While changing your eating habits is the best thing you can do if losing weight is your goal, there’s a difference between “diet” as in changing how you eat, and “going on a diet”.
“Going on a diet” tends to foster the mentality of a quick, temporary solution. You’ll go on this diet, and once you hit your goal weight, you can go back to eating “normally” again. But losing weight is a long, slow process. You have to play the long game. And weight loss is definitely a mental game. While you might have a certain event in mind you want to lose weight for, you also want to be as healthy as you can be for the rest of your life. You have to define a new “normal”. If you simply go back to your previous eating habits after hitting your goal, you’ll gain the weight back, and end up where you started.
This “quick fix” mentality tends to also foster impatience. Many diets make claims about how quickly you can lose weight that are nearly impossible to emulate. So you try it, don’t see the results as quickly as you’d like, and so you figure it’s not working, and switch to something else. The process takes time, and you also have to give it time to work.
Not all diets are good for you. You can still end up overeating on some diets. Usually, this is by not sticking to them strictly. But just because a food is “healthy” doesn’t mean you can eat as much of it as you want. For example, if you go on a Paleo diet, you should be eating lots of vegetables. But too often, people cut out some starches, and say “I can have as much bacon as I want!” That’s not good for your cholesterol. Fruit is chock-full of healthy micronutrients, but it also has a lot of sugar and tends to be calorically dense.
The key to making a diet work for you is to only make changes you can stick with for life. Remember, reaching your goal and going back to your previous habits will put you right back where you started. Think of this as a life long process to keep good health. You are not just losing weight, but keeping it off. And if you want those permanent results, you will have to make permanent changes.
All that said, following a traditional “diet” can help you get started with your weight loss journey. It serves as a road map telling you where to go and where not to tread. For help on deciding what sort of diet is right for you, check out my free Ultimate 13-Diet Comparison Guide.