This is a very tough question to answer because there are many diets that have helped millions of people to lose weight and keep the weight off. However, once they come off the diet, their weight creeps back in.
In fact, studies have shown that most people who lose excess weight regain all of it and more within a year. So, whether diets will fix your eating habits depends on a few factors.
- Is it sustainable?
If a diet is sustainable, then you can be on it for a long time and by default, that will fix your eating habits. One example is the keto diet which has millions of fans.
Many of them stay on the keto diet for years and maintain a very low carb intake. Once they become fat-adapted, even if they consume carbs occasionally, they don’t gain much weight.
On the other hand, if you’re on a fad diet that lasts 3 weeks or so just to supposedly get your beach body ready and you starve yourself for 21 days, you will lose several pounds.
But once you go back to your normal diet, you’ll gain all the pounds you’ve lost. Your eating habits have not changed.
- Is it restrictive?
Restrictive diets are difficult to follow. One example is the paleo diet which has tons of stringent rules to abide by. Even eating out is a chore.
When the diet consumes your life, compliance becomes a chore. Many people quit restrictive diets and go back to their old eating habits – while breathing a sigh of relief. The diet has failed to fix their eating habits.
- Do you like it?
If you enjoy your diet, you’ll stick to it. One example is the Mediterranean diet that’s rich in healthy fats, fish, vegetables, etc. While this may seem like a diet to those who do not live in the Mediterranean, it’s a lifestyle for those who do live there.
This is how they eat and if you adopt it, it’s sustainable and the food is delicious. Compliance with the diet will be a breeze and in this case, by adopting the Mediterranean way of eating, your eating habits will be transformed.
- Is it safe?
Safety is of paramount importance. Some diets which are highly aggressive can deliver fast results but at a steep price. Weight loss is a slow process. If you try to rush it by drastically cutting your calories, your body will go into starvation mode.
Besides that, you’ll experience mood swings, lethargy, hair loss, nutrient deficiencies, and more. None of these are conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
You’ll be so stressed out that you may develop eating disorders and more. This is NOT fixing your eating habits.
- When are diets useful?
Diets do have their time and place. If you’re obese and wish to lose weight effectively, a sensible calorie-restricted diet can help greatly.
However, you must always bear in mind that sooner or later you’ll have to transition to the food you normally eat. So, you’ll have to figure out portion sizes and a meal plan that allows you to enjoy the food you love while you maintain your new weight and keep the lost pounds from reappearing.
You may wish to hire a nutritionist to help you here. If you love the diet and think this is going to be a lifestyle choice, then your eating habits will be permanently modified, and you can just keep going.
To conclude, use a diet to accelerate your weight loss, but unless you’re making it a permanent fixture in your life, do plan out what you’ll do once you get off the diet. That’s the best way to go about it.