Only a very small percentage of people that start a diet will actually finish it and get the results they want. You can greatly increase your odds of being one of the successful people by simply understanding why diets fail, and then taking action to work around these problems. The following are my top 10 reasons why diets fail.
Peer pressure is one of the toughest obstacles when it comes to dieting. When you start a diet program, the people around you will either support you or tear you down. You have to ignore their negativity and focus on your true goal of being healthy. If they have a problem with the way you eat, then that’s their own problem, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You don’t have to explain your personal actions to anybody.
If you want to be fit, you need to surround yourself with fit people. The people that are closest to you are highly influential in the way you conduct your lifestyle. By surrounding yourself with fit people, they can be a source of inspiration and motivation instead of making you feel like the odd ball out. Just hang in there and remember that your decision to get healthy is the right one.
2. Not Eating Enough
I’ve talked about this countless times. When you don’t eat enough calories, it causes all kinds of negative feedback loops in the body. From hormone changes, to mood fluctuations, eating too few calories will only serve to work against you in your fat loss goals. Not eating enough food ranks up there at the very top of reasons for why diets fail.
If you’re not sure how much you should be eating, check out how many calories should I eat? This will help you make sure you are eating as many calories as possible that will still allow you to lose weight. By doing this, you keep your important muscle building and fat loss hormones high. Hormones like testosterone, growth hormone, and thyroid will be optimized, and that will foster an environment that is conducive to not just weight loss, but fat loss.
3. You’re Dieting Instead of Changing Your Lifestyle
The successful people don’t diet, they undergo a lifestyle change. If you are one of those people that has a hard time dieting, what are you going to do when your diet is over? You need to lay out a plan that will forever change your lifestyle. By doing this, you increase your rate of success not just now, but well into the future. After all, what’s the point in losing 10 pounds if you are going to be lost again once you get there? Focus on building a “diet” that is sustainable and will be part of your life forever.
4. Binge Eating
Who here binge eats? I’m guilty of that myself more often than I’d like to admit. It happens because processed food is addicting. Nothing will derail you from your diet faster than a good old binge session. You know what I’m talking about. You turn on a movie, order a pizza, some ice cream, and some snacks, and you just go to town. It tastes oh so great, but you probably just ate close to 3500 calories. That’s the equivalent of one pound. More than likely, that pound is going to be stored as fat. You just undid a great week of healthy eating. The way I see it, you have two options.
You can either:
(A) Binge eat – be happy now that you’re eating delicious food, but feel bad later after the guilt sets in.
(B) Eat a healthy snack instead – be sad now because you feel deprived, but feel happy about your good decision later.
Either way, you are going to be both happy and sad about your decision. But if you choose option (B), you’re going to look better tomorrow. So choose wisely!
5. Lack of Nutrients
Another reason why diets fail is because of a lack of nutrients. Let’s put aside the fact that they are vital for important body functions. Your body is going to get the nutrients it needs even if it has to force you to eat them. The brain sends your body “feed me” signals when it needs calories and nutrients. If you are undernourished, your brain is so powerful that it will keep telling you to eat until you get those vital nutrients. If you aren’t eating a nutrient dense diet, it will be very likely that you go over your necessary weight loss calories in order to get your vitamin quota. Eat foods that are nutrient dense and calorie sparse.
6. Diet Foods Taste Bad
Yuck! I hate dieting because all the food tastes bad. I can understand why people would say that. When you go from eating pizza to eating fish and chicken, the transition for your taste buds can be a difficult one. A little patience can go a long way though. After a transitional period, your taste buds will adapt, and believe it or not, you might just find yourself craving some of the diet foods that you once despised. Regardless, diet foods don’t have to be boring. With a little imagination, any food dish can be made into something great.
7. Slow Weight Loss
Ugh! The scale is moving sooooooo slow. Or hey, maybe it isn’t even moving at all. If you’re working out and eating right, I want you to focus on your body composition. Let’s not forget that the weight you put on was probably added over a lifetime. You can’t expect to just drop it all in a matter of weeks. Losing weight is easy, but losing fat takes some planning and time. Focus on losing .5-1% body fat per week, and you’ll be happier in the long run. Plus, it will be more sustainable over time.
Take this for example:
A 180 pound person at 20% body fat loses .5% of body fat per week for 12 weeks. He just went from 20% body fat to 14%. How can you complain about that! And that’s based on the assumption that he didn’t put on any muscle. If he did, his body would have made an even more dramatic transformation.
8. Can’t Control Cravings
Controlling cravings is one of the hardest parts of dieting, and one of the top reasons why diets fail. Once you feel deprived, it just makes you want something that much more. If you can distinguish between the psychological cravings and the physical ones, you’ll be better armed to make a good decision. Once you start understanding your own body’s behavior, you can start to better control it.
9. Lack of Exercise
Are you trying to diet without exercising? If you are, you might want to reconsider. While your diet plays one of the largest roles in weight loss, the synergy that is created when you combine diet, exercise, and recovery will help keep your fat loss moving forward.
Exercise plays a vital role in creating an optimal hormonal environment for weight loss. Exercise helps you build muscles, and optimizes important fat loss hormones. Testosterone, growth hormone, and thyroid, are all increased under the stimulation of exercise. Make sure you are incorporating exercise into your fitness program. It’s incomplete without it, and will just make it that much harder to diet.
10. You Don’t Track Progress
Not tracking your progress –probably the number one cause of discouragement. How can you tell if you’re progressing if you aren’t measuring your progress? I’m not talking about using a scale either. The scale is worthless. You need to be measuring your body fat. Make sure you are keeping a journal. Write down all the food you eat. Take pictures of yourself every once in a while, and buy yourself a set of body fat calipers. Your mind can play big tricks on you, and you can get discouraged from continuing your diet just as you are starting to make progress. Don’t be a victim of scale mentality. Be sure you are tracking your progress.
So there you have it – my top 10 reasons why diets fail. I have personally experienced every single one of these, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you so you can learn from my mistakes. What about you? Do you have a tip that has helped you stay on the healthy lifestyle track? We would love to hear it.