When we start a new diet, we do so with the best of intentions. We read about all the diet options available to us and all the benefits of taking up such a diet, and then we make sure to follow the advice to a tee and to generally cut out all the rubbish from our daily food intake as per the recommendations of the diet.
The problem is though that sadly more often than not, these diets don’t work. That is to say that for the first few days or weeks we notice a rapid weight loss and we feel motivated and invigorated to do well, but that then after this brief spell of success we find that our weight loss slows down, other problems arise, we lose that motivation and eventually the diet falls by the wayside. In a word… fail.
So what is it that makes so many diets doomed to failure? Why do so few work? And how can you come up with diet changes that will genuinely be effective and help you to drop a few dress/shirt sizes? Here we will address the issue and point out the difference between diets that fail and those that don’t. Following are a list of the top reasons that diets fail.
They Are Too Ambitious
Sometimes a diet is simply too ambitious and involves a lifestyle change that is simply unreasonable to ask of most people. Simply put if you can’t find anything on an average menu to fit your needs then you won’t be able to keep this up when you have nights out. Likewise if you have to turn down every meal anyone ever cooks for you then you won’t be able to go around anyone’s house. And if you spend most your nights at home holding your stomach and wincing in pain as a result of the hunger… well then suddenly that cake in the fridge is going to become even more difficult to refuse. This means that you will quickly find yourself making excuses and cheating, or in situations where you have to break the rules – and after not long you’ll find yourself completely giving up.
They Are Too Drastic
If your diet involves a sudden and very drastic change then there are many reasons why this won’t work. The first reason is that your body will be shocked by the sudden lack of food and it will understandably think this is wrong. What happens at this point is that your body then goes into a ‘famine mode’ wherein in presumes that you are in some kind of drought and unable to get food and thus starts to rapidly store any calories that you do take in as fat – so that if you run out of food again you’ll have plenty of usable energy stored as fat. This then means that someone on a very sudden and drastic diet will find themselves quickly gain weight again as soon as they go over their diet at all. It’s also important to note that ‘yo-yoing’ your weight like this is not healthy for you and that it will cause a great amount of stress on your heart.
There Are Other Issues
If you are constantly dieting and you are following sound advice carefully and doing all the right things – and yet you fail to lose any weight – then there could be other issues afoot that are contributing to your problem. For instance if could be that you have an under-active thyroid – which will mean that you don’t produce the right hormones in high enough quantities to burn the fat and build muscle. This can also cause a range of other problems. Meanwhile other hormone imbalances can be responsible for an insatiable appetite. If you are really struggling to lose weight at the same rate as you think you should, then it might be worth going to a doctor to have a blood test. It may be that you have a condition that’s treatable with medication and this will help you a lot to burn the calories again.
They Are Not Accompanied by the Right Lifestyle Changes
If you think that you can lose a lot of weight simply by eating a little less and otherwise carrying on as normal then you are in for a bit of a surprise. To lose weight effectively you should focus not just on eating less – but also on exercising more and generally leading a more active lifestyle. Things like getting a lot of good quality sleep can also help you to lose more weight and build more muscle. Going to the gym and working out with resistance machines is a sorely underrated method of losing fat – simply having a lot of muscle mass will cause your body to burn fat in order to maintain it.
They Miss Out Whole Food Groups
Any diet that recommends completely cutting something out of your diet – be it fats, carbs or anything else – is failing to understand how the body works. We require a certain amount of carbs in order to have energy (and again to prevent our body from storing fat more quickly) and our body needs this energy just to carry out the very fundamental tasks that we require to stay alive – things like breathing, pumping blood around our bodies etc (to find out precisely how much you need you need to look up your BMR and your AMR). Likewise we need fats in order to better absorb and utilize protein, to moisturize our skin and hair, and to improve our cognitive functions. So if a diet cuts anything completely out it will do more harm than good and you will find yourself reverting back to your old ways in no time.
They Are Not Scientific
Missing out on entire food groups is an example of how some diets can be completely unscientific and yet people will still follow them. The best diets are those that take into account how the body works, precisely which nutrients it needs, and how to calculate quantities of calories and specific food groups. Do your research and try to understand the science behind what you are doing. This way you can know for certain whether there is any merit or reason to what you are inflicting upon yourself, and this way you can also understand how to tweak and alter the diet to suit you more specifically.
You Have No Support
Effectively sticking to a diet is something that requires a lot of will power and a lot of determination. When everyone around you is eating large quantities of whatever they want this of course becomes a lot more difficult. Many people who try going on a diet will not only experience this, but also find their family and friends goading them into eating cakes to ‘live a little’, or turning their nose up at their choice of salad. Sometimes it can be unsociable to be on a diet. Thus it is no wonder that many of us end up caving in and eating what we want to eat – and what everyone is telling us we should be eating.
In order to be successful on a diet then, it is critical that your family and friends know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and that they are all supportive of your decision. It can also help to get your partner to go on the diet at the same time as you and to support you that way. If you’re going on a diet then why not tell your family that all of you are going to be making extra effort to eat healthily?
There’s No Joy
Being on a diet can take the joy out of eating when you are constantly having to turn down desert so that you can munch on your salad leaves. This leaves you with nothing to look forward to and unable to get the same enjoyment out of eating and that in turn means that you will be more likely to bend the rules or to give up entirely. To prevent this you need to ensure that you diet has some kind of reward system or allowance for days when you really want to ‘cheat’ a little. It can also help to find some forms of desert that you can eat without causing too much damage. Things like yoghurts, dried fruit and cereal bars are all good ways to get a fun snack without undoing all your good work.
You Accept Defeat Too Easily
If you do slip up though, it’s important to realize that this does not necessarily mark the end. All you need to do is to start trying once again and to go back to what you were doing before as though it hadn’t happened. If you have the attitude that one slip up means you’ve ‘failed’ then you are setting your standards too high and drastically decreasing your chances of success.