The Main Reasons Why Diets Fail

So many of us go on diets, and so many of us fail. Why is that? Diets, and dieting, are an unrealistic way to lose weight. While they do provide quick and rapid weight loss, their methods include starving the body of necessary nutrients through crazy concotions and blends or eating rules. Because of this, as soon as you come off the diet, the weight just comes straight back. While looking at the main reasons why diets fail, you will see that a commitment to long term lifestyle changes is the best way to find the happy, healthier you.

1. Underestimating Calorie Intake

Most people completely underestimate the number of calories they consume each day. The difference between serving sizes can add up to hundreds and hundreds of calories. People often also don’t count their drinks or ‘nibbles’ of food they have had, which already has a lot of sugar and fat that isn’t being factored into your weight loss plan.

The best way to overcome this is by keeping a diary and writing down EVERYTHING you eat and drink during the day. To keep portions reasonable, pay attention to serving sizes and use measuring cups and spoons. If you are eating out, because your plate is full, doesn’t mean you need to eat it all. The same goes for home cooking, you don’t need to fill the plate if you will be full after eating only half. Take out or food at restaurants tend to be larger portions and higher in fat and calories. If it is possible, try looking up the nutritional information before going to your favourite take out joint or restaurant, so you have some idea of the calorie content in each meal, and you can make an informed, healthy choice of what to eat.


2. Overestimating Activity and Calories Burned

Most people don’t realise how much active exercise they have to do in order to burn off calories. Usually, to lose a pound a week, you would need to cut 500 calories per day. This is very difficult to do by simply exercising, as it would require at least an hour of vigorous activity every day. Most of us just don’t have the time to commit to such an intense workout every day. A better way to manage your weight loss goal is to try and increase your daily activity to get a total of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise, and team it up with a healthy balance of food as discussed previously. If you keep a diary of what you have consumed, and how much exercise you have done, it will help you to see and keep track of your weight loss, as well as motivate you to keep going! If you are struggling to incorporate exercise into your day, why not try a pedometer? Wear it for the day and see how many steps you take, then each day try and do more steps – use the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further from your work and walk. Set a goal of reaching 10,000 steps per day.


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3. Inadequate Lifestyle Commitment

Another main problem with diet and dieting is that it is not a lifestyle commitment. People go on crazy detox diets, lose weight rapidly in a few weeks by eating nothing but weird concoctions or drinking nothing but soup, but as soon as they stop, their weight balloons back up to where they were before. Along with crazy diets, people go through ‘exercise’ fazes, where they join a gym, go every day for a couple of weeks, then stop. Dieting is not a healthy, long term option. Lifestyle changes are. Make the long term commitment to your health and weight loss.  The aim is to COMMIT to something that you will be able to do forever, not just in the short term. Take a walk three times a week. Use the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Limit yourself to one chocolate biscuit a day, rather than half the packet. Swap out coke for water. Eat wholegrain bread instead of white. Cut up a banana and eat it with your breakfast. Limit your unhealthy snacking. Just by making these lifestyle changes, you will start to see an improvement in your health and weight in the long term, and the weight will stay off.

Weight lossCredit: Morguefile

4. Poor Timing of Meals

Eating at the wrong times during the day can limit your success in losing weight. You need to have a balanced intake of food throughout the day to maintain your energy levels and to stop your metabolism from slowing down. Experts recommend that every day you eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, then eat a healthy snack or meal every three to four hours. If you go longer than five hours without eating, that is when your metabolism will start to slow down. Also, avoid eating late at night before bed, as this is a bad time for your body to try to process food.

5. Lack of Sleep

Yes, it is true; a good night sleep can help you lose weight. Studies have shown that people who sleep for less than six hours a night have higher levels of ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that is responsible for stimulating your appetite, especially for high carbohydrate and high calorie foods. Furthermore, a lack of sleep also raises the levels of cortisol in the body, which is a stress hormone, which can also lead to weight gain. So make sure you get a good night’s sleep!

So if you are trying to lose some weight, keep these main points in mind, and instead of trying the latest fad diet or unrealistic eating diet, trying making healthy, long term commitments and lifestyle changes and watch as the weight comes off and stays off!