Nutrition Weight Loss

5 Tell-Tale Signs A Diet Won’t Work

signs diet won't work

Every few months there seems to be a new diet fad.  This confuses many people, but it’s actually pretty easy to tell if the latest trend will be the one that helps you lose weight and keep it off.  Here’s how: If your new diet involves any of the following, it probably won’t work…

1. Give up a food group.  Many diets require that you eliminate this or that food…and even if it’s just for a short period of time, you can bet that you’ll regain the weight you lost after you start eating that food again.  That on top of the fact that you’ll be ultra-focused on what you can’t have instead of what you can.

2. Lasts a defined period of time.  Healthy eating lasts a lifetime, not any period of time shorter than that.  Unless you’d be happy sustaining a diet forever, better not to start it in the first place.

3. Promises fast results.  A healthy weight loss rate is about 1 lb per week (it takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose each pound, which = cutting 500 calories/day which is pretty significant).  If your diet is promising faster results, it’s may be unsafe, and will almost certainly lead to more weight gain later.

4.  Less than 1200 calories.  Most women should be eating at least 1500 daily calories, even during a weight loss plan.  Eating too little can slow down your metabolism (because your body thinks it’s starving), which can lead to yo-yo dieting and cause long-term damage to your health.  People who lose weight on ultra-restrictive diets usually gain back more weight than they lost.

5.  Claims to “detoxify” or “cleanse” your body.  Words like these are code for “causes diarrhea and rids your body of nutrient stores.”  No, thank you!  You’re better off relying on your innate body systems, which naturally keep your body “clean” on the inside.

Sorry to burst your new-diet-excitement-bubble, but this is just reality.  Weight loss — that you can maintain in the long-term — is a slow process that requires many small changes that add up over time.  If your diet claims to have a solution that’s quicker and easier than that, it’s probably a scam.


  • Sonia
    February 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Amelia,

    I’ve just discovered your blog through skinnytaste and I absolutely love the recipes and the tips!
    I just wondered about the 1200 calories rule -when I’m staying at home studying and sitting all day, I usually get around 800 calories (mostly veggies, fruit, protein and dairy products), and I feel as usual, not hungry or weak. Should I get 1200 calories even if I don’t feel like I need them ?

  • Amelia
    February 10, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    I’m so glad you’re liking the blog, Sonia! As far as how many calories you should be eating, it’s usually better to pay attention to your hunger and how you feel more than numbers of calories. We’re all different, and hunger varies a lot depending on how many calories we burn. If you’re not eating much on a pretty sedentary day that’s probably just fine. Keep listening to your body and you’ll be set 🙂

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