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5 Reasons Dieting Doesn’t Work For You (And What To Do Instead)



If you eat a diet full of decadent desserts, alcohol, and soft drinks plus the portions on your plate are huge and include fried foods you know why you are gaining weight. However, if you regularly eat fruits and vegetables, keep portions low, exercise, and are still gaining weight there may be underlying reasons. Five simple reasons dieting may not work for you include health issues, menopause, stress, lack of sleep, and medications.

Sleep Deprivation

You use diet pills and protein shakes. Still, you are not losing the weight you thought you would. Exercise is good and you follow exercise recommendations. Still not losing weight? Read the labels on diet pills and drinks and you may find that they contain excess amounts of caffeine. This may be causing sleep deprivation.

Studies have shown that when you do not get enough deep sleep your body actually experiences stress and this forces your body to store more fats. When you are tired you do not handle stress well and you unknowingly reach for food as a coping mechanism. Are you up late-night snacking to help you sleep? There are those who think that eating helps get them back to sleep, but it really just adds more calories to daily totals.

Fatigue, low energy levels, and nodding off easily are signs of sleep deprivation. You may also be very irritable and difficult. Weight is not coming off and you are wired at night. More stress piles up since you are not losing weight.

Try and get at least eight hours of sleep per night. If you find that you cannot sleep, definitely don’t reach for the comfort snack and try not to use medications to induce sleep. Instead try meditation techniques, do not exercise at least two hours before bedtime, and throw away the diet pills.

Stress Causes Weight Gain

The more you do the more you need to achieve. Stress moves you and helps you cope at times, but it does affect your moods and emotions. If you have stress responses from juggling too many responsibilities, coping with financial problems, or relationship issues you will find that a biochemical process is triggered. Your body goes into survival mode and begins to store fuel in the form of fat. Metabolism slows down and cortisol and leptin are produced. These stress hormones cause fats to build up in the abdominal area.

No amount of dieting will reduce weight and take off the fat if you are constantly stressed. You may not realize it but stress often causes you to reach for comfort foods that may be full of cholesterol and calories. Stress eaters lose their diet goals and eat high carbohydrate foods to increase serotonin, a calming hormone. Of course, they don’t mentally say, “I am increasing my serotonin.” They just eat because it feels good.


There are many prescription drugs used to treat depression, seizures, migraines, blood pressure, and diabetes that actually cause weight gain. Maybe you only gain one or two pounds per month, and steroids, hormone replacement drugs, and oral contraceptives can cause you to gain up to 10 pounds per month.

Medications can increase appetite and also alter the way fat is stored in your body. Insulin levels change and more weight is gained. Antidepressants may not be the medication that causes weight gain, but it does help you to feel better and you may begin to eat more. There are also medications that cause fluid retention that adds weight. Thank goodness this type of weight gain can be quickly remedied.

Do not stop taking your medications just because of weight gain. Talk to your doctor to have your prescription dosages changed, alter your diet habits, and become active.

Weight Gain and Medical Conditions

Hypothyroidism definitely causes weight gain and no amount of dieting will reduce your weight if you have this problem. Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of the thyroid hormone that controls metabolism. You may experience appetite loss, but you will still gain weight.

Check out your symptoms. If you are lethargic, have undue swelling and a hoarse voice, find that cold is intolerable and you love to sleep have your thyroid checked out. There are easy tests to determine hypothyroidism and medication that can regulate your levels.

Cushing’s syndrome or a disorder brought on by excess production of cortisol will cause weight gain. As with other medical conditions, no amount of dieting will stop weight gain if you are producing too much cortisol.

Menopause and Weight Gain

Women who reach menopause are generally in early to late middle age and are generally less physically energetic than when they were much younger. As you age a natural slackening of metabolism materializes and hormonal changes trigger hunger pangs, sleep problems, and depression.

You see that many factors come into play to cause weight gain. No diet plan in the world can combat depression mixed with low metabolism and hormonal changes. You begin to gain weight in the middle of your body. Estrogen is excited to add fat to your tummy area. When you lose estrogen you take on the characteristics of “menopot.”

Need to lose a couple of pounds to fit into that great outfit for the night? Try one of those quickie fad diets that are guaranteed to take the pounds off. Is this a healthy way to lose weight and diet? Absolutely not; stay away from fad diets.

Use diet pills to take care of excess weight? Is it healthy to use chemicals to control your appetite?

Is there anything that really works?

When you continually diet you produce high levels of cortisol that is the body’s stress hormone. This may provide you with reasons to eat more; even though you are dieting. Heart disease plus cancers and diabetes are increased when you diet. You also have the problem of mental health risks. Dieting has been proved to increase psychological stress.

One very medical reason for weight gain despite dieting programs is the increase in cortisol. This is the hormone that is used to increase energy levels. When you are dieting and not eating enough calories to provide your body with energy the stress hormone is automatically released. Now you have to diet more to keep the cravings at bay and your body may begin to damage itself and shut down.

Chronic stress causes weight gain and which is linked to coronary heart diseases, high blood pressures, and definitely diabetes. Dieting adds to the stress burden with its constant counting of calories, avoiding foods you love, and hitting weight plateaus that cause additional stress. The cycle of weight gain and loss is now born.

Fad Diets

Fad diets restrict food choices and often require special foods, supplements, or pills. The promise of a quick and easy way to lose weight sounds great, but the diet will disappear and you are left with no support. Plus, you gain back the weight you lost and then some.

Fad diets offer at their very best a temporary fix for weight loss. These types of diets are horrible for you since they contain very little nutrition, use unnatural supplements, and will actually cause health problems. After a young lifetime of fad dieting, you may find that in later years you have weak bones, anemia and you are actually gaining weight at a very fast pace.

If you feel you need to go on a quickie diet to lose a few pounds for an important event, consider the health risks that dieting, stopping, and dieting again can do to your body. Repeated losing and gaining weight will definitely lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke plus altered immune functioning.

Exercise to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Healthy weight loss takes patience and perseverance. It also takes a good nutrition plan plus regular exercise. Exercise is often the key factor leading to sustained weight loss. Those who exercise regularly typically have the most weight loss.

The fable about the tortoise and the hare can be applied to dieting and losing weight. The hare zipped off and tried every diet known. The tortoise, which was much slower than the cocky hare, just kept exercising thirty minutes a day, eating healthy and following food charts. He patiently crossed the finish line. The message is to reach your weight loss goals by being persistent and resolve to keep working on your objectives. Stretching and running to reach the finish line using exercises and nutrition that is designed to work fast, will not keep the weight off for long. It has been proven that if you do not start out small and stay with it, you will quit from sheer exhaustion. Pace yourself and be slow but steady.

Losing weight can help you feel great and lose depression. Working out at least thirty minutes a day can actually cure heart disease, diabetes, and stave off arthritis. Try going to the gym a few times a week and use the treadmill and elliptical machines. Talk to friends and join an exercise group.

Mix up your exercise regimes by walking, gardening, biking, working out at the gym, and taking yoga classes. Find something that is both active and enjoyable. Walk your dog or someone else’s dog. This is a great cardiovascular health method, helps you lose weight and the dog also benefits.

Slow and steady take off the weight and keeps it off. Do aerobic/cardiovascular, flexibility or stretching, strength, weight, and resistance training every day, but change it up. The key is to keep going for at least thirty minutes a day. When you think about it, don’t you already do some type of exercise a day. Just change your attitude and be aware of exercising. Do it every day. Think like the tortoise. Win the race.

Diet and Nutrition

There are food planners and healthy eating shopping lists available online and through support groups. You do not always have to count calories. Using food lists will help you cut calories from high numbers to 1600-1900 calories per day for a man; 1500 to 1700 calories per day for a woman. Amazing results will be your reward.

Superfoods are nutritional fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats that help build bones, prevent chronic disease, and keep your mind sharp. Food can help you lose weight and stay slim.

Try a cup of black beans on a weekly basis. Black beans have 15 grams of protein and do not contain saturated fats. Spiced black beans hummus with marinated peaches?

Oats have been touted to be cancer reducing grain. They are rich in fibers and help you feel full throughout the day. This helps you to cut down on snacking and eating too much. Resistant starch helps boost metabolism and burns fat. This is the key to weight loss.

Avocados are yummy as a dip, but they have very healthy monounsaturated fats that trigger your body to stop hunger pangs. This is a great way to lose weight, but don’t eat too many avocados.

Eat salmon. It is a lean choice of protein and is full of omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy living and weight loss. Dieters who eat a MUFA rich diet lost an average of nine pounds, and those who dieted on low-fats gained weight.

Dieting is a billion-dollar industry. There must be something to all the pills, nutritional supplements, and diet drinks, but it has been scientifically proven that the only sure way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat healthily and exercise. You do not have to starve or twist your muscles and bones into odd shapes, just be logical.

Push away from the table when you are full, use a salad plate instead of a diner plate at meals, and exercise at least thirty minutes a day. Walk, ride a bike, or swim. There is nothing better than being satisfied with a great small meal and talking a walk after dinner. Don’t count calories or pounds lost, just look in the mirror and see the results.