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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 24, 2013

Why Diets Fail

By Mark Sisson
156 Comments

Why Diets FailQuestion of the day: what does the term “dieting” conjure up for you? Anecdotes, laughs, regrets, frustration, anxiety? I bet there’s quite a collection of stories to be told. When I think of diets, I think it’s common to think deprivation – of calories, of real food, of satisfaction, of enjoyment, of peace of mind. And that’s how it generally goes in our culture, isn’t it? We diet, we end the diet, we go back on the diet because either it didn’t work the first time or it did but then we fell right back down the same hole again. So, we keep playing the same game of deprivation, white-knuckling it until we get to that glorious sham of an “endpoint,” what I would call the “and they lived happily ever after” conclusion delusion. From a maybe more humorous angle, I think of deprivation dieting as an extended version of the mental game, “don’t think of a elephant.” Gee, what’s the first and most predominant thing you’re going to think of? How much determination and energy is it going to take to not think of the elephant 40 times per day? How about just forgoing the game altogether? Just eat the elephant already.

On a more serious note, I think of the way we work ourselves into a love-hate relationship with food (and sometimes ourselves). We tell ourselves erroneously that food makes us fat, but the pull toward it has never been stronger and more loaded with psychological baggage. Food shouldn’t be the reason for our existence, but it should never be the enemy. From an ancestral point of view, the whole framework is insane. Dieting in the modern sense distorts our relationship with food as basic sustenance.

Incidentally, research shows it can also distort our physiology. A team at the University of Pennsylvania found that a restrictive short-term diet not only had higher levels of the stress hormone corticosterone but also showed lasting epigenetic changes in genes influential to stress regulation.

Likewise, dieting even changes our brain activity. A study at the Oregon Research Institute demonstrated that caloric deprivation increases the “reward value” of food as determined by activity in relevant regions of subjects’ brains in the presence of food images and the presentation of food itself.

On this note, I caught an intriguing article in The New York Times a few weeks ago. It offered the provocative premise (research based) that dieting makes us “dumber.” The article cites studies demonstrating the “mental strain” deprivation puts on our brains and the likelihood of failure we face as a result. Of most interesting note is the research on mental “bandwidth.” Dieters apparently do worse than non-dieters on all manner of basic cognitive tests – everything from spatial reasoning to information retention. Does this really surprise anyone?

The reasons behind this cognitive strain are multifold. Dieters are distracted – by the endless calculations, the various and sundry trade-offs, the obsessive regrets and gymnastic style justifications they contort their minds into throughout a day. It’s frankly exhausting just to read about. The author also connects the strain, however, to a larger “scarcity” force in our biology and brain activity. According to research, when we’re preoccupied with not having enough, we literally lose IQ points. From an evolutionary standpoint, that also isn’t surprising.

When we diet, we deliberately choose scarcity. Why? In the end, deprivation is a self-defeating behavior. It will always be self-defeating behavior. Sure, there may be that temporary grit-your-teeth triumph many of us have experienced in the pre-Primal pasts. The fact is, you can scramble, deprive and exhaust your way to a target weight, but chances are you’ll just roll right down the other side of that mountain once you’re there. The better choice is always investment as opposed to deprivation. A better, healthier lifestyle calls you to invest in yourself. It’s not a mental game of mathematical twister or complicated rule book. It’s a lifestyle you create over time.

Related to this concept, as the Times article explains, is other research that suggests the perceived complexity of one’s weight management approach determines the ability to adhere to the plan over time. The more rules and more complex those rules were, the less likely participants were to adhere to the eating program. In short, “cognitively challenging” doesn’t work when it comes to diet.

Ring true? I’ve heard from many people that one of the things they love most about The Primal Blueprint is its simplicity. No fuss, no frustration. The Blueprint is intended to be a straightforward map to healthy, ancestrally sensical eating and living. While we can get as elaborate and impressive as we want in terms of recipes, the nuts and bolts are clear. Plain sailing.

With time and experience, the Blueprint takes on richer nuance, variety and personalization, but that investment yields long-term, consistent benefit in ways a quick-fix will never even approach. In “dieting” you count down the days. In a lifestyle shift, you commit to a learning curve.

The fact is, the trajectory of genuine dietary and lifestyle change is gradual, but it definitely doesn’t have to be slow. Anyone who’s done the 21-Day Transformation Challenge knows you can make substantive change in a short amount of time and experience substantial results. The difference is, you gradually make it your own. When you do a short-term diet, it tends to revolve around restriction and regimen. Choosing a healthy lifestyle, on the other hand, revolves around adaptation and experimentation. You accept the new approach into your life. You allow the philosophy to become a long-term part of your socialization, your holiday routines, your time management, your family life, your private recreation, your shopping sources, your kitchen library, your life’s enjoyment. A good diet should ultimately be about living the good life. It’s a countercultural kind of message, however. The results, I think, are the difference between deprivation dieting and good Primal living.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. What’s your take on dieting? Does the research ring true to you? What’s been the difference between past dieting and Primal living?

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156 Comments on "Why Diets Fail"

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2 years 11 months ago

[…] Question of the day: what does the term “dieting” conjure up for you? Anecdotes, laughs, regrets, frustration, anxiety? I bet …read more […]

Jay
Jay
2 years 11 months ago
I am about 7 days into learning about the concept of Primal living (found MDA 2 days before my first half marathon last Saturday when googling “carb-loading for running” lol). I immediately started talking about it to my husband and other family members. It makes a whole lot of sense and is completely refreshing and exciting to hear such positive tones around living and enjoying life to the fullest! This article is the one I am going to try my hardest to get my husband to read, before even attempting to get him to look into the Primal 101s. I’ve… Read more »
MommaH
MommaH
2 years 11 months ago

Awesome! Good luck getting your husband on board. Mine wasn’t sure at first but it didn’t take long to convince him considering I cook all of his meals 😉 we are so thankful to not feel guilted into the gym anymore either!

aly c.
aly c.
2 years 11 months ago

welcome! and yay you for “seeing the light!” 😉

Jay
Jay
2 years 11 months ago

Thank you both so much for your support! I have to say that is the number one reason I was so drawn to all of this–I’ve been reading a ton of the success stories and all of the comments are so incredibly uplifting and encouraging. Obviously, you all are anything but the normal bunch of depraved and angry “dieting” crazies! 🙂

Jay
Jay
2 years 11 months ago

Lol *deprived, not depraved 😉

Stacie
2 years 11 months ago

As a fellow post-collegiate athlete, I completely feel your pain! It’s tough going from the grueling workouts of those days to having to exercise “just to stay in shape.” The Primal Blueprint and this blog has changed all of that, and now I’m healthier than I ever was when I was a collegiate athlete because I’m *not* carbo-loading and eating whole grain pasta and what have you.

This thing is a game changer. Good luck with the hubs!

Erin
Erin
2 years 11 months ago

welcome, Jay! good to see a new “face”

mike w
2 years 11 months ago
I tried Primal Blueprint for 6 months and had great success, lost 20 lbs, felt great, etc.– but there was still a nagging feeling the whole time that I was depriving myself of something, even though I “felt” satisfied. Then one day this summer, I fell slow-motion and uncontrollably off the wagon and into a huge “eat whatever I want” period. I ate entire meals of ice cream. I ate pizzas. whole pizzas. I drank 2 liters bottles of soda. I felt like crap, but I could not stop. So I didn’t stop, I decided to “binge through” because I… Read more »
Mike
Mike
2 years 11 months ago

I personally find it helps (although no one I mention this to in person likes the idea) to view “foods” you “can’t eat” as poisons and undesirable. Healthy doses of MDA and other articles warning of the dangers of sugar, seed oils, and other non-PB things help reinforce this way of thinking.

That way, even though it may take the same amount of discipline in the beginning, you’re not denying yourself something good (unsustainable), you’re avoiding something bad (natural and desirable).

Shary
Shary
2 years 11 months ago

Mike, I have to wonder about this approach. If it works for you, great, but I think a better idea is to acknowledge what your brain already knows–that there’s no such thing as foods that you “can’t” eat. For many of us, the idea is to simply limit them to small amounts on rare occasions so they don’t become a habit and therefore a major physical/emotional issue. Sometimes just knowing I can have that cupcake or cookie if I really, really want it makes it easier to avoid it.

gibson
gibson
2 years 11 months ago

I’m a binge eater from wayback! I’ve been low carb for several years now and primal eating has enhanced the quality of what I eat. My general defense against feeling deprived was/is to pick new favorite foods that aren’t harmful.
I’m satisfied and I rarely feel like binge eating. Now, it’s a warning of something emotional going on and I deal with it.

That said, it was not an overnight transition. Don’t give up! It will happen.

Mike W
2 years 11 months ago

Hi gibson, I felt that way the whole time I was Primal. Didn’t feel like binging at all. Then when it happened, it surprised the hell out of me. I Imagined my feelings of loss of control must be what it feels like to be addicted to heroin. There’s some powerful deep stuff in some people that is beyond the control of will power or “right choices.”

Mark C.
Mark C.
2 years 11 months ago
I had also been turning into quite the binge/emotional eater until I found MDA (right around the time I had a doc appt that said I had gained 10-15 lbs in about 3 months and was at an all time high). I really liked what Mark said about not worrying if you go over one day, but that you need to look more at the average. Like Shary, I am comforted a little to know that I CAN have the snickers or whatnot, but if I can just resist it a little longer, it will be out of sight and… Read more »
Paul
Paul
2 years 11 months ago
A recent nerd fitness post highlighted the high probability of self-defeat using the word “can’t” (as in “I can’t eat that”). When you “can’t,” you psychologically set yourself up to want that thing even more. Viewing certain foods as noxious may work for some (it works for me, for certain foods), but simply replacing the word “can’t” with “don’t” completely changes your perception: “I don’t eat that.” By consciously deciding that you “don’t” eat this or “don’t” do that, you are setting yourself up, psychologically, to win. You are in control and you are not denying or depriving yourself of… Read more »
MommaH
MommaH
2 years 11 months ago

That’s an awesome point! I’ve naturally shifted from can’t to won’t when it comes to grains. My husband can’t because he is gluten intolerant. I can but choose not to because of the health benefits. Also when I used to say “can’t” people would grill me on why.

Amy
2 years 11 months ago

Interesting. I hadn’t heard that before. That was always my problem with Whole 30 – seemed to much about “can’t”. I think I could definitely embrace the “don’t” . . . I could drink soda, and sometimes do, but most of the time I don’t . . . I could have a sugary dessert or candy, but I don’t, I’ll have a piece of good dark chocolate instead or some fruit.

Yup. I like this!

Fritzy
Fritzy
2 years 11 months ago
Paul, I agree; I think there is really something to that approach. I have been Primal for over two years and have never used the words “can’t eat” with myself or anyone else. I have never felt deprived. My “weakness” is a really good hamburger (with the bun; bun-less is no fun and gluten free buns are disgusting) and I will indulge a couple times a month. I don’t feel bad about it or tell myself I am doing something “forbidden,” because I’ve never told myself I “can’t” eat one (quite to the contrary–I can wreck a really good burger!)… Read more »
gibson
gibson
2 years 11 months ago

I try not to say “can’t” because it makes me feel whiney. LOL

Bill C
Bill C
2 years 11 months ago

I have never told myself that I “can’t” eat something either. Instead, I “don’t want to” eat it, because [food or ingredient(s)] is unhealthy, and it is unhealthy because [reason(s)]. So I don’t. And because I don’t want to eat [grains, soy, most other legumes, sugar, seed/legume/corn oils, not-food chemicals] I do not, and indeed, can not deprive myself by not eating them.

My weakness is free ice cream. Am I sure that I don’t want that delicious blend of milk fat and sugar, even if there is more sugar than fat? No, no sadly I am not.

Nelly
Nelly
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks for that comment. ‘Don’t’ makes so much more than ‘can’t’! Its helped today for me already. Weird how changing two letters of a word can make such a difference?!

Tom
Tom
2 years 11 months ago

You hit the nail on the head! I see spaghetti and bread, etc. as being made of plastic. I realize that I *can* eat plastic (and have, not intentionally) but I *don’t.*

And if I do, I’ll be in the restroom within a few hours!

Plastic in pesto sauce…..
Plastic primavera with garlic….
Freshly baked, whole-grain plastic bits….

jesse
2 years 10 months ago
Mike, I do this too. I always loved pasta. I went paleo in the past for 6 months. Craved pasta. I found myself “wanting it.” I couldn’t bring myself to thinking of pasta as poison. I am back on paleo with zero cravings. Seriously. It’s been a while… I have so many great foods to pick from– but will I have pasta again sure, but not often. Would i eat a cupcake. No way. It’s poison, and ALSO i feel like crap afterwards. i think that’s the key, to recognize that eating is eating, and you want to feel like… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
2 years 11 months ago
I am wondering how we can rally round mike w and really brainstorm about ways to approach the experience that living (and maybe primarily eating?) primally doesn’t stick any better than regular diets. So many of us find a sustainable way to live with a primal approach, but I do often wonder about those with contradictory experiences. I wonder if a big part of it is the non-food-related challenge of taking on the other primal lifestyle ideas and making them one’s own. For instance, if I didn’t make sleep a major priority, I am guessing the eating part wouldn’t go… Read more »
Colleen
Colleen
2 years 11 months ago
Two thoughts: (1) Eating this way can be a process, not necessarily happening overnight. I used to have dark chocolate every day when I started because I needed a treat, now it’s on occasion. I used to have 1/2 a bagel on Fridays at work (b/c that was our food morning at work) but as the months passed that stopped too. Now I have zero interest in that bagel. It takes time to really change those cravings. (2) Have that pizza every once in a while if that is what you really like. I like ice cream. When we go… Read more »
Shary
Shary
2 years 11 months ago
While a paleo diet seems to work well for a lot of people, it doesn’t work for everyone. Diets in general don’t work because they can’t be sustained over the long haul because they do function through scarcity and deprivation. Also, too many people view diets as a temporary evil. They put up with it until they lose a little weight, then they go back to eating junk again. The key is to find an eating plan that you like well enough and that agrees enough with your body that it just naturally becomes a permanent part of your life.… Read more »
Marti
Marti
2 years 11 months ago
I agree! 100% (no 80-20 here) Someone asked me the other day about Paleo eating because she had read a 30 day challenge hand out at our gym. She said that she just didn’t think she should do it because it recommended sea salt instead of iodized salt, and she felt iodine was a significantly needed item for her. I am of the same mind as you Shary – you don’t have to go 100% from day one! To get hung up on salt varieties is insane for someone just starting down the path. Maybe she just doesn’t want to… Read more »
Ham-Bone
Ham-Bone
2 years 11 months ago

You nailed it Marti! Yes, I “give up” wheat, sugar, and fast food 80% of the time but I also got to give up running every day or biking even when it was raining. I don’t have to buy a gym membership or statins. I don’t have to count calories. I eat butter off the stick. People always get so hung up on what they’re giving up (usually focusing on bread, pasta, and sweets). Holy crap, look what you’re gaining!!!

George
George
2 years 11 months ago

Not to mention that the iodine in the toxic substance denoted as iodized salt is practically useless. I highly recommend for that topic she take a few minutes to read some of the information by Dr. David Brownstein, which includes quite a bit of research and metrics.

Mike W
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks Marti, the problem is, I don’t think it’s something you can “think” your way out of. See my comment below to Luke Lorenson.

Fred Timm
Fred Timm
2 years 11 months ago

Yeah, I cringe when I go into the local supermarket . The first thing that you see is the bakery………
all those refined carbs….
I am going camping this week end….
on the menu?
grass fed Bison steak

Günther
Günther
2 years 11 months ago
Sometimes I fall off the wagon, too (concerning “eat plants and animals” and “avoid poisonous things”). But then I let it flow – sometimes extremely, indeed. For a while. Without self-reproaches. Nearly enjoing it (well, only “nearly”, because I in fact do know and do feel that it is wrong). I do so because I know I can come back to the Primal way (of eating) very easily. Because I proofed this allready several times. I´m not having any health-issues and knowing that I can come back whenever I want is the reason why I let myself fall off sometimes… Read more »
Joshua
Joshua
2 years 11 months ago
Mike, I understand completely where you are coming from. But here is the thing. Get back on it. Do it. Enlarge your vision of where the deprivation lies. Realize that even though you might have to deprive yourself of pizza and ice cream, when you indulge in those things, you are depriving yourself of feeling and being in good health. You deprive yourself of being able to do whatever “play” you love. You deprive yourself of the money it takes for pills to mask the “normal aches and pains of aging”. We are different guys and you go ahead and… Read more »
Nathan
Nathan
2 years 11 months ago

Mike W, see my post below.

Calvin
Calvin
2 years 11 months ago
I hear you, mike w. I had a similar experience, where everything was going great for awhile but eventually I just caved and ate pizza after pizza and other assorted junk food, as though they had some weird power over me. I felt guilty, cognitively knew they were bad for my health (also the stomach pains were a clue), and yet it didn’t matter. It seemed that all the times I had to turn down delicious but un-primal food, all the times I tried to force myself to get some healthy groceries and cook instead of sitting on the couch… Read more »
Mike W
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks Calvin, I totally agree. See my comment below to Luke Lorenson.

Agnes
2 years 11 months ago
Mike, I think you nailed it here: “Primal Blueprint is a deprivation diet. Not of quantity, but of the types of foods that are around us culturally. The types of food that we grow up with and have emotional attachments to.” I’ve experienced the same thing as you have: even though I definitely feel better eating paleo, that deep down nagging feeling that you’re depriving yourself never quite goes away, at least not for me. I don’t think it’s impossible to get rid of it, but I do think that doing so would require a lot of work because non-primal… Read more »
Mike W
2 years 11 months ago

thanks for sharing your experience Agnes– see my comment below to Luke Lorenson

Tom
Tom
2 years 10 months ago
Apologies in advance if I’ve missed a comment stating something similar but… In my experience I find greater ease in not worrying about some form of non-Primal food (eg. pizza) finding its way into my day occasionally. The not-so great feeling that follows serves as a great reminder as to why I indulge in the awesome foods I get to eat day in – day out. I feel like it’s more of a motivator to actually stay Primal (food-wise) and cravings don’t really bother me as a result! Plus if you place too much focus on how you’re missing out… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
2 years 11 months ago
I have never posted but feel I need to comment. My husband and daughters are hugely primal but I could never seem to give up my carbs. I am/was an emotional eater and the things I am drawn to during stress are all sweets or crap food. I have finally been able to commit to the primal lifestyle when thinking about what I was putting into my body. My body feels great when I eat well and feels bad when I don’t. I put the best fuel in my car – why would I do any less for my body.… Read more »
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
2 years 11 months ago

I weep at what is considered culture.

Amy
Amy
2 years 11 months ago

That doesn’t seem like any fun at all. 🙂

Aria Dreamcatcher
Aria Dreamcatcher
2 years 11 months ago
I can honestly say I’ve never felt that way on Primal… never felt deprived. This is the first real ‘diet’ I’ve ever been on, if you don’t count Weight Watchers. I would always look at a diet book and ask, ‘can I live like this forever?’ And if the answer was ‘No’ I wouldn’t even try. It just didn’t make sense to me. So I avoided yo-yo dieting but not a steady weight gain. Primal does make sense to me because I can do it forever. I don’t feel deprived at all. I’m surrounded by delicious food and I can… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
2 years 11 months ago

Couldn’t have said it better myself! If I do indulge I always make sure it’s worth it. I’m not gonna suffer stomach pains and feel like crap for the days after for some cheap cake. The indulgences I do have are some of my favorite foods from my pre-primal days.

Stephanie
Stephanie
2 years 11 months ago
There are a lot of ways you can do things like pizza or ice cream in a paleo/primal way, though. You can get the different kinds of “flours” that follow the plan and make a reasonable fascimile to pizza dough- is it exactly like real pizza? No. But it is close enough to satisfy the emotional dis-satisfaction of avoiding those things. You can freeze yogurt or make your own ice cream and be completely paleo. It just requires going onto the internet and searching for ways to do it- for my birthday next month I plan on making a mostly… Read more »
Erin
Erin
2 years 11 months ago

I don’t partake in the paleo junk food. The way I see it, if I’m gonna eat junk, it better be damn good and totally worth it. pizza just isn’t pizza without a glutenous crust and tons of cheese. birthday cake just isn’t birthday cake without layers of gluten and chocolate in between buttercream or cream cheese frosting. but IMO, if you’re gonna eat junk, make it yourself from scratch. it tastes better 😉

Nomad
Nomad
2 years 11 months ago

I don’t completely agree with you. If I fall off the wagon, less less good it tastes, the less likely it is I’ll do it again. Next time, My brain remembers it wasn’t that great and it is easier to ignore.

Erin
Erin
2 years 11 months ago

why would you eat mediocre food in the first place?

Bill C
Bill C
2 years 11 months ago

What is pizza? Awesomeness layered onto an edible plate. Replace the bread crust with something healthy, like coconut-almond flour, cauliflower, meat, etc, and you have a Primal pizza. It the cheese is a problem, that could be trickier, unless goat cheese is not.

Andrew Urgo
Andrew Urgo
2 years 11 months ago
I have had a battle with eating paleo/primal at first eating this way made me crave animal fat more I started losing weight felt great cravings for bad stuff went away but as time went on those cravings came back stronger and worse then ever I have been on a constant struggle with losing body fat I do so good then I fall off could it be I’m not eating enough clean healthy carbs could it be hormones and leptin telling my body I’m losing fat and sees this as a bad thing signaling giving me those cravings again for… Read more »
Em
Em
2 years 11 months ago
I see this as a generational. When I grew up we didn’t have soda in the house. After leaving home I had maybe two sodas straight out of a can in the span of 13 years. I have never felt deprived not having it. Unfortunately I also grew up with having a dessert every night after dinner. Now-a-days when I go without a dessert I sometimes get the feeling of depravity. Key word is sometimes. After going primal I was able to minimize that feeling to less than everyday. There are days that I grab a glass of water or… Read more »
Em
Em
2 years 11 months ago

depravity was suppose to say deprivation, I did not mean moral corruption!

Amy
2 years 11 months ago
I had a similar experience. Even GI problems weren’t enough for me to to get back “on the wagon” – even though I was so successful with this way of eating before and know first hand the benefits – from clearer skin and more energy to more energy and fairly effortless weight loss. The social pressure (not intentional – but always there in ads, the food on the staff room table, etc.) for me combines with an addiction to sugar. Even after four months of primal eating (almost certainly out of the “carb flu” time frame – and also well… Read more »
jesse
jesse
2 years 11 months ago

Thank you for that! I feel the same way. it is helpful and motivating to know others experience certain aspects of this lifestyle in a similar way. I agree with you completely.

bjjcaveman
2 years 11 months ago

Perhaps in a situation like this, it’s important to embrace Mark’s 80% primal concept and allow a built in cheat day or cheat meal once a week or once every two weeks.

Let yourself eat what you want during those cheat times so you don’t feel the sense of deprivation.

While this isn’t as good as being primal 100% of the time, this is far better than cheating 24/7.

The most effective lifestyle or diet, is the one you’ll stick to and everyone needs to find a way that will work best for them.. cheating or not!

Chantal
Chantal
2 years 11 months ago
Mike w – I totally hear you. I think what you are expressing is the reality of any type of eating plan. No matter what you call it, a diet is a diet whether it’s paleo, counting points or drinking shakes. Are there some that are better than others and healthier?? Of course!! I wholeheartedly believe that the PB is likely to be one of the healthier eating plans out there. As you explained so well though, deprivation can come in many forms (not just in calorie restriction). Mark has touched on the idea that striving for perfection is also… Read more »
Lucy
Lucy
2 years 11 months ago
I have had the same experience. I actually have lost over 100 lbs on the primal diet over the last year, but I have had several episodes of bingeing. I actually ate 6 Snickers ice cream bars in 10 minutes on one such occasion. It usually lasts about two days, I feel like sh** for about a week afterward, but once I get back on the primal wagon, I’m okay again for a while. Then about a month later, I have another binge. Most will probably think it’s just a self-control issue, which I guess it partly is, but I… Read more »
Vanessa
Vanessa
2 years 11 months ago

Lucy, would it make a difference if you plan for that? Next time only have 5 ice cream bars? The time after that just four, and so on. It might take the sting out of that situation and make it less important. Guilt can turn you back around so that you are repeating the mistake.

Once the weather changed last week, I really wanted to bake and so I did. We had pumpkin pie and I cut half the crust off my piece. I enjoyed the other half though.

Lucy
Lucy
2 years 11 months ago

I don’t know. I stopped counting calories about a week ago and that seems to have helped…so far. I don’t feel obsessive about food as much and I’m not sitting around dreaming about ice cream.

shrimp4me
shrimp4me
2 years 11 months ago

Cyclical???

Hanna
Hanna
2 years 11 months ago

I think you answered yourself with binge eating. You state you have an emotional attachment to the food you were bought up on.
Is it the actual food, or is there some memory or feeling your trying to recreate by eating it?

maria
maria
2 years 11 months ago

If I feel deprived usually I just need a big fatty steak lol

Charlayna
2 years 11 months ago
For me, moving from Alaska back to the lower 48 has created this issue of food availability. It’s so overwhelming to eat healthfully all the time when you have so many restaurants, fast food joints, grocery stores, etc. So now I have this “new” problem of craving/binge eating fast food and tons of carbs. And with the busy and hectic schedule I have currently, I usually don’t want to make food when I get home and end up eating either too much of good things (healthy fats, dairy, etc.) or bad things (excessive carbs, grains, soy, etc.) Surprisingly enough, it… Read more »
Effie
2 years 10 months ago
I couldn’t agree more. While I think paleo is good in theory and a great loose guideline, at the end of the day it feels like a diet. I struggled for close to a year with binge eating because I restricted grains and sugar, believing paleo was the only way to be healthy. Now I’m taking what I’ve learned from the paleo lifestyle– move more, play more, really decrease refined carbs and even good carbs and especially sugar, but incorporating it into a more moderate approach. Basically the all-or-nothing mentality doesn’t work for a lot of people, even if we… Read more »
Matt
2 years 11 months ago

Cabbage soup diet, anyone?

Stephanie Paris
2 years 11 months ago

Great post. It conjures up a lot for me. Boy do I ever have some beef with diets. 🙂 Growing up as a ballet dancer and performing with a professional ballet company meant that I was constantly dieting, even though I was extremely healthy and fit. It left a lot I scars. After having children, I gained a lot of weight, and am now in transition to lose fat and gain lran muscle mass. I love eating primally because I know I can reach my ideal body composition in a healthy, satisfying way. 🙂

Stephanie Paris
2 years 11 months ago

Wow, walking and typing messages really doesn’t work very well for me. Sorry for all the autocorrected typos. “Lean” muscle mass is what it should have read. 🙂

Günther
Günther
2 years 11 months ago

And I thought you ment “iron” muscle mass – well, that would fit, wouldn´t it? 🙂

Nomad
Nomad
2 years 11 months ago

Lol. Me too!

Tricia
Tricia
2 years 11 months ago

me three 😀

trackback
2 years 11 months ago

[…] Daily Apple / Posted on: January 01, 1970Mark’s Daily Apple – Question of the day: what does the term “dieting” conjure up for you? Anecdotes, […]

Kristina
Kristina
2 years 11 months ago
Just last week I was beating myself up because given my living situation and budget, I can’t make a perfect Whole30 work for more than 7-10 days at a time. I decided to reread PB and the PBTT to remind myself that complete, no-compromise adherence to an elimination diet wasn’t the only option to make myself feel better and get rid of the weight I’ve gained after slipping (read: crashlanding) back into my old eating habits. I’ve gone back to APAS (as primal as possible), and this week I thought I’d track my carb intake with Sparkpeople (which is where… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
2 years 11 months ago

Just the word DIET makes my skin crawl. Diet is what we eat, nothing more-nothing less. And I still have a hard time understanding how most folks can go back to eating stuff that makes them feel like crap or makes them sick in the long run. Going Primal was about the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Is the urge to eat pizza and drink coke stronger than the urge to eat bacon and coconut milk? I don’t get it.

N
N
2 years 11 months ago

I enjoy eating this way, but I certainly have to think about it quite a lot, especially when I’m in a social situation and have to figure out the least bad option. Sometimes, it seems like Mark has found a way of eating that’s easy for him and extrapolated out to assume that it’s just as easy and natural for everyone else. Natural, it may be, but it’s not always easy.

Dr. Anthony Gustin
2 years 11 months ago

This is why the 21 day challenge is so much better. Reinforcing a better lifestyle will always beat the yo-yo.

Luke Lorenson
Luke Lorenson
2 years 11 months ago

Mike W, if you do feel this way, why do you visit this site? Trolling perhaps? Or are you perhaps hoping to see something here which will “bring you back to the path”?

Mike W
2 years 11 months ago
I’m not a troll. I read the site every day, and have for a year. I own the books. I preach the philosophy. I started down the paleo path 10 years ago when I intuitively started thinking it would be better to eat more like a caveman- vegetables and meat. I believe in the theory and I *want* it to work– but I don’t think it’s only about willpower or mind tricks or right choices. My experience is making me question how strongly the perception of deprivation in general comes into play, and Marks article about dieting struck a chord… Read more »
Agnes
2 years 11 months ago
Again, I think this is spot on: there is something instinctive about eating whatever’s available. Grok didn’t eat crap because he didn’t have access to it. If he did, he likely would have eaten it too. The implications of this aren’t that *we* should eat crap — like Mike, I am 100% behind the PB as the most nutritious way of eating. But perhaps we should at least acknowledge that our desire to eat everything that’s available to us, even when we know it won’t make us feel good, is part of being human. For those people who have lost… Read more »
Mike W
2 years 11 months ago

Right Agnes– that’s a great distinction– eating what’s around us is not a failure, it’s human, it’s normal.

Ultimately the solution is probably highly specific based on what food is available around us, our feelings of social and cultural attachment to food, and each individual’s own limit for dealing with feelings of deprivation. As Shary wrote above, 50/50 might be the best that someone can do– not because of lack of willpower or intelligence– but just because that’s the way they are wired.

Bill C
Bill C
2 years 11 months ago
I totally understand eating all the available food. I often attempt to do that. At buffets, I almost always pile my plate two layers high. Pre-Primal, I would try to have some of everything; now, it’s everything worth eating. I see nothing wrong with other people’s leftovers. If it is a reasonable option, I will eat until my stomach is literally full and eating becomes unpleasant. I don’t know if this would work for you, Mike, but part of my solution was a change in my definition of “food”. Grain-based items are not food. Soy is not food. Processed seed… Read more »
Stacie
2 years 11 months ago
I actually really like this comment, and I like how much conversation your original post is generating today. We should always question everything, that’s how we learn. This stuck out to me: “The difference is that in primal days, the choices were limited to what was probably more or less healthy (and there was likely some good scarcity to boot), while today if you walk down the street and eat whatever you come across, you get an overabundance of unhealthy junk.” It really does become a matter of choice, in my opinion. I’ve struggled with weight my entire life, and… Read more »
Calvin
Calvin
2 years 11 months ago
If I could choose to live in a world where dominos, mcdonalds, and ben and jerrys didn’t exist, I would, no question. I would love it, actually. None of this internal wrestling. It would be freeing. Trying to resist it all though when it’s just dollars away is such a drag no matter how much I know about what constitutes an ideal human diet, or how much I tried to internalize that article about akrasia. And it stirs up all these negative thoughts, like why can’t I just do what’s right for my body? Do I just not have the… Read more »
2Rae
2Rae
2 years 11 months ago
Cravings are very much like drug addiction. Your mind will crave some foods even if they are not good for you to eat. Many former drug addicts continue to crave the drugs, even the smell of drugs that other people may not pick up will give the fromer drug addict even stronger cravings. That does NOT mean that they should give into the craving, it’s still a poison to their bodies. Toxic foods are the same, just because we crave them doesn’t mean we need them. It does however point out that there is something that we need to resolve… Read more »
George
George
2 years 11 months ago
Mike W, to boil down your posts into a few words, in our modern world we have a plethora of refined, toxic, addicting foods available and you are unable to resist eating them. You are not alone, most people cannot. I sense despite your rationalization and “woe is me” diatribe that you don’t want to be like “most” people. I believe in my heart you can overcome your addictions. More important question … go stand in front of the mirror and take a good long look … do you believe in yourself and the power you have within?
Paras
Paras
2 years 11 months ago
Mike W. Very nice comment. I think, what’s worked for me is to channel my inner Grok and identify the foods that are not healthy as “poisonous.” I try to remember how they make feel (bloated, slow, tired, uncomfortable). I’m sure Grok remembered what didn’t leave him feeling his best and avoided those foods in favor of more agreeable ones. However, after years of eating the SAD, it took me a few weeks of going primal to realize which foods were not leaving me at my best. With that said, I’m not immune to the cravings and to do give… Read more »
Margaret
Margaret
2 years 11 months ago
I have to respectfully disagree a little bit here. Grok was an opportunistic eater, no doubt, but we are assuming constant scarcity in this example. There were times of food abundance for him. Grok/we would NATURALLY eat till sated. Not more – it is uncomfortable and would impede escaping danger when necessary. And being sated on fat and protein, at least in my opinion, greatly reduces the desire for anything else for quite awhile. Additionally – if Grok were to eat something that made him feel badly, he simply would not do it again unless he were starving. Period. There… Read more »
Luke Lorenson
Luke Lorenson
2 years 11 months ago
And after downing a bag of chips, a two liter of soda, and a big mac, Grok would likely double up with both stomach aches and migraines, cursing the poison of these new found foods in his early tongue, similarly to how his grandmother GrannieGrok cursed the nightshade plants and spotted mushrooms. I do realize how ADDICTIVE some foods are, fighting with myself not to buy a Dr Pepper from the break room at lunch… And yet, even my primitive brain can correlate the pain my stomach goes through after drinking a couple glasses of soda, not to mention the… Read more »
OzK
OzK
2 years 11 months ago
Wow. Assuming he’s a troll because he’s sharing his struggles with adopting a different lifestyle. Mean-spirited much? Mike W, I applaud your courage and honesty. Especially because you’re a guy, and it’s mostly women who are either talking about, or being talked about, with regards to this very difficult aspect of the food/culture/self expression intersection. I have nothing but admiration for Mark Sisson. He is a profoundly compassionate and generous man. But he’s also a man who has never faced the challenge of obesity and distorted body image that so many of us do who have struggled with, or continue… Read more »
Luke Lorenson
Luke Lorenson
2 years 11 months ago

You think Mark didn’t suffer from a distorted body image? Let’s see, the man was, and is, good at running long distances, and did horrible things to his body to keep running those distances. Practically binge eating on all the crap and crud an overweight woman would after she gives up on her goal of being aa thin as the twig on the cover of Vogue. I think you don’t give Mark enough credit.

Mark P
2 years 11 months ago
But what about the basic notion that weight-loss IS deprivation? With paleo and primal, you cut out entire food groups (as “poisonous” as they are, and as justifiable of a decision it is), and totally reduce an entire macronutrient. Of course there will be seemless and stress-free weight-loss with this diet, because you’re initially cutting out a crap ton of calories. In addition to that, by reducing your carbohydrate-intake, you reduce overall hunger because fat and protein is more satiating overall AND you reduce the amount of insulin you secrete (which ties in with hunger). Which takes us back to… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
2 years 11 months ago
“For paleo folks, this means cutting out entire food-groups and being fearful of excessive carbohydrates, with the subconscious hope that it leaves you in caloric deficit.” I don’t know about anyone else but I avoid poisonous things which means I don’t eat grains. So no, I’m not cutting out an entire food group because I don’t consider it actual food in the first place. I also never fear eating excessive carbohydrates (unless I’m eating something non-primal) because you can only eat so much veggies and fruits in a day before you begin to “worry.” “Which brings me to to explaining… Read more »
Amy
Amy
2 years 11 months ago
” The difference was where the calories were coming from. It’s a lot more complex than just calories in and calories out.” I second this. An overly simplistic application of the laws of thermodynamics are why we see people struggle to lose body fat. Consider, for instance, that your body may use up more energy to process certain foods. Or that a stomach maybe more efficient in digesting food one day and less efficient the next. (In other words, same calories “in”, but a variable number of calories up in the body.) There may be a great deal more discretion… Read more »
Mark P
2 years 11 months ago
Amy, you are right in saying that it’s very simplistic to solely consider calories-in to calories-out. But, the parts that make it more complex have to do with modifying the two factors, calories-in and calories-out. Let’s consider the notion that you stated – “Consider, for instance, that your body may use up more energy to process certain foods. Or that a stomach maybe more efficient in digesting food one day and less efficient the next.” While this may be desired, to reduce efficiency of aerobic respiration, so that we can lose weight, does reducing the efficiency of our ability to… Read more »
Mark P
2 years 11 months ago
I’ve followed paleo/primal STRICTLY for two years and believed I would lose weight if I just cut out the excess carbs and not consume grains or legumes (or dairy or nightshades). So yes, I understand this way of life. But it is the law of thermodynamics. There’s no questioning it. “For example, there was a point when I first started this lifestyle that I was consuming about 3,000 calories in a day and I was still losing weight.” And this is after losing the water-weight with initially going low-carb, correct? What should make us wonder, however, is WHY would our… Read more »
Mark P
2 years 11 months ago

Also, Jennifer, it is excellent that you do not feel deprived.

How many grams of carbohydrates do you ingest daily? From fruit, fruit juices (100% natural, or homemade), and dairy I must get around 250 grams of carbs per day. I’m losing weight, BTW (because I’m purposely counting calories).

Erin
Erin
2 years 11 months ago

well, Mark P. I’m sure it’s possible to gain weight on the PB. I’m sure some have (I’d love to hear their success stories). it just depends on what your goals are. the PB can really work for anybody.

Emily
Emily
2 years 11 months ago
Oh, I can confirm it’s easy to gain weight when primal, especially if you’re still trying to loose it! Personally, i’m just concentrating on being healthy – i’d love to be a 20-something youngster with no other issues, but as a nearly 50 year old woman with a lifetime of auto immune issues, fertility problems and a host of other things it’s hard. There used to be days that just getting out of bed was so draining; managing to shower, drive to work and stay awake for a whole day was about as much as I could manage. Used to… Read more »
ChaiKe
ChaiKe
2 years 11 months ago
You could also argue that rather than deprivation, (low-carb) primal folk are just switching to a different, possibly more efficient source of energy. Dietary fat if, like myself, you’re not trying to lose weight, or a combination of dietary fat and body fat, if you are. Although cutting out any major food groups that we used to enjoy can feel like psychological deprivation, I don’t think it can/should be percieved as physical deprivation, especially in overweight people, who have loads of energy stores just waiting to be used. Personally, I think I only occasionally felt I was depriving myself for… Read more »
Leslie Schilling, RDN, CSSD
2 years 11 months ago

This is spot on. I’m a dietitian but prefer to call myself a nutrition therapist. I don’t do diets and my clients don’t either.

Taylor Rearick
2 years 11 months ago

Deprivation is awesome. I would be characterless without it. Being Primal is effective because it changes the typical view of deprivation. It makes it fun. Get down with it.

Oh no! I used a colloquialism. I hate colloquialisms!

-Taylor

Kent W
Kent W
2 years 11 months ago

It’s interesting how MDA and robbwolf aligned on this topic today. For those of us who struggle to lose fat, our relationship with food is indeed complicated

JoeBrewer
JoeBrewer
2 years 11 months ago
Primal eating is not easy and for many folks, downright hard. It is largely due to marketing, advertisements, eating history and many other reasons. If you always have tasty primal food around and never get hungry, it is much easier. The problem is when you get hungry and the only available foods are tasty non-primal foods. That said, I think most people need a good reason to stay primal. It may be a health issue or a strong desire to be thin, strong, LGN, whatever. For me it is because I love life and want to enjoy life long into… Read more »
gibson
gibson
2 years 11 months ago

+1

Ham-Bone
Ham-Bone
2 years 11 months ago

I also can not suggest strongly enough a Whole 30 at some point. It breaks your mental hangups and years of bad programming by the modern food industry.

KariVery
KariVery
2 years 11 months ago
And read the book “It Starts With Food” before you do it. It really brings it all in focus – after a failed attempt last year of just doing the eating plan without reading the book, I can attest that not only will you feel extremely deprived, but for me, it didn’t make as much sense and I couldn’t really stay on it. After reading “It Starts With Food,” I had a very successful Whole 30 the second time. I lost 7 more pounds without really trying, and I actually kicked my compulsive sugar habit. I am able to have… Read more »
Kim
Kim
2 years 11 months ago
Deprivation is a state of mind. That doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes feel deprived, but I’ve learned that I don’t have to have an emotional attachment to food. It takes mental energy and persistence to say, “I only want to eat that ice cream because I’m feeling stressed/tired/frustrated/sad/whatever. What I really need is to do is relax/talk to someone/read/play a game/walk in the woods/sit in a hottub.” Actually assigning emotions to food is mentally draining (e.g. I love icecream/I’m addicted to chocolate) because then there’s an automatic response cue and you have to decide if you’re going to be… Read more »
George
George
2 years 11 months ago

Eating a primal diet (within the framework of my personal beliefs) and following the leangains “protocol” has made keeping on track in terms of nutrition relatively painless for me. I have many areas for improvement and I’m not the best person I could be on many levels, but saying no to pasta, sweets, gains etc, has not been an issue for me. Much thanks to Mark for his ongoing encouragement and enlightenment, I may not agree with him 100% on every topic but he is one of the best health and wellness resources out there for sure.

EdP3
EdP3
2 years 11 months ago

Seems like a lot of people can’t get passed the mindset that they are missing out on something critical to their existence. It’s quite possible that you need to be more creative in your meal selection. There are many paleo/primal recipes that offer fantastic alternatives to culturally evocative foods. Additionally, those of you who “can’t live without these foods” may want to check out the possibility of blocked 1st and or 2nd chakra’s.

Stephanie
Stephanie
2 years 11 months ago
Even when I was on Weight Watchers I never looked at it like a diet- it was the way I was eating period. If I don’t think of things like that, I cannot follow through. This paleo/primal thing is a diet too. The nice thing about it is that there are options so that you can recreate foods that are out there that you used to eat, that you now miss. The same was true for Weight Watchers, as different of a weigh-loss philosophy as that followed. You could eat whatever you want within certain perameters and there was always… Read more »
Brian
Brian
2 years 11 months ago

I find that now that I know what certain foods can do to the human body, it makes it easier to resist them. Knowledge can help a person maintain this diet. I’m not say that I’m perfect, but knowing does help quite a bit. No one views a candy bar as nutrition, but it is just a pleasure. That is how I now view certain foods (pizza, bread, etc.)

Rob
Rob
2 years 11 months ago
I find the cravings on the primal diet to be relative. I am trying to significantly reduce body fat (currently at 20%, target 12%), so I am eating primal and keeping carbs to less than 50g/day. I used to binge eat sweets all the time. Now, its relative. Instead of craving a cupcake, I crave a bowl of blackberries with a bit of stevia. (But holy cow, 1c of blackberries has 16g carbs!) It is about deprivation…but its also about training your body to crave healthier items. Try eating ultra low carb for a while and you’ll be amazed how… Read more »
Steve Obermeier
2 years 11 months ago

I have tried so many different diets in my life and nothing compares to just making a lifestyle change and sticking to it. Eating healthy makes you feel so much better throughout the day.

Jerri Heaton
Jerri Heaton
2 years 11 months ago

I agree 100% with this article! It’s all about lifestlye change! Since moving towards being Primal I have had SO many people ask me what “diet” I’m on and I’m forever explaining to them that I will never change back to my old habits…….therefore I am NOT on a diet!! 🙂

Paleo-curious
2 years 11 months ago
I wonder how much the sense of deprivation among Primal eaters is tied to stressors outside the diet itself. One of the things that I most respect about this site is the emphasis on lifestyle factors outside the food spectrum. I see in myself a crystal-clear connection of unhealthy food cravings with stress, lack of sleep, &/or lack of fulfillment in some other aspect of life. It helps me so much NOT to focus on the food itself (“good” or “bad”), but to look for the underlying cause. It’s not always easy to address these factors but when I do,… Read more »
Carol
Carol
2 years 11 months ago
I second this whole-heartedly. This has been exactly my experience. VERY rarely is it that I’m just wanting to enjoy some food for the merits of that food alone. (Exceptions could possibly be at Thanksgiving or Christmas type of celebrations, when someone who cares about you has made you something homemade and wonderful – those cases are often “just” about the food/enjoyment of the moment.) The VAST majority of the falling-off-wagon moments/meals/days/weeks (for me) is about something else entirely, whether it’s (most often) stress or lack of sleep, or (more rarely) a general dissatisfaction with something in my life. The… Read more »
Adam
2 years 11 months ago

They key to dieting is to adhere to a whole food-based diet. Obviously, short-term dieting won’t work if you retreat back to your original ways. But if you can find a good plan and stick to it, it’ll work (at which point it becomes a lifestyle).

Dave
Dave
2 years 11 months ago

I too eat a cheeseburger probably once a week with the bun. But, other days I’m meat and veggies. And burger days, I still start off with a big plate of broccoli. I think paleo is about mostly avoiding the starch as a mainsaty in your diet.. One thing I do when tempted to over grub is picture what I’m eating going through my blood stream and into my heart. That’ll make you run to the veggie drawer quick. Later.

Stacie
2 years 11 months ago
Deprivation: the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society. Based on that definition, I don’t think avoiding grains, pizza, and ice cream could be considered *real* deprivation. Those things are not necessities, even in our modern society. Food, sure. But I feel it’s more of a necessity to feed your body the food that makes it strong, healthy, and happy. I think it’s all a matter of your mindset, and I would encourage anyone that has a hard time with that to read the book by that title (Mindset, by Carol Dweck). There is… Read more »
trackback
2 years 11 months ago

[…] Question of the day: what does the term “dieting” conjure up for you? Anecdotes, laughs, regrets, frustration, anxiety? I bet there’s quite a collection of stories to be told. When I think of diets, I think it’s common to think deprivation – of calories, of real food, of satisfaction, of enjoyment, of peace of mind. […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Stacey
Stacey
2 years 11 months ago
Over the past couple of years I made some half hearted attempts to follow a paleo/primal eating plan but only for about 6 to 8 weeks at a time. Then Jan 2 of this year, I woke up with the overwhelming feeling that my body was shutting down and dying (don’t know if it was my asthma, blood sugar, or a heart attack – never went to the Dr). Anyway, long story short I decided I needed to take paleo seriously or die. Since then, I have lost over 50 pounds and I’m down 4 clothes sizes. I feel amazing… Read more »
lsh
lsh
2 years 11 months ago
I don’t feel deprived at all when I eat this way. I had several false starts, then I went about 90/10 on the ketone level of carbs for a month. Now my cravings are much weaker, and I’m defeating them one by one. I cheat about every week and a half and have anything I want for a day, maybe two. Then I go right back on this regimine. It’s easy for me, I think, because I feel so much better. My body really prefers this way of eating, and it tells me so. Joints feel better. Constipation is gone.… Read more »
trackback
2 years 11 months ago

[…] Today’s Link- Why Diets Fail […]

Ashley
Ashley
2 years 11 months ago
Before I found primal I used to think back to when I lost my baby weight and grief myself over being unable to eat better now. However I was a stay at home mom when I lost that weight. Fast forward with a full time job and babies going to school and I was frustrated when I would partake in the office donuts, quick fast food lunches and many ice cream stops. I would do it without thinking and missed when I could stay focus on my eating. I found this website over a year ago and have been hooked.… Read more »
finny
finny
2 years 11 months ago

Yep! It’s a pretty cool article yar. I have tried so many different diets in my life and nothing compares to just making a lifestyle change and sticking to it. Eating healthy makes you feel so much better throughout the day. Like this blog I’ve recently visited a simply awesome blog worldleaks.com i felt to share this to all our friends.
NYC

Barbie Estelle
Barbie Estelle
2 years 11 months ago
I’ve read this post and especially the comments with interest, as cravings have been a challenge for me. I’m a PB super-fan, Primal believer and will live my life in the Grok lifestyle. I read the book and adopted the lifestyle 80/20 over 4 years ago. As a T2Diabetic with blood glucose numbers rising, and with a Doctor whose idea of helping me went from oral to injectable drugs, the Primal lifestyle was the answer I’d been frantically searching and hoping for. I’ve lost 35 pounds, and am now drug free, with near normal blood glucose numbers. It was not… Read more »
KariVery
KariVery
2 years 11 months ago

That is awesome – so glad you listened to your instincts 🙂

Greg C
2 years 11 months ago
I think I would agree with the idea that diets don’t work long-term. It does cause stress and it requires willpower, reducing our performance or our ability to handle stress in other areas of life. But, I totally embrace the idea of experimentation, and pushing our own limits in order to learn about ourselves. Dieting and calorie-counting don’t work well in the long term, but if you have the motivation and can handle the stress in the short term, go ahead and “experiment on yourself”. People want to be told “The Answer” so they can hurry up and fix their… Read more »
trackback
2 years 11 months ago

[…] Why Diets Fail by Mark […]

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[…] [Mark's Daily Apple] Why Diets Fail […]

David Morgan
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks Mark for sharing this valuable content with us. I fully agree with you that dieting can change our brain activity. I think eating normal food if we regularly engage with exercise it will really help us.

leida
leida
2 years 11 months ago
I am with Mike W (and I will add that some food choices are banned unfairly, like legumes), but I will go even further – to lose weight on primal, food quantities are limited too. Fasting is a big part of both Paleo and Primal diet. Anyone who thinks that it is natural to hack it till lunch with black coffees kids him or herself. Paleo or Primal diet will be natural and result in a weight loss beyond shifting below the obesity line only for an individual who is not locked indoors all day, so can be distracted from… Read more »
Greg C
2 years 11 months ago
“There is no, just no such thing as weight loss without the deficit, and there is no such thing as caloric deficit without hunger.” Weight loss requires a deficit, but a deficit doesn’t require you to be hungry. Experiment with different nutrient balance. Most people find that adding more fats and reducing carbs makes them much more satisfied/satiated at a much lower calorie level. Over time your metabolism may down-regulate itself, so a “simple” calorie deficit is not a great long-term strategy. But whatever your approach, experiment with a bunch of different things before deciding on a life plan, and… Read more »
Emily
Emily
2 years 11 months ago
I have to disagree here. Please don’t confuse Paleo or Primal with calorie restriction or specifically low carb. Fasting is not necessarily a big part of it. In general, it doesn’t work well for women, despite men seeming to be fine with it. So, if you’re really hungry why are you trying to go without food? It’s prefectly natural for some of us to not eat until early afternoon, passing up breakfast and morning tea without any desire to eat at all. But it’s not planned starvation; i just don’t feel like eating at all, and have to remember to… Read more »
trackback
2 years 11 months ago

[…] Question of the day: what does the term “dieting” conjure up for you? Anecdotes, laughs, regrets, frustration, anxiety? I bet there’s quite a collection of stories to be told. When I think of diets, I think it’s common to think deprivation – of calories, of real food, of satisfaction, of enjoyment, of peace of mind. […] Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Bronwyn
Bronwyn
2 years 11 months ago
this statement is untrue: ‘There is no, just no such thing as weight loss without the deficit, and there is no such thing as caloric deficit without hunger’ completely and utterly wrong. If you follow the PB principals you can go hours and hours without food and not feel hungry. You are probably cheating and thats why you feel hungry. Most people who practice PB and dont cheat can eat eggs and bacon for breakfast not be hungry until mid afternoon, eat a healthy supper of meat and vegetables, perhaps a glass of wine AND lose weight. As far as… Read more »
john
john
2 years 11 months ago
first time commenter. a year ago i jumped on the paleo bandwagon. i will say i have seen improvements. improved skin, better digestion and better lipid numbers to name three of them. but, like many, i started down this path to lose fat so i look better naked. i am probably 90% compliant. I NEVER buy bad (non-whole) food at the grocery store and rarely eat BAD when out socially. Yet i still carry 20+ extra pounds of fat in my mid-torso. i am a male so i generally look like the other males around me in that my waist… Read more »
Katie
Katie
2 years 11 months ago

A couple of weeks into 80% primal I lost the cravings for crap food. Effortlessly. I just yesterday ate a few cookies that I used to overeat. Guess what? Meh! No great dopamine hit of pleasure. No more binges or desire to overeat.
Just clean protein and veggies some small dairy…my brain stopped obsessing about food too.

Bronwyn
Bronwyn
2 years 11 months ago

+1

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[…] Why diets fail. ”When we diet, we deliberately choose scarcity. Why? In the end, deprivation is a […]

Diane
Diane
2 years 11 months ago

I don’t find this way of eating to be too terribly deprived. I used to think to be healthy I needed to eat brown rice, tofu and steamed vegetables. Now I can eat steak and eggs with the yolks and all the salmon I could ever want. It’s awesome. Is it a weight loss miracle? No, not for me. I’m okay with it because I’ve become and continue to become the best me I can be. Healthy, happy, strong and not hungry all the time.

Elenor
Elenor
2 years 11 months ago
I’m not reliably primal {sigh} but I’m working on it. It’s hard because I hate veg — since infancy, I have never eaten them. (I’m still trying to find some that I CAN eat without gagging… but that’s a whine for another blog entry…). However, when I started cutting out the grains, I used to look a bit wistfully at the folks who had immediate bad reactions to them. I thought: Must be nice to have a self-enforcing restriction! *I* always bragged about my ‘cast-iron’ stomach (and yes, in college, I could put away a medium sized pizza by myself… Read more »
shrimp4me
shrimp4me
2 years 10 months ago
Nononono to the MSG!! Have you ever tried tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)?. Yes, it’s soy, but used in such small amounts its a far better choice than MSG. I too struggle w/ vegetables but several factors are at work— Raised on very limited veggie selections (canned green beans, carrots, canned spinach, occasional boiled cabbage (gak!!) and iceberg lettuce, so just about everything else has been a new taste for me. Possible hypertaster to both sour and bitter–much of any amount of a sour condiment completely overwhelms the other flavor of the food; bitter flavors are just not tolerable (and SO… Read more »
Jenny
2 years 11 months ago

Nice post to get inspire anybody 🙂 Apart this you may have dropped a dress size but gained an extra kilo. Tracking your progress with a blog will help you reach your fitness goals.

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