Why Do Diets Fail?
Let's start by clarifying what I mean when I say diet…
For the sake of this article, we should assume that the diet has been set up by a professional and therefore adheres to the nutritional principles of weight loss such as calorie deficit and adequate protein.
So if you have a diet that “should” work, let's go over some the reasons that sometimes it doesn't?
Eating the same thing for the same meals every day can be a strategy that works for some people but for others, it can feel too restrictive.
Being able to fit a variety of foods into your diet can help you stay on track while enjoying some of your favourite foods.
Too much choice
On the other hand, being presented with endless options for your next meal can make sticking to a diet just as hard. Constantly having to decide between calorie dense, highly palatable foods and foods with less calorie density but leave you feeling fuller for longer, can lead to decision fatigue. Having to choose all the time can leave you craving monotony.
Restricting whole food groups
Do you remember when you were a kid and you didn't want to play with a certain toy but as soon as somebody else was playing with it you wanted it so bad? Well, that's pretty much what happens when you cut out a whole food group like carbs for example. In some cases, eliminating a group of foods may be the only way you can control yourself but where possible, try and include at least a little from all food groups in your diet and learn how to make room in your diet for the foods you really love.
You're not ready to diet
Some people just aren't ready to lose the weight, some people just don't want it enough, some people are actually pretty happy with how they look and all of these reasons and more a fine. If you're not ready, then don't force yourself to do something that doesn't really matter to you. Unless you have been asked to do so by a doctor.
Your diet isn’t sustainable
Sure, a diet of plain chicken breast and broccoli will probably result in weight loss, but how long can you keep shovelling spoon after fork after fistful of the same thing into your mouth? Assuming you have taste buds, it's probably not too long, it's probably worth trying to find some foods you enjoy eating and learning how to include them in your diet as much as you like.
You think going to the gym is the answer
Having a gym membership doesn't mean you will lose weight in the same way that having a driver's licence doesn't mean you're a good driver. The gym is a great place to relieve stress, build muscle, sweat out a hangover or even to meet people who are going through a similar journey to you but simply using the gym and hoping this will burn away all that excess fat isn't enough. In fact using the gym can make you lazier in other areas of your life and even lead you to eat more. There are some complicated reasons for this but let's just say that there's a reason people say “abs are made in the kitchen”.
You haven't learned anything
Here's the thing about losing weight… Once you figure out how to do it, you can usually replicate it and achieve the same results again. The problem is, you don't actually know why it worked or what to do after you've reached your goal. Keeping the weight off can be far harder than losing it. A good coach will have a plan for after you reach your goal and will teach you about nutrition. While you're making losses on the scales, you should be making gains in your brains.
This is what companies like slimming globe* and scale watchers* get wrong, they want you to lose weight and then not know how to keep it off so you will come back and start paying them again. Great for repeat business but terrible for your customers.
All of these potential issues that you may encounter while dieting are common and most people who have dieted have encountered at least one. I was once 45kg heavier than I am now and I can tell you that I have been through all the above scenarios plus a number of scams and I believed in a diet or a supplement or some sort of magical potion that was supposed to be my answer but I was left disappointed more often than not.
Weight loss can be easy if done correctly and can be even easier with the help of a qualified and experienced coach so give it a go, ask questions from people who know what they're talking about or who have achieved what you are trying to. There is so much information out there for free and if you need a hand, you know who to ask.
Diet Smart Not Hard
Coach Big Nick