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15 Reasons Diets Fail and How to Fix Them

Check out these 15 reasons for diet failure so that you don’t make any of these during your weight loss journey. They will help you fix the mistakes you are making.

Nicole Taylor
15 Reasons Diets Fail and How to Fix Them
Table Of Contents

There are numerous reasons why people might choose to follow a particular diet. It may be a way to lose weight, burn stubborn fat, or improve overall health. Whatever the reason, there are several diets to choose from, and it can be helpful to do some research and find the best one that suits your needs.

We won’t be going into details about what type of diet you prefer or follow because whichever one works best for your needs must have multiple benefits. The real question here is, are you getting the results you want after following that particular diet?

If you nodded no, you need to look a little deeper into this matter. You must be making some mistakes (unintentionally) that are hindering your way to success. You see, dieting is not an easy thing and is not meant for those who don’t follow it consistently. Even if you do everything right, there are chances that you see no results. 

When you are trying to lose weight, you are not fighting against your cravings alone. You have to deal with your own body too as it may start to resist the change you are making. Plus, fad diets are not a permanent solution, and there is no quick fix to your problem. 

There could be multiple reasons for diet failure, and today we will be discussing them. This article is beneficial for those who have been trying hard for a very long time and are desperate to see results.

15 Reasons Why Diets Fail

When people are on a particular diet, they instinctively believe that they have to deprive themselves and their bodies of the meals they desire which starts to make them feel miserable. Their diets fail because they put too much emphasis on the diet plan itself and overlook the lifestyle adjustments that must have been made. 

Developing healthy habits rather than hopping from one diet to the next is better for losing weight and keeping it off. You can make a difference that will last a lifetime if you avoid the following blunders. 

1. Not Eating Enough Proteins

Many fad diets and supplements claim to help you lose weight, but including nutritious food options in your diet is the most long-term fat-loss solution. You can always begin by increasing your daily protein consumption and decreasing your carbohydrate intake. These macronutrients you ingest must have a balance, as they tend to differ from person to person.

Dietary proteins target fat-mass loss during the weight loss process rather than fat-free mass loss. They increase satiety and help the body maintain its lean mass.

According to a study, protein consumption in older men reduces visceral fat, contributing to obesity and other health problems. Adequate protein consumption combined with moderate physical activity helps prevent obesity and maintain a muscular body.

Increasing your protein consumption will make you feel fuller and less hungry, allowing you to stop eating every hour or two. Meat, eggs, yogurt, tofu, lentils, and cheese are some great high protein options that you can include in your diets.

2. Too Much Focus on Calories

Counting calories is not just a tedious task but an annoying one as well. While it is vital to reduce your calorie intake to lose weight, it is even more crucial to be able to ingest the nutrients that your body needs to function effectively. You should be conscious of the calories in your meals, but this should not be your sole consideration for making decisions.

Focus on the content of the food rather than the number of calories. Consider the importance of quality over quantity. For example, does the sugar-free, low-calorie Jell-O provide you with as many nutrients as low-fat yogurt? No!

Similarly, you lose lean body weight rather than body fat when you don't eat enough calories. It occurs due to your body going into starvation mode and storing fat. Losing this lean weight, commonly known as muscle mass, slows down your metabolism rate and makes losing weight even harder.

Cutting too many calories depletes your energy and may make it difficult for you to work out. It could also lead to binge eating after a long day. Removing all empty calories from your diet and drinking water instead of soda can help you lose weight while improving your overall health.

3. Mindless Eating

For many of you, food is more than just sustenance. It's a source of comfort, a way to celebrate special occasions, and a means of showing love. However, many also use food to cope with stress, boredom, or negative emotions all too often. All of this can lead to what's known as mindless eating; consuming large amounts of food without being aware of or enjoying what you're eating. Unfortunately, this can disrupt your weight loss efforts. 

Mindless eating often leads to overeating, as you're not paying attention to your body's hunger cues and instead just continue eating until the food is gone. It can also result in weight gain, as you're more likely to make poor food choices when you're not really thinking about what you're eating.

According to a study, mindless eating can lead to weight increase, which can negatively influence our health. 

However, there are numerous ways to cope with mindless eating. You can start with good sleep and substituting high-caloric snacks with healthier options. Don’t turn on the TV and keep your phone at the side table while eating. Start eating by drinking water first to ensure if you are actually hungry or just eating out of habit or boredom.

4. Low-Fat Pitfalls

Everybody knows that foods containing high fats are a no-no, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Considering this, many people think of substituting those high-fat food items with low-fat content. Guess what? When you are on a particular weight loss diet, you tend to crave more food, not just low-fat food but all types. So, you end up consuming large portions of low-fat food, which is not good.

Such foods are usually processed and have added sugar and stabilizers. According to a study, to assist replication of the stretchiness and melt factor of conventional cheese, many reduced fat cheeses incorporate additional stabilizers or processed fat replacements. Furthermore, most low-fat cookies are made with refined flour, which has a similar effect on blood sugar levels and overall health as sugar. 

So, it's best to reduce the consumption of processed low-fat foods and increase eating fruits as they are naturally low-fat foods. They will give you vitamins and minerals and are low in fat content. 

5. Neglecting Meal Frequency

While following a particular diet, it may happen that either you start eating more or eating less, as mentioned earlier. You may not keep up with the proper meal frequency, which leads to diet failure in different cases. According to a study, diseases are associated with a high meal frequency compared to a lower one. If you want your metabolism to process in the right direction, eating frequently without monitoring portion sizes is not a good idea. 

Also, eating more frequently may help you stop overeating between meals. It also increases your odds of consuming too many calories. So, you must find a solution to this issue by adjusting your meal frequency according to your diet plan.

As any nutritionist will tell you, it's important to eat regularly throughout the day in order to maintain a healthy metabolism. Skipping meals can cause your body to go into "starvation mode," which leads to weight gain. However, eating too many meals can also be detrimental to your health. 

It's important to find a balance that works for you. For many people, having one or two snacks between meals helps to bridge the gap and prevents them from overeating at mealtimes. This can be especially helpful if you're watching your weight or trying to eat healthier. By snacking smart, you can avoid overeating and make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs.

6. Poor Stress Management 

One of the most important things to understand about weight loss is the role that stress plays. When you're stressed, your body goes into survival mode and starts releasing hormones like cortisol. Cortisol causes your liver to convert proteins into carbohydrates, which the body then stores as fat. So not only does stress make it harder to lose weight, it can also cause you to gain weight.

According to a research article, one of the leading causes of obesity in adolescents is stress. Exams and other stressful situations contribute to poor eating habits and weight increase.

It's critical to find stress-relieving/stress-reducing hobbies. Instead of binge eating, try journaling, walking, or speaking with friends.

Also, mindfulness is essential for coping with stress. Combining mindfulness with intuitive eating may help you develop better eating patterns and less stress.

7. Too Much Fatigue

When your calorie intake is insufficient, your body obtains energy by breaking down muscle to release glycogen, which is the body's stored energy. To preserve energy, your metabolism slows down as well. Feeling chilly and sluggish and digestive issues such as constipation are some of the side effects of low calorie intake.

If you're on a low-calorie diet, be sure you're getting some carbohydrates. According to Virginia Tech, a diet lacking in carbs causes dieting exhaustion or fatigue since these nutrients are the body's primary energy source. Proteins and lipids don't provide as much energy as carbohydrates.

Instead of three large meals a day, eat modest and frequent meals to provide the brain with a consistent supply of nutrients. A handful of nuts or a piece of fruit will help refresh the brain and keep it from becoming sluggish.

8. Ignoring Portion Size

The quantity of food or beverage we eat or drink or that we want to fill our plates and glasses with is called portion size. It's often mistaken for serving size, so knowing the difference between the two is a must. 

Serving sizes are listed on the Nutrition Facts label, and that quantity is utilized to calculate the nutrient information provided. On the other hand, portion sizes might vary greatly from person to person. 

Many people struggle with portion sizes because they are unfamiliar with serving. They either eat less than they require or eat more, which puts them behind their weight loss dream. According to a study, large portion sizes are linked to overeating and weight gain. It means if you are not monitoring your portion sizes, all your weight loss efforts are being wasted.

Practically everyone eats almost everything they serve themselves, but portion control can help prevent overeating. Also, try using bottomless dinnerware, order half portions when dining out, and drink water before eating any meal to manage your portion sizes. 

9. Making Poor Food Choices

It's also possible that you're not paying enough attention to your eating choices. You may acquire micronutrient deficiencies if you solely focus on calories and macronutrients. Each food has its own set of vitamins and minerals, and if you eat the same things repeatedly, you may develop nutrient deficiencies.

IIFYM or "if it fits your macros" is a trendy concept in the fitness industry. It entails achieving macronutrient targets (depending on your objectives) while eating foods that you enjoy. It shattered the myth that certain foods must be consumed in order to be fit. According to this concept, you can eat anything you want as long as you're meeting your macronutrients needs.

However, some people have taken IIFYM to extremes, using it as an excuse to eat large quantities of junk food. While there is nothing wrong with occasional indulgences, these people are not following the spirit of the IIFYM approach.

The key to successful dieting is to find a balance between healthy and unhealthy foods, and to make sure that the bulk of your calories are coming from nutrient-rich sources. By paying attention to the quality of their food choices, IIFYM dieters can enjoy all the benefits of this flexible approach without jeopardizing their health.

10. Over Exercising

It is a widely held belief that exercising is the key to weight loss. However, this is not always the case. In fact, if you are overdoing it, you may actually end up gaining weight. Here's how it works: when you diet, you deprive your body of the calories it needs for energy. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and stress. In response, your body may start to crave high-calorie foods in order to replenish its energy stores. As a result, you may find yourself overeating, and the extra calories can lead to weight gain.

According to a study, excessive workout elevates skeletal muscles and bone tissue injuries, resulting in the release of pro inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines affect the neurological system, liver, hypothalamus gonadal axis, and sympathetic nervous system.

Excessive endurance training has a negative impact on the heart and circulatory system. As per a review study, excessive endurance training has been linked to coronary artery calcification, pathologic structural heart remodeling, diastolic dysfunction, and significant artery remodeling.

So, if you're looking to lose weight, moderate exercise is the way to go. And be sure to listen to your body - if you're feeling excessively tired or stressed, it may be time to back off and take a break.

11. Not Monitoring Your Progress

If you're trying to lose weight or tone up, not tracking your progress is a huge mistake. How will you know if your diet and workout plan are working if you don't keep track of your weight and body measurements? Monitoring your progress is essential to reaching your goals.

Progress tracking can also serve as a form of positive reinforcement. It's motivating to see your hard work pay off. This motivation or push makes it easier for you to stay on track with your diet.

There are a few different ways to track your progress. One way is to weigh yourself regularly. This can be done daily, weekly, or monthly - whatever fits best into your lifestyle. Another way to track your progress is by measuring your waist, hips, thighs, and arms. This can be done with a tape measure or by using a body measuring app on your phone.

Some people are better off keeping track of their body weight and measurements because they appreciate numbers. Others prefer to examine their appearance in photographs and the mirror.

The essential thing is to keep track of it and stick to it. What works for one person might not work for another, but the key is to find a method that works for you and then stick with it. If you're the type of person who likes to see hard numbers, then tracking your weight and measurements is probably the best way to go. But if you're more visually oriented, then examining your appearance in photos and the mirror might be a better option.

Either way, the important thing is to make sure you're monitoring your progress and making changes as needed. So find what works for you and stick with it!

12. Binge Eating

The majority of diet programs are highly restricted where you don’t eat frequently. However, there are special occasions, such as a friend's birthday, a family reunion, or simply taking advantage of some time off on the weekend where you binge eat. 

A single binge isn't the end of the world if you get back on the right track with your diet, but frequent binges can sabotage and hinder your progress. If done regularly, binge eating can lead to weight gain, exacerbating health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

So, you need to cope with this habit if you want to lose weight and see results. Practicing mindfulness, focusing on hydration, and, most importantly, investing your time and energy in changing your lifestyle can be the perfect solution for avoiding binge eating. 

13. Lack of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for excellent health. According to a study, lack of sleep or sleep deprivation contributes to obesity and weight gain. Because sleep deprivation is related to the accumulation of belly fat, it is suggested to get 7- 8 hours of sleep per day if you desire a flat stomach.

According to another study, sleep deprivation results in sleeping difficulties, weight gain and increased BMI. These factors combine to produce fatty muscle mass rather than lean muscle mass.

So, you need to have enough sleep to effectively lose weight and make your diet successful because, according to research, people who sleep for 7- 8 hours have less visceral fat than those who sleep for less than 6 hours.

14. Overlooking Medical Conditions

Different medical conditions like heart issues, diabetes, thyroid-related diseases etc., can lead to diet failure. Most people are unaware of these factors that are not letting them lose weight. Even if they know their medical condition, they follow a specific diet plan without knowing how their body condition will affect their diet. Your age and genes also determine how many calories you can burn.

So, it’s essential to call for help and seek professional assistance. It is better to discuss the things that affect your metabolism with your doctor. You need to understand how your medical condition is linked to weight gain and how you can try to lose weight.

15. Dismissing Body Composition

Body composition is one of the things you often neglect when you are enthusiastically following a diet plan to lose weight. Well, body composition is an essential factor that can make your diet successful or unsuccessful. They say muscles burn calories better than fat, so having lean muscle mass is more beneficial than fatty tissues. 

Lean body mass is everything in your body except fat, including your organs, bones, ligaments, tendons, water, and muscles. It's linked to your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or how many calories you burn when at rest. Muscles need energy in the form of calories even while at rest, whereas fat cells do not. As a result, the more lean muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn during the day, lowering your risk of obesity and excessive fat storage.

To decrease fatty tissues and increase lean body mass, try incorporating proteins in your diet accompanied by strength training workouts to activate your tissues and strengthen your muscles.

The Bottom Line

Weight loss through diet is more feasible as compared to intense workouts. However, diets fail because of multiple reasons. Focusing too much on calories, poor food choices, and not eating enough protein can be the leading causes of diet failure. Boredom, stress, fatigue, binge eating, and inadequate sleep also contribute to the failure of diets. 

Lack of understanding of the portion sizes, meal frequency, and body composition may lead to inconsistent weight loss results. You must not fall into the trap of the physical factors, processed low-fat foods and over exercising while following a particular diet as it will lead you nowhere. 

However, you can make things right and get back to your weight loss track successfully by mindful eating, staying hydrated, controlling portion size, adequate sleep, lifestyle change, eating enough proteins, and balancing exercise and diet. 

Reading List

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Nicole Taylor

Nicole is a professional freelance writer specialized in sports nutrition and home based exercises. She publishes a website dedicated to home exercise and has contributed articles to magazines as well.

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