New Year. Failed Diets

With the new year comes New Years resolutions. One of the top 3 resolutions…weight loss. Why is it that so many people inevitably give up within two weeks and fail? Why do the excuses ensue?

In an effort to get a better grasp on weight loss and dieting programs,  it should be our first priority to find the underlying reason a person NEEDS to diet and to understand the importance of creating long term change through behavior modifications for the success of a diet to work.

The first issue we need to discuss is covering the necessity that dieting involves creating a behavior modification. The New Years resolution trend is that back and forth dieting seems to stem from not being able to either fully commit to a program and sustain it or that goals are not being readdressed after they’ve been met. The American College of Sports Medicines position on weight loss is that “weight loss programs target changing both eating and exercise behaviors, as sustained changes in both behaviors have been shown to result in significant long-term weight loss” (ACSM Weight Loss). Safe and effective weight loss and long-term weight management requires adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes knowledge of nutrition and exercise. From a mental standpoint, staying motivated is important and can be maintained by reminding yourself of your motives (strong self-talk is a great tool ) Better health, increased energy, higher self-esteem, and other personal reasons all will increase the chances of healthy weight loss turning into a lifelong commitment to weight management.

Obviously there are serious medical benefits of fat loss like reducing your risks to future diseases or conditions stated later. Now while BMI isn’t the gold standard to evaluating body composition, it is a pretty decent indicator. A higher BMI will correlate with obesity. Obesity has some serious side effects that are not just your personal appearance. Here is a basic calculator you can use, but please do not get hung up on the results. Bodybuilders, athletes, and most people will be “obese”. The calculator does not take into account your lean muscle mass vs. fat mass

  • Obesity has been related to back and joint pain.
  • Obesity can significantly contribute to symptoms associated with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis (Siveri & Spinasanta).

These conditions happen because your body is designed to hold and distribute weight appropriately, when excess weight is added the spine therefore is forced to allocate the weight to areas and this leads to structural damage. This mostly occurs in the lower back, also known as the lumbar spine. Also, excess weight will cause the facet joint of the spine to encounter unnatural pressure and stress and this can cause osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. While the spine suffers, other parts of the body can suffer as well due to the excess weight distribution. The knees, ankles, and hips all will have to adjust and can encounter similar issues as the lumbar spine.

Here is something that bothers me and a point that I constantly preach…Why are people so concerned about weight? Don’t worry about answering, just ponder that for a second. Done? Well the answer is because it’s thrown in your face everywhere. Magazines, television, movies, Victoria Secret models, diet and workout fads. Here’s the thing, YOUR WEIGHT DOES NOT MATTER!! Crazy idea huh. Fat is what truly matters. When it comes to your appearance, losing your body fat and replacing that with lean muscle mass will have rapid results on your overall figure and how your clothes fit. Let’s take this photo for an example of what 5 pound of fat vs. 5 pound of muscle looks like. Therefore, you could weigh the same amount, but look completely different. The scale does not tell the whole truth!


I like to tell a little joke and it usually gives the person the little “light-bulb turned on” affect. When the topic of weight loss comes up I tell women “why don’t you just cut your hair, I bet that will drop your weight about 5 pounds”. They laugh, I smile, but ultimately they get the idea. Weight is a number on a scale, it’s a devilish thing that makes people go to extremes to change and sometimes it can have drastic consequences.

The combination of a strong diet program that leads to an overall behavioral change for long term fat (or weight if your hung up on that) management in conjunction with proper exercise and physical activity, will help deter future fat / weight gain and should lead to obtaining an idea fat / weight for a persons frame and age. It takes time, effort, sacrifices, and commitment to achieve results that are both healthy and fulfilling.

Please be sure as always to comment below with your thoughts or questions.


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