Many people have heard that diets don’t work but have a hard believing it even though they’ve tried and failed many times.  Diets don’t work for all the reasons that I wrote about in my July post called, “It Makes Sense to be Confused About Diets.” Briefly:

  • Diets end because they are based on deprivation
  • Deprivation is unsustainable
  • Willpower fades because it’s an imposition of your determination to restrict your food over a natural desire to eat

An intellectual understanding of why diets don’t work can’t compare with knowing it on an experiential level; not by “failing” at dieting but simply by breathing.

If you’re adventurous, try this 30 second exercise to get a firsthand experience of what happens after you deprive yourself of food. … Ready?

Take a really really deep breath.  (Think of it as bingeing on air.)

Then blow it out… more,



and even more…

until you have not an ounce of breath left.

Now hold your breath for 10 seconds or until you just can’t hold it anymore.

Now… breathe… finally.

Notice what happened? What kind of breath did you take?  If you found yourself taking a really really deep breath in an attempt to replenish what was missing, you just experienced how your body reacts to a diet.

You have to eat just like you have to breathe.  Diets end because they are based on deprivation and deprivation is unsustainable — just like depriving yourself of air is unsustainable.

You can’t hold your breath indefinitely no matter how determined – just like when it comes to food, your willpower fades because it’s an attempt to restrict your food over a natural and perfectly normal desire to eat.

So if diets don’t work and weight loss or maintenance is important, what do you do?  Read “It Makes Sense to be Confused About Diets” (found under “Mindful Eating”) as a start on your journey to learning how to eat in a way that feeds you body and soul.