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Academy of the Sierras will appear on Extreme Makeover on ABC Monday July 9 at 9 p.m. Watch to see how AOS helps overweight teens become permanent weigh controllers!

Keep it Simple: Complex Diets Don’t Work

I tried the whole South Beach, Weight Watchers, Slim-Fast thing. None of them worked. What happened was I ended up not eating. I wouldn’t eat for like two weeks at a time. I lost a bunch of weight doing that, but then I ended up getting really dizzy all the time. I just ate again and all the weight came right back. I was desperate and confused and didn’t know what to do. I was amazed that the Sierras Solution seemed so easy and flexible. It’s something I can really live with and I have been living with it for many months now outside of AOS.

– Courtney D.

In Weight Watchers you have to convert all the points and such, that’s a hassle. Plus I think the significance of so many fat grams, it hits you more than a bunch of points. In our society we usually associate points as a good thing: we score 20 points, yay for us. But 20 points, that could be – I don’t know, I’ll say a bizarre number – 70 grams of fat and you’re not done your day. If you see the 70 grams, I think you’re gonna react more.

– Lawrence M.

I did Slim-Fast and other liquid drinks that would count as meals. I tried not eating at all. I tried bulimia here and there, but it got pretty crazy after a while and I stopped that. I just kept binging and binging. When I was a little kid, I even made a feeble attempt that my parents thought was pretty funny. I said, ‘I am not eating anymore,’ and I put a broom handle through the refrigerator doors. I obviously felt desperate some of the time and confused most of the time. That’s one of the things I love about the Sierras Solution. There’s nothing confusing about it. When I was five years old, I could have understood it!

– Jarrett F.

Courtney D. and Jarrett F. tried losing weight by following various complicated diets. They also demonstrated some desperation by doing such things as not eating at all and developing a binging and purging problem. Their parents felt desperate too, and tried getting them help that would make a difference.

Complex diets are hard to remember and to keep in focus. Decades of research have demonstrated that complex rules are simply harder to follow, especially over an extended period of time. Also, the more complex the rules are, the more excuses you have not to follow them. For example, if you’re trying to follow The Zone diet, which advocates a complex regimen of ensuring that calories from carbs, proteins and fats are balanced at 40:30:30, can you order the double-fudge chocolate cake on the menu (mostly fat)? Sure you can! As long as you have more protein and even more carbs later in the day!

Someone could fill a book with all the crazy food decisions people on diets have made by rationalizing their way through complex diet rules.

In the stories above, Courtney D. and Jarrett F. notice one remarkable thing about the Sierras Solution: It is amazingly simple.

Learn about the three simple, yet profound, directives in the Sierras Solution >>

Definition of Simple Goals: Action Oriented, Measurable, and Associated with Immediate Feedback

The three goals that form the foundation of the Sierras Solution are simple because they do all three things.

First, they all clearly suggest a course of action. The first directive suggests eating very little fat; the second goal suggests staying active and wearing a pedometer; the final goal directs weight controllers to create a daily record about key target behaviors (i.e., eating, activity).

Read about the second and third goals of the Sierras Solution >>