Why is it so hard for women to find dieting success?

You started every dieting method you can think of—whether it’s drinking weight loss shakes, eating nothing but grapefruit, or avoiding carbohydrates—only to find yourself back to your old habits in a few weeks. Maybe you bought weights, an exercise bike or a treadmill, only to find them in a corner collecting dust or piles of laundry months later. And even if you do follow these diet and exercise plans’ special techniques to help you ditch those extra pounds, their results don’t seem to last very long. Sometimes you even end up gaining weight instead of losing it. So why do these diet plans always seem to fail?

According to Naweko San-Joyz, author of Skinny Fat Chicks (Noixia’s Reading Circle, 2005), it may not be the diet that’s the problem—it might be you. “Women diet to lose weight fast,” says San-Joyz. “When this does not happen, or the weight returns, the diet takes the blame. In truth, it is not the fault of the diet, but the misunderstanding of the woman that causes dieting failures.”

Women, San-Joyz believes, should view dieting as an education about their bodies and how they function. Unfortunately, most women choose to avoid healthy eating and exercise techniques in exchange for promises of quick results and drastic physical changes. This lack of knowledge and continual inability to find a sensible weight loss plan creates what San-Joyz terms “skinny fat chicks,” or women who damage their health with flawed dieting and exercise methods.

“Some women may destroy their dieting ambitions and end up heavier than they started,” she says. “At the other end of the scale, a woman may starve herself, sacrificing precious muscle mass in the process. While this woman may look skinny, she’s literally becoming skin, fat and bones.”

So how do you learn to maintain a reasonable diet and stay in shape longterm? San-Joyz says it’s as simple as addressing three critical issues: your identity crisis, educational crisis and celebration crisis. This means understanding why you want to diet, creating and using a sensible diet plan for yourself and learning to celebrate once you’ve figured out how to keep your body at optimal performance levels—not rejoicing because you’ve lost another pound. By embracing these principles, you learn not only to cultivate a healthy lifestyle, but also to continue staying fit for a lifetime.

Skinny Fat Chicks offers a wealth of advice on the pitfalls of unhealthy dieting, as well as a good deal of guidance in the mastery of sensible eating. But this isn’t a book about dieting—it’s a book about self-discovery and self-worth. “When you really get this dieting thing, you become a new woman, a more self-confident woman and a more self-reliant woman,” San-Joyz explains. “Dieting success happens when you stop panicking about how you look and stop torturing yourself with fad diets and start to create acts of self-love in your life. That’s the first step to dieting success: putting you and your needs first.”

From the Dec. 28, 2005-Jan. 3, 2006, issue

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