The word “diet” can have two meanings: first, diet as the foods that a person, animal, or community habitually eats; and second, diet as the temporary and restrictive program of eating small amounts or special kinds of foods to lose weight. It is when we use diet in the latter sense that these do not work.

Going on a diet or temporarily reducing your food intake to achieve your dream body may allow you to drop those unwanted pounds. But, if you’re goal is to maintain that weight for the long-term and stay fit and healthy, then dieting fails in its promise.

Here are the primary reasons why diets do not work:

Diets do not teach you proper eating habits. The key to long-term weight management is to learn how to eat well and in proper portions. Starving yourself, skipping meals, or significantly reducing your intake teaches you nothing but deprivation.

Diets can slow down your metabolism. Eating considerably less can wreak havoc on your metabolism. When you stop eating, your body goes on defensive mode thinking that it is starving and it will hold on to your fats more. Your metabolism slows down and, in the event that you go back to your regular diet, you may even gain more weight than when you started.

Diets differ in their effect on each person. What works for one individual may not work for the other. Overly restrictive diets, such as those that ban entire food groups, can help one person drop weight but may actually not be good for another.

Diets can lead to eating disorders. Experts say that people who begin diets are 8 times more likely to have eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

Diets are not fun! Eating well-prepared, wholesome, and delicious food should be enjoyable and even fun. Making food your enemy and not eating at all can leave you out of bonding activities with friends, new experiences, or special occasions in your life.

To live a healthy life, it’s best to drop your “diet” and your fear of food. Learn to make peace with the foods on your plate and enjoy eating healthy, wholesome meals while nourishing your body.