Obesity in the United States has almost tripled, from 13% in the 1960s to 38% today. Obesity is a serious health risk for millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the obese suffer higher rates of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, depression, some cancers, and a host of other ailments.
Weight loss programs to combat obesity are now a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet most customers fail to achieve long-term weight loss. Why? There are 3 reasons that diets fail:
• Eating the wrong food,
• Ineffective motivation, and
• A lack of convenience.
Eating the Wrong Food
First, according to the USDA, the average American consumes 64% of calories from processed food: added fats and oils (26%), refined grains (19%), added sugar (15%), and processed meat (4%). These are low-fiber foods that make weight loss difficult.
Yet many diets recommend eating the standard American diet of predominantly processed foods but trying to eat less of it. These diets rarely succeed long-term.
A healthy, whole-food, plant-based diet:
• Avoids processed foods,
• Limits animal foods, and
• Eats abundantly of high-fiber, high-nutrient foods.
High-fiber, high-nutrient foods include:
• Nuts and seeds, and
• Whole grains.
There is much evidence that a high-fiber, high-nutrient, plant-based diet is the best diet for good health and for sustained weight loss.
According to a publication by the CDC (Eat More, Weigh Less? How to manage your weight without being hungry): “Foods that have a lot of water or fiber and little fat are usually low in calorie density. They will help you feel full without an unnecessary amount of calories.”
Foods that are high in water and fiber are satisfying foods that make long-term weight loss maintenance easier.
The second reason diets fail is that they do not offer an effective, sustained, long-term motivational program. When the initial enthusiasm for the diet wanes and the inevitable social pressures arise, diets fail.
The motivation program of a successful weight loss plan should focus on reinforcing the benefits of a high-fiber, high-nutrient diet. A program of freely available resources (including audiobooks, online videos, DVDs, and books) that reinforce the benefits of adopting and following a whole-food, plant-based diet should be the cornerstone of a long-term weight loss motivation plan. In addition a wide array of other strategies that have proven effective for long-term weight loss maintenance should be recommended.
A Lack of Convenience
The third reason that diets fail is that they are not convenient. Processed grocery store convenience foods and restaurant dining have made the standard American diet extremely convenient. What could be more convenient than a bag of candy or chips or a restaurant meal?
Advocates of healthy, whole-food eating offer meals that require a good deal of time to shop for, prepare and clean up. The successful diet plan makes preparing and cleaning up healthy meals fast and easy by using such modern marvels as microwave ovens and frozen vegetables.
To summarize, the requirements for a successful weight loss program are:
• Eating the right food,
• An effective motivational program, and
• Convenient meals that can be prepared quickly and easily.