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Why Diets Such as Jenny Craig, WW, and Nutrisystem Don't Work

The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that promises easy weight loss and long-term success. However, the reality is that diets don’t mean what they used to, and weight loss is not easy. Big name programs such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and others often fail to provide lasting results. In this blog post, we will explore the history of the term "diet.", why diets don’t work and why eating a wholesome and balanced diet can give more sustainable results.

The History of Diets

The term "diet" originated from the Greek word "diaita," which means "a way of life." It referred to a lifestyle that included food, exercise, and daily habits. However, over time, the meaning of the word has changed. So how did we get to where we are today? Now, the word “diet” is associated with restrictions, deprivation, and short-term goals.

Diets since the beginning

During World War I, food shortages and scarcity led to the development of calorie-controlled diets for people around the world. From there, the modern concept of dieting began in the early 1900s when the idea of calorie counting was introduced.

In the 1920s, the Hollywood diet, also known as the grapefruit diet, gained popularity. It promised weight loss by eating only grapefruit and a few other foods. In the 1950s diets progressed to the rise of the low-fat diet, which advocated for the consumption of low-fat foods.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the focus shifted to low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet. These diets limited carbohydrates and encouraged the consumption of high-fat foods. From there, the 1980s saw the rise of the low-calorie diet, which limited calorie intake to promote weight loss. This diet was popularized by companies such as Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig.

What they don't tell you about diets

While these diets may seem different, they all have one thing in common: they rely on restriction and deprivation. A lot of diets focus on eliminating certain foods or food groups completely. While in some circumstances this makes sense, if we’re talking about food sensitivities or allergies, removing them from your diet is beneficial. However, from the perspective of losing weight to look a certain way, these diets can lead to feelings of hunger, irritability, and fatigue. Additionally, these diets often require people to track every bite they eat, which can be time-consuming and stressful.

These diets don’t teach sustainable tools on how to eat a healthy and balanced diet, or what is sufficient portion control. They may promote short-term weight loss, but they do not address the underlying issues that contribute to weight gain, such as emotional eating, poor sleep, and lack of exercise. Once people stop following the diet or consuming the specific meals provided by the weight loss company, they are likely to return to their old habits and regain the weight they lost. This back and forth of feeling like you’ve failed your diet can cause a negative spiral for many people. Nowadays the idea of going on a diet comes with negative feelings and punishment for any kind of mistake you make while on the diet.

Diets such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and others don’t provide long-term results because they rely on restriction and don’t teach people how to eat in a healthy and sustainable way. To achieve long-term weight loss and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to focus on making small, sustainable changes to your daily habits. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.

A more sustainable approach to diets

Choosing to make healthier food choices is a better long-term solution for several reasons. First, it allows for flexibility and personalization. Unlike programs such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, making healthy food choices does not require adhering to strict guidelines or following a prescribed meal plan. Instead, individuals can choose foods that fit their personal taste preferences and dietary needs, which promotes adherence and sustainability.

Second, making small and sustainable changes such as eating healthier food choices promotes a better relationship with food. Programs like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers may lead to feelings of guilt or shame when individuals stray from the program's guidelines. However, choosing to make healthier food choices focuses on nourishing the body rather than depriving it. This approach fosters a more positive relationship with food, which can lead to greater overall well-being.

It is important to note that everyone's weight loss journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If you are struggling with weight loss, it’s helpful to seek guidance from a registered dietitian or a healthcare provider. They can help you develop a personalized plan that works for your individual needs and goals.

Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, we should aim to improve our overall health and well-being. This can be achieved by making small changes to our daily habits, such as choosing nutrient-dense foods, engaging in regular physical activity, practicing stress management techniques, and getting enough sleep.

Key takeaway about diets and long-term results

In summary, the history of the term "diet" has evolved over time and has a huge impact on the way we view weight loss now. However, the focus on quick fixes and fad diets has led to a cycle of weight loss and regain for many people. To break this cycle, it is important to shift our mindset from short-term goals to long-term lifestyle changes.

Diets such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and others don’t provide long-term results because they rely on restriction and deprivation, do not teach people how to eat in a healthy and sustainable way, and are not tailored to individual needs. Instead of focusing on quick fixes, we should aim to make small, sustainable changes to our daily habits that promote overall health and well-being. 

By adopting a holistic approach to health and wellness, we can achieve long-term weight loss and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to recognize that weight loss is not a linear process. There will be ups and downs, and it is important to be patient and kind to ourselves along the way. By adopting a holistic approach to health and wellness, we can achieve lasting results and improve our quality of life.

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