Fade and Fail: Why Dieting Doesn't Work

Fade and Fail: Why Dieting Doesn't Work

Our mind is baffling and confusing in the way it processes information from our experiences and actions. When we're trying to reach a certain goal, our past actions can play a major role in determining whether we fail or succeed.

Stay with me, this is deep!

I have clients that have been so emotionally beaten up, they have lost all faith in their ability to lose weight or overcome their health issues. They have failed so many times, they've lost all hope for success. Most of the time, this emotional beating is self-inflicted. I say, it's time we stop bullying ourselves!

Let's look at the effect of dieting programs and the restrictions they place on your lifestyle.

Have you heard of the Fade and Fail Theory? Probably not, because I just coined it! It's what happens because of the destructive power of deprivation.

When dieters become dedicated to a strict routine, food, exercise, etc., they become wrapped up in their lifestyle and don't allow for a break. Normally, these new routines are way outside of their previous routines, and suddenly, they're being entirely deprived of what was once an enjoyment in their life. Eventually, they begin to fade into the routine; they begin losing their zest. Suddenly they find themselves secretly eating a chocolate chip cookie or a piece of their favorite pie. They quietly beat themselves up for failing and commit to never cheating again.

Next week, it happens again, and in a few more days, again. Now, they sense failure coming. While indulging in the forbidden, they have a great sense of relief. They begin to feel anger for cheating and then the self-bashing begins. "I am a failure. I can't do this. I have no will power." That fade leads to outright failure because, after fading 2 or 3 times, they are out of the game and feeling ashamed and beaten.

Next year, yes, they may try it again, but with the same results. I practiced the art of fade and fail for years, eventually gaining 220 pounds because of it.

Yes, I advocate cheating. But let's call it treating, instead, in dietary delights from time to time or taking a break for a day from your exercise routine! There needs to be room for spontaneity in life. Living within the confines of a strict diet is boring, limiting and not good for us emotionally. And that occasional piece of pie is very emotionally fulfilling - it can be the pressure relief valve of life! We can enjoy these treats with a friend or family or just savor it by our selves on the back porch with a mug of hot chocolate or tea. It nourishes us emotionally and we need that sometimes. It also has enormous power to help us stay on the path toward wellness.

This is not an endorsement to go crazy on junk food. Think about the 80/20 rule - healthy eating 80% of the time and an occassional treat every once in a while. When you feel the urge to have an unhealthy snack, have it and be smart about how much of it you eat. Then, the next time you eat, have a healthy snack or meal. This eliminates the powerful destruction of deprivation in your diet and lifestyle.

Let's be clear: all approaches to weight loss can work for some people, some people temporarily, and not at all for others. Weight loss is about burning more calories than you take in. Anyone can diet and lose weight for a while. You can lose weight in a wide variety of ways, but 95 percent of those gain it back over the next couple of years.

If there is a particular program or plan that seems to make sense to you, feel free to modify it, add treats, breaks and spontaneity. This allows you thrive instead of experiencing the fade and fail syndrome that 95 percent of Americans experience.

Diets fail and healthy lifestyles excel! Healthy wishes!

Certified Nutritional Consultant

Comment by elamb
January 04, 2015
Great article. I love living by the 80/20 rule. After years of weight gain/loss, all by way of Weight Watchers it seemed unnatural to maintain a healthy lifestyle by having to think about points. I understand the concept behind it; simply stated it's designed to keep portion control and healthy choices in mind long after your weight watchers meetings end. I started using the NB about 18 months ago and have a blast almost every morning. By doing so, I feel a responsibility to choose my food intake wisely throughout the rest of the day. I am starting to eat as clean as possible and omit processed foods and the weight is falling off (with a few gym visits a week) without having to count or pay for the WW site. Using the 80/20 rule I never feel deprived, and always have a healthy snack or meal after I indulge. It's like my body and mind is craving it! I won't ever 'go back'....and will continue to encourage my friends and family to incorporate a NB into their lives. Go me! :)
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