The first Monday of January is known as National “Start A Diet Day” for millions of Americans each year. Yet, obesity rates climb steadily each year…

One of the major reasons is because people do in fact partake in a dieting phase to kick off the new year.

Every. Single. Year.

This decision literally fuels the obesity epidemic as your desire for rapid fat loss and short-sighted interventions do not provide proper education to build a foundation of healthy eating habits that enable you to lose weight and keep it off once and for all.

If you’re sick of setting the same weight loss resolution each year then this article is a must read!


You Do This Every Year


Each year begins with an eager approach to weight loss. You’ve purchased the latest fad diet eBook, stocked up on proven supplements, and even declared this year as the year. Project #newyearnewme starts hot as the scale trends down and you haven’t had a single hiccup on your diet the first couple weeks.

As the temperatures continue to drop and the sun becomes even more scarce during the day, however, your #newyearnewme motivation wanes. Toward the end of the month, weight loss has plateaued and you’ve lost the willpower to hit the gym after work each night.

Come February, you’re back to relying on fast food and working out once per week.

After a few months of guilt, depression, and a steady increase on the scale, you finally muster up the courage to reign in your eating and exercise habits so that you can look better for summer. Again, you check in on the latest diet that is being mass promoted and join the bandwagon.

Unfortunately, the outcome of this one ends up being the same as the last one…

By the end of the summer, you’re zero for two on dieting attempts and decide that it’s likely best you wait until the next year to try again. Plus, you’ll be in a better place to enjoy the Holiday fare this year.

“Maybe (insert year) will be my year,” you tell yourself.


What’s Happening Physiologically


Your body views dieting as a stress. To combat this stress and to overcome the calorie deficit you’ve created, your body works tirelessly to downregulate several bodily functions to conserve energy. It also upregulates production of specific hormones to induce hunger so that you’ll cave and eat to remove the current calorie deficit in place.

When you dive in head first to your New Year’s Diet – the one that restricts several food groups and has you drinking a majority of your calories – your body is shocked and immediately begins downregulating. Surprisingly, your body is quite dynamic and these adaptations take place quickly, which is why many people notice a plateau on the scale a short while after beginning a diet.

When you indulge, or, break from your diet, your body is overwhelmed by the caloric surplus created and to protect itself against future stress, it stores these calories for later use…

…in fat tissue.

When you diet for a few weeks and revert to your old habits the scale quickly rises because of what I just described. Although your body adapts quickly to a reduction in calories, it takes significantly longer to adapt to an increase in calories, thus, many experience a return to their pre-diet weight quicker than the time it took them to lose it, and a large majority of people end up weighing even more!

The next step in this journey is typically a period of emotional eating riddled with guilt and anxiety followed by another dieting effort. Again, this cycle often repeats itself. While this is taking place repeatedly, you never develop a foundation of healthy eating habits and your metabolic rate becomes chronically depressed because of the harsh calorie cuts you’ve made over the many months (or years).

This leads to a gradual increase in the scale year after year despite numerous diets.


This Year Needs To Be Different


Don’t diet this year.

Instead, make a commitment to furthering your nutrition education and exploring your own defeating and limiting beliefs so that you can eventually be in a position to lose weight and keep it off once and for all.

If you’ve been trapped in a vicious yo-yo dieting cycle described above, consider joining an uber-supportive Facebook group with people experiencing the same challenges to get the education, encouragement, and support you need to reach your goals.

If that’s not your style, then seek out educational resources or premium 1:1 nutrition coaching from a trusted resource instead of this year’s latest fad diet. Instead of focusing primarily on the number on the scale, instead, begin focusing on what truly matters: how you feel, how you’re performing, and your consistency in the kitchen.

Taking a year off from dieting will not only allow you to build a foundation of healthy eating habits – which is much easier to do in the absence of a calorie deficit because of the physiological and psychological stress a deficit creates – but also allow the years of adaptation from harsh diets to appropriately restore themselves.

This time next year, you’ll be in the right place mentally and physically to lose weight and keep it off once and for all!


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Become A 5 Percenter

A Dietitian’s Dozen Fat-Loss Tips