.  And if you are gaining weight back - YOU are the one who refuses to organize your life, eating, and exercise in a way that will facilitate the changes you seek.  Not judging you here.  Just making the point.  

The common denominator?  _ _ _ (please fill in the blanks)

Good people are usually quick to give credit where credit is due.  This is honorable.  And while SURLY there are exceptions to every rule.  And SURELY there are those who have medical conditions which prevent them from finding success (so far) despite a valiant effort on their part.  It is my opinion that IN MOST CASES your diet and exercise programs are secondary to the real influence of your failures, or successes.