• Monique Jephcote

Why don't traditional weight loss methods work?

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

“Weight loss is as simple as calories in versus calories out.”

“If you want to lose weight, it’s really simple, just figure out the equation, and stick to it.”

The above I find personally frustrating to hear.

It grinds my gears.


Especially when it’s from people who have never grappled with weight fluctuations or discomfort within their bodies, believe they are the expert on something without dedicating any time to experiential investigation or to the research, and even more so, when it’s from Health Professionals saying these comments off the cusp to vulnerable population groups.

It’s surely the fastest way to portray zero understanding of another human beings struggles and journey.

The thing is.

Nutrition IS a science.

It is.

And part of any Dietitian or Nutritionists skill set is learning and knowing the science of food, the physiology behind it, the chemistry involved, we are the expert profession in the science of food!

But the ACT OF EATING itself is NOT scientific.

It’s behavioural.

I’ll repeat that again.

EATING is NOT scientific.


It is so much more than equations that are so imperatively flawed.

We treat weight loss and bodily weight shifts as a simple science, and this is exactly why it doesn’t work.

LONG term.

To follow a basic scientific equation generally works in the short term, but long term, we know diets fail and weight is regained (usually more than in the first place) 95% of the time over a 2-5 year time period.

So what are we actually doing?

Is this actually helping?

“Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

There IS an alternative approach to dieting and these methods that just don’t seem to work for us long term.

“Weight-neutral approaches such as the Non-Diet Approach and Intuitive/Mindful Eating have resulted in decreased body dissatisfaction, decreased disordered eating and decreased depression and lead to increased sustainable, enjoyable self-care behaviours such as eating and moving well in the long term.”

If we were all robotic machines who disregarded food as any form enjoyment, emotional comfort, exploration of culture and connection, then we’d all be sticking to caloric “equations”.

But we’re not.

And this is why these methods maybe only work short term for majority of us.

We can only go so long deprived of food’s other beautiful roles in this life.

To ignore the other behavioural and psychological elements that come into food choices and eating experiences is preposterous. And also just not all that helpful to people.

Take a minute or 2 to reflect on how the above makes you feel. Have a think about your experiences with food and possible caloric restrictions and weight loss endeavours.

I sometimes forget these concepts are so new to so many people and sometimes a different perspective can be challenging to digest.

It is also always okay to find yourself disagreeing. Some people have never dealt with any of the above and it can be difficult to understand a journey one has never been on.

Just notice what comes up for you.

Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

We’re all just doing our best!

Reach out, always, if you have any questions or concerns.

The Intuitive Dietitian xx

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