How many times have you gone on a diet only to lose your excess weight and gain it back again? When this happens, do you beat yourself up for your inability to retain the willpower necessary to reach and then maintain your goals? After all, you’re a successful, professional woman, so why can’t you just lose the weight and be done with it?

Well, what would you say if I told you that your dieting “failures” could not have been prevented, no matter how strong you are mentally and emotionally? That no matter how well you followed a program or plan, you were destined to return to a higher weight? It’s true because diets are designed to fail.

Short-Term Changes Equals Short-Term Results

First and foremost, diets are short-term and short-term changes mean short-term results. It’s like brushing your teeth for the first month of every year and expecting a stellar dental visit six months later with no cavities. It could happen, but it’s not very realistic at all.

Go for the quick-fix diet plan and you may get results, but they aren’t going to last any real length of time. This means that you are going to put yourself on the same old dieting cycle that you’ve been on too many times before, losing the weight to gain it back to lose it again. Talk about frustrating!

Instead, you need to learn how to live healthfully each and every day of your life. You have to increase positive behaviors and reduce negative ones. You have to make a conscious effort to make decisions that will get you closer to your goal instead of pushing it further away.

Restriction and Deprivation Don’t Work

Another way in which diets set you up for failure is the fact that they are based on restriction and deprivation. And what happens when you’re restricted from eating certain foods? You crave them even more!

They find their way into your thoughts during the day and your dreams at night. You become obsessed with the very foods you are told to avoid, increasing the likelihood that on a day when you’re feeling especially vulnerable, you’ll give in and binge on them, undoing all of the hard work you’ve already put in.

Spend all of your time focusing on the things you can’t have and of course you’re going to hate the process. On the other hand, if you work to add more healthful things into your life—like eating more fruits and veggies, engaging in regular stress relief, taking supplements to balance your hormones, getting physical activity doing things you love, and having more meaningful relationships—your diet will start to work itself out in a way that doesn’t feel as if you lack a thing. If anything, you will feel more abundant than you’ve ever felt before!

Diets Fight Your Natural Biological Response

In addition to diets being short-term with a focus on deprivation versus abundance, your body is set up to biologically fight dieting. When you lower the amount of calories you intake over long periods of time, your metabolism also lowers. You put your body in starvation mode where it is going to do everything it can to conserve energy, which means that weight loss becomes nearly impossible to achieve.

Sure, you’ll probably lose a few pounds when you first embark on a diet, but that pattern won’t last for long. It is only a matter of time before your body thinks it is in the middle of a famine, lowering your metabolic rate which makes it harder and harder to see any results.

Additionally, if you restrict your intake too much, your body won’t get the vitamins and minerals it needs to function efficiently. You will feel lethargic, moody, and overall unwell (sound familiar?). You’ll notice that you have a harder time concentrating at work, your hormones will feel out of whack, and you’ll not quite be yourself.

Losing the Diet Mentality

For these reasons, it is imperative that you lose your diet mentality and shift your focus. Pay less attention to what you need to remove from your life, and put more emphasis on what you need to add to it.

Do you need to eat more healthy foods, such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates? Should you be drinking more water so that your organs function as intended and your digestive system moves along easily? Is your body missing some vital nutrients that simple supplementation could easily correct?

Could you benefit from being more physically active? Would it help to say “no” to others more often so that you can say “yes” to yourself? Is it possible to spend more time on things that make you feel good about yourself, like fun hobbies or just being with family and friends?

What Can You Add?

Consider what things you can add to your life to feel more fulfilled internally and you will feel more fulfilled externally. When you lose the diet mentality, you will finally be able to lose the weight…and gain life!