Too often we are sold the AFTER picture, the shiny and smiling person brimming with newfound confidence. But what about the after after photo? What does the new normal look like? Six months later, has someone maintained this weight loss sustainably and successfully? Many women find themselves trapped in the cycle of on-again off-again dieting without understating why these same diets keep failing to provide them with long-lasting results. Here are the top 5 reasons why diets don’t work: 1. Diets focus solely on restricting whole food groups The latest trends: Keto and plant-based diets focus on restricting one food group over another. These diets are extremely restrictive and create an unhealthy relationship with food, making one scared of carbs or scared to eat off the plan. Cutting out whole food groups will result in rapid fat loss but rigidity and restrictiveness mean the long-term implications on socializing, cooking and cravings mean that people will just return to old patterns and the weight will return. 2. A sense of panic Did you know diets have two key seasons? Pre-summer and end of the year. That is when people are feeling the most vulnerable about their weight or bodies and are more likely to burn money on short-term solutions like shakes and weight loss pills. Marketers know this and will prey on the vulnerabilities with bikini body season and "get your 6-pack for summer". 3. Diets for life The second we start to go into an energy deficit our body switches on a defence mechanism. The human body does not like to be restricted to energy and as such when we diet it will set-off a range of physical and hormonal systems designed to stop weight loss and ensure weight returns. The longer that you stay in a deficit, the stronger these systems work to stop weight loss. Long-term calorie deficit not only messes up your hormones but makes you believe that we are not working hard enough to lose weight. 4. Our relationship with food Disordered ways of thinking about food and dieting and getting stuck in the black and white thinking patterns around what we eat can ensure that we are forever in a merry go round of guilt and shame. Choosing to make choices that are in alignment with our health and our goals is a sustainable way to eat without the guilt. 5. Our relationship with ourselves Weight and our bodies become a symbol of our worthiness and as such we punish ourselves to get the results we want. Using dieting as a way to manage feelings of unworthiness ensure that no matter what changes in your body you will never feel satisfied internally. Lu-lu Thompson is a sports nutritionist, counsellor and personal trainer who can help you repair and rebuild your relationship with food. You can find out more about her here.