If you have opened this article hoping for a miracle one-step solution to long term weight loss which involves eating no carbs after 6pm, fasting twice a week or drinking a particular brand of shake, then I am afraid you will be very disappointed.
I don't intend to offer you a clear answer to why you may be failing to lose weight, but I do hope to spark the flame of a journey to long-term health that every person achieving lasting results must travel.
The average dieter in the UK starts and fails four new diets a year, losing an average of 3kgs before they start gaining the weight back again.
In most of these cases the dieter blames the diet plan as being unsuitable, unsustainable or both, accusations which are usually in turn both unfair and untrue.
Intermittent fasting is is the latest trend with a myriad of successful case studies extolling its infinite virtues.
This new method will deliver results, but no more than any previous dieting trends which have arrived accompanied by the usual celebrity endorsements and jaw dropping case studies.
Having worked with people seeking weight loss for over 10 years I can confidently declare that most sensible diets work, from a physiological perspective at least.
I have seen success with raw food diets just as often as high protein diets, and I have seen exceptional results achieved with intermittent fasting and almost every diet system that has ever reached our national psyche.
Nutrition is simple, If you carefully consider the type and quantity of foods you are eating there is an excellent chance you will drop pounds, regardless of the protocol.
Although it is true that most diet work in the short term, it is equally true that none have consistent success in the long term.
Most people who come to visit us at our personal training studio are desperate for an answer after years of trying different diet plans and exercise regimes to no avail.
They usually end up at our doors because they have tried "everything", yet we frequently manage to achieve results using the very same diet and exercise plans they have been unsuccessful for them many times before.
If we achieve lasting results with a diet plan which has failed to generate results in the past it seems fair to conclude that the details of the diet or even exercise had nothing to do with either their failure or their success.
I consider a weight loss campaign to be a combination of strategy and tactics.
If we can agree that the diet plan and exercise represent the tactics executed in our attempt to lose weight then perhaps we can see that it is the absence of a strategy rather than incorrect tactics that dictate the outcome.
Most people believe that by getting the tactics right they can expect results and this is why the diet industry is focused on delivering new tactics for every season and reason they can think of.
Tactics are simple. They are quick to implement, require little thought and offer easily digestible, bite size solutions.
"Stop eating carbohydrates".
"Eat just 500 calories less a day and you will lose 1lb a week".
"If you can fast for two days a week you can eat whatever you like on the other 5 days and you will still lose weight".
"To lose weight all you have to do is eat less and move more."
Compare the marketing virtues of the above with those of strategy as the solution to weight loss.
"Losing weight successfully is an integrative process that requires extensive consideration of a number of tactical factors including sleeping patterns, hormonal profile, lifestyle, previous behavior patterns, cravings, digestion, work schedule, goals, motivations, recovery, mindset, nutrition, exercise and any number of other relevant factors. "
You can see the problem represented when trying to sell strategy over tactics to the prospective dieter. If you feel this overcomplicates the process remember that the money made in in the weight loss industry is constantly recycled through the system by selling tactics.
90% of dieters fail and 90% of dieters try to "eat less and move more" by adopting a variety of tactics.
Losing weight in the short term is very simple and any good tactics will get you there, but losing weight in the long term is strategic and needs consideration of the psychological, the physiological and the biochemical.
An integrated strategy can flip the 90% of failures to 90% of successes but is too complex a message to become mainstream. It needs too much preparation and hard work.
In many ways this article probably asks more questions than it answers, but that is the point.
Until you are able to stand back from the desire to find the immediate answer you will be forever stuck in the weight loss carousel which profits from your perpetual failure.