January 29, 2018

Dear Melissa: I’ve Tried Every Diet… and Failed. Help.

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Dear Melissa,

How do I get started with the Whole30 when I’ve tried everything and failed? – Jessica


The short answer is, read (or listen to) Food Freedom Forever.

You’ve tried every diet and failed, because calorie-restrictive diets SET YOU UP to fail. But once you get the diet mindset in your head—that it’s all about the scale, that you just have to be stronger/tougher/have more willpower, that there’s a magic fix and if you only do THIS short-term weight loss fix, everything will magically change forever—it’s really hard to get it OUT of your head. You feel like unless you’re hungry, suffering, depriving yourself, using all your willpower, you won’t be successful, and your only definition of “success” is seeing the number on the scale go down.

You don’t want to do that again, because every time you start the cycle, achieve short-term success, but find yourself back in old habits (and regaining all the weight you lost), you feel like a failure. Like it’s your fault. And next time you vow to be stronger/tougher/have more willpower… but your metabolism is screwed, your self-confidence is down, and you didn’t learn any new healthy habits from the old plan, which means your chances of succeeding with the NEXT quick-fix-weight-loss diet is basically zero.

Let’s NOT do that again. I wrote Food Freedom Forever as the antidote to the weight loss diet—and it’s not just that the program it recommends (the Whole30) is totally different from anything you’ve ever done. It’s that the way we approach the Whole30, from the bottom up, is totally different.

The book spends time breaking you OUT of the diet mentality, and shows you another way to look at the food you put on your plate, your way of eating, and your relationship with food. And every time I anticipate you thinking about the 3-part plan like you did your old diets, I gently bring you back around to the new way of thinking. (I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know what you’re thinking and when.)

More than any of the other Whole30 books, Food Freedom Forever focuses on the psychological and emotional relationship you’ve had with food and your “diet,” and how to gently correct your thinking FIRST, so when you begin your Whole30 reset, you’re not trying to stuff the program into a weight loss diet box. (That’s a sure way to tweak your Whole30 for failure.) I really think the book will be helpful, if for no other reason than it acknowledges all the reasons why you’ve tried everything and failed, and shows you exactly why it’s not all your fault.

Amazon offers a substantial preview of the book, which you can read in the window that we’ve embedded below. You can find the book at your favorite bookstore or online retailer, ask a friend to borrow their copy, or request it from your local library if you’re still unsure.

But I’m not unsure. This is the book to which I am the most closely emotionally connected, and it’s because I’ve heard your question thousands of times, and poured my heart into these pages in response. Take a chance on the Whole30, and on my Food Freedom plan. Stay connected to the process and our community for motivation, support, and love. And remember, you are far more powerful than those other programs have led you to believe.

Best in Health,

Order Your Copy Today

Got a question for Melissa? Submit it here.

Remember, we aren’t answering questions about the Whole30 rules via this column (use the forum!), nor are we able to offer you specific advice about your medical issue, health condition, or body composition.

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Melissa Urban is a Certified Sports Nutritionist, and a 5-time New York Times bestselling author (It Starts With Food; The Whole30; Food Freedom Forever; The Whole30 Cookbook; The Whole30 Day by Day; and The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook). She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Details, Outside, SELF, and Shape as the co-founder of the Whole30 program. Melissa lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

Photo credit: Marie Carmel Photography