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Why Many Diets Don’t Stick, and How to Improve the Odds

Set Up to Fail

 

 

“How to lose weight fast” has an average 284,000 monthly search volume in the U.S., demonstrating that Americans are desperate for a quick fix to help shed those unwanted pounds in time for summer.

How to lose weight is one of the most pressing health questions for many people. As many as 95% of dieters fail to reach their body target or quickly backslide and regain the weight they lost once their diet is finished. Because of this, a massive number of people are serial dieters who skip from one eating plan to the next, trying to find best way to lose weight and keep it off.

While there are thousands of diets to choose from, the overall rule is, if you want to lose weight, get toned, build muscle, or even just improve your energy levels, you’ll probably need to change what you eat.

“Provided that your diet of choice meets your caloric needs, it will have the desired effect,” an exercise and nutrition expert at online resource Fitness Volt said. “For example, consume fewer calories than you need, and you will burn fat and lose weight, but consume more than you need, and you will gain weight.

“However, most people fail to stick with their diet long enough for it to work sustainably. They’re strong out of the gate, but soon fall off the wagon and return to their previously sub-optimal eating plan,” the expert continued. “That’s why so many of us lose weight only to regain it shortly afterward, and it seems long-term, sustainable weight loss is rare nowadays.”

According to Fitness Volt, here are six reasons why most diets fail.

 

Foods Are Too Restrictive

Most diets ban certain food or food groups. For example, the paleo diet excludes all processed foods, while keto severely limits your carb intake. Other diets will cut out sugar or alcohol. The problem is, while cutting out certain foods can help contribute to your daily calorie deficit, this technique is also guaranteed to trigger cravings.

Essentially, any diet that bans a particular food or food group will invariably result in cravings, driving you to cheat on your diet. So allow yourself the smallest amount of this particular food or drink to allow your body to feel like it isn’t being deprived of something. In other words, everything in moderation.

 

Ingredients Cost Too Much

It is good to follow a diet of healthy, fresh ingredients, but with food being one of life’s unavoidable expenses, it will be harder for you to sustain this diet plan long-term if you aren’t always financially stable.

For example, some diets specify that you must eat expensive foods and that somehow these products are better for weight loss than those that are more reasonably priced. Organic vegetables and grass-fed beef from free-roaming cattle cost a lot more than the basics you get at Costco, but nutritionally are not all that different. They certainly won’t help you lose weight faster.

For a diet to be sustainable, you need to be comfortable with how much your food costs. For example, if your grocery bill doubles overnight, you’ve got a ready-made excuse for quitting your new eating plan.

 

It’s Too Complicated

To make diets unique, they are often unnecessarily complicated. This complexity can often cause people to make mistakes or just give up after a while.

Food-combing diets are a perfect example of this. Some may say things like “you can’t eat fat and carbs in the same meal,” which looks OK on paper, but makes meal prep far more complicated than it needs to be. Ultimately, for any diet to work, it needs to be simple enough to follow every day.

 

Perfection or Failure

Diets can often be very prescriptive and allow no variation. However, in everyday life, any diet can be difficult to stick to. Perhaps you have a friend’s birthday or an off day, and you decide to indulge in something sweet.

The reality is that your diet doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to pretty good most of the time, which is more than enough to reach weight-loss goals.

 

Ignoring the Long Term

Putting a timeframe on any diet sets you up for failure. Some of the most common ways diets are advertised are through their quick-fix timestamp, like “lose 30 pounds in 90 days” or “30-day get-ripped plan.”

Excess body fat accumulates over many years, and no one goes to bed lean and then wakes up fat. Likewise, achieving your body goal could take many months, or even years. To achieve a significant result in just a few weeks, any diet must be very restrictive, and, therefore, it may be unsustainable, as your body will soon put the weight back on that it dramatically lost. Before considering any diet, ask yourself, “can I follow it for the next six to 12 months?”

 

What’s the Science?

Some diets are based on very flawed science or may not be based on any science at all. One example of this is calorie-burning or negative-calorie foods, such as celery. No food burns more calories than it contains, and these claims are very misleading.

Effective diets work by manipulating your calorie balance. Consume fewer calories, and your body will make up the shortfall by using stored body fat for energy. No deficit means no fat burning. There are no shortcuts around this law of thermodynamics.

 

Bottom Line

As a rule, if a diet promises something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so don’t fall for it.

“Fortunately, healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated or unpleasant, and weight management doesn’t have to take over your life,” Fitness Volt’s expert said. “You don’t even have to give up your favorite foods. However, you will need to quit looking for short-term fixes and adopt healthier, long-term habits.”

 

Fitness Volt is a comprehensive online resource dedicated to strength sports. Its mission is to empower readers with tried and tested knowledge and practices surrounding the latest fitness and nutritional information.

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