The Number One Book You Need To Read If You've Failed Every Diet You've Ever Tried

Have you ever started a new diet, all fired up and excited and ready to go all-in, stuck with it for about a month or so, lost a couple of pounds, and then the flame you started with began to steadily burn out? You gain back the weight you lost during your diet, and a few extra pounds creep in as well.

You started out so strong; you had your eye on the prize and you were fully committed to the task at hand. You stuck to the rules and regulations of the diet you chose to pursue, even though it was challenging. You spent the money necessary to buy the right foods, kitchenware, and exercise plans. You even refrained from “bad” foods like chocolate and ice cream and ate only the “good” foods your diet promoted.

You feel as though you failed yourself. You’d made a promise to yourself that this time would be different; this time it would stick. You’d lose all the weight you wanted to lose, and you’d keep it off.

You were sold on the idea that you were making a life change; no more pizza and chicken wings, only salads and all things fat-free. You felt as though you’d be able to make it work this time. After all, this was about your health. Those stubborn 10 or so pounds had taken up space for far too long and you were ready to say a final goodbye. You’d feel better, you’d look better, and you’d be better if you didn’t have the unwanted weight hanging around.

Over the course of the next few months, you eat more than usual out of sadness and frustration. Why couldn’t you just stick to a simple diet, you ask yourself. Other people made it work; you always saw those Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig advertisements that celebrated their victors, having lost the weight and kept it off. But you felt as though you failed every diet you’d ever tried.

From intermittent fasting to skinny teas, from Keto to juice cleanses, you’ve experimented with it all. You’ve tried every diet under the sun without any long-lasting results, but you’re determined. You feel as though your extra 10 pounds are literally weighing you down. You feel as though it’s preventing you from living your best life, and you want it gone.

So, you hop onto the next diet trend. You commit, stick to it for a short time, and then slowly begin to fall off track. The cycle begins, and you feel again as though you can’t win. You’ve already gained back the few pounds you lost, and you feel defeated.

Many of us can relate to this story. Diets promise lasting results, but they fairly often deliver. Maybe we’re making the wrong assumption, however. Maybe you’re not the one failing the diet; maybe the diet is failing you. If you feel like you’ve failed every diet you ever tried, there is a life-changing book for you to pick up and start reading today. Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, Ph.D. is your new Bible. 

Health at Every Size takes a completely different approach to the topic of weight loss than any other diet book. Instead of laying out step-by-step instructions on how to lose weight, the book focuses on the idea that you can be healthy at the weight that you are at the present moment and promotes the cultivation of a healthy life at your current weight.

Health at Every Size touches on exercise and what it does and does not do for the body, the chemical balance of the body, myths of nutrition, what is perceived as "healthy" versus "unhealthy," the scientific ways the body operates in order to protect itself, and the societal reasons we are unhappy with our bodies as they are. 

As a disclaimer, the concepts discussed in Health at Every Size are not aimed at the obese, but at those who may be slightly over their healthy-range BMI.

What Are The Cons of Dieting?

The idea of calories in, calories out creates a deficit that allows us to shed pounds at a steady pace. However, Health at Every Size tells us the body is not something that can be quite so easily manipulated. Bacon employs studies and research that inform us otherwise.

Bacon zeroes in on how intuitive and smart the body is. She tells us that the body knows what to do; it knows how to regulate itself and it knows how to store and utilize fat in order to function in the most effective way possible. If the body is carrying more fat than it needs, it knows how to change the function and operation of the body in order to manage the excess.

Is Not Eating Bad For You?

“Denying your hunger leads to compensatory mechanisms that trigger fat storage and weight gain,” Bacon tells us that when we try to take full control over our bodies instead of allowing them to function how they know best they take action to protect themselves.

Bodies were not made to lose weight; they were made to take in calories and expel them back into the world. They were made to properly regulate themselves as long as we honor our hunger and fullness cues, eating what and when we need to, listening to what our bodies are telling us.

Health at Every Size challenges the whole concept of dieting and promotes the idea of intuitive eating while providing strategies and steps on how to do so. Bacon throws the weight loss mentality out the window, telling us that our bodies know best, and we need to simply trust them instead of forcing them to become smaller and take up less space. If we trust our bodies, they will not disappoint us.

Why Don't I Have Enough Willpower?

“When you stop trying to control your weight through willpower, your body starts doing the job for you – naturally, and much more effectively.”

Our bodies know what weight we’re supposed to carry; our pre-determined healthy weight is known as our “set point.” The body will do everything in its power to keep us within the range of our set point and will undermine any diet tactics we try to use against it. Not only does the body literally fight against our defenses in order to stay within that set point, dieting only serves to push up our set point, causing us to weigh more than we did before the diet.

The body knows what to do, and it knows how to do it. When we attempt to starve ourselves or only eat certain foods in order to minimize our size and waistline, we are undermining what our bodies are truly capable of.

Why Don't Diets Work? 

Bacon believes in promoting the idea that you didn’t fail the diet; the diet failed you. Your body is physically fighting against your weight-loss tactics, doing what it needs to do in order to protect itself from the starvation you’re impressing upon it.

After dieting, it’s extremely common to regain the weight you lost, as well as a few extra pounds. Bacon tells us that “you regained the weight because the contributors to your body weight, such as what, when, and how much you eat, as well as how you expend energy (including your inclination to move), are not completely under conscious control.” You can try your hardest to force your body to take up less space, but it won’t shrink without a fight.

Instead of fighting our hunger, we need to accept and embrace it. “Maintaining the right weight for you is about respecting your hunger and trusting your body to guide you in doing what’s best,” Health at Every Size preaches.

What Are The Benefits of Eating A Balanced Diet? 

Diets focus on cutting things out. They tell you not to eat this, not to eat that, eat only this and deny yourself everything else. However, we know that denying ourselves something makes us crave it even more, and that is one of the reasons we “fail” our diets. Our body is craving a certain thing and we don’t allow it to partake in its desire. However, the craving only grows stronger and doesn’t stop until it’s satisfying.

Diets tell us that food causes weight gain. Therefore, we must eat less of this and that, and drastically reduce our caloric intake. However, we as humans get a natural delight and enjoyment from food because food is not only necessary for survival, it’s also meant to taste good.

“The pleasure we get from food is too often viewed as indulgent or sinful, rather than as valuable support for nourishing ourselves. We’ve learned to deny or control our hunger, rather than honor and celebrate it.”

Humans were created to eat. Our bodies need and crave food in order to survive, and we as individuals have our own personal taste preferences for what we like and don’t like. Food is an intricate part of our lives, and Health at Every Size details the ways in which we can embrace that.

What Is The Diet Industry Telling Us?

We shouldn’t be trying to make ourselves smaller. We should be eating nutritionally balanced meals and snacks in order to nourish ourselves to the fullest degree and to provide our bodies with the natural medicine they need to function to the best of their ability.

Diets don’t work; it’s as simple as that. They peddle false promises, tell us that we’ll feel better about ourselves when we’re smaller. All we have to do is eat less and exercise more and we’ll magically love ourselves. That, however, is a fabricated message the diet industry is selling, and we need to quit buying into it.  

Not only is the diet industry lying to us, but it's also sucking up all our money. Millions of Americans are putting themselves on diets daily, and stacks of cash are being thrown into weight loss programs and diet foods. Statistics tell us that we are fighting a losing battle; we simply won't live in a thin world. 

How Does Health at Every Size Benefit Me?

Linda Bacon’s literature promotes the idea of eating not only for nourishment but also for joy. Food was made to be enjoyed, and we should enjoy it. We shouldn’t punish ourselves for being the size we are by putting strict regulations on what we can and cannot eat. We should embrace the size we are, eat in moderation what sounds genuinely good to us, and allow ourselves the ability to fully experience life and all it has to offer us.

Excerpts in quotations are taken from Health at Every Size. 

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Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash 
Eden is a 26-year-old Aries who loves learning and exploring mental health, self-love, self-care, and eating disorder recovery.

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