Why Do Diets Fail & How to Succeed

Why do diets fail and how to succeed

In my brief search of the internet and various scientific reviews and publications, it is suggested that somewhere between 66-95% of diets fail.

What does that failure mean? Either people are unable to stick with their chosen plan for a significant period of time, and/or those who do lose weight gain back what they lost ( and sometimes more) over a period of 1-3 years.

I am not suggesting you have failed with dieting. Have you ever thought perhaps the diet has failed you?

Let’s explore.

Why do diets fail

  • Unrealistic Expectations: Many diets are marketed with impressive before-and-after pictures and claims of rapid weight loss. However, it’s crucial to understand that healthy and sustainable weight loss occurs at a rate of about 1-2 pounds per week. When people expect to shed a significant amount of weight quickly, they may become discouraged and abandon the diet if progress doesn’t meet their lofty goals.
  • Overly Restrictive Diets: Diets that severely limit certain food groups, like low-carb or extremely low-calorie diets, can be difficult to stick to in the long term. While they may yield initial weight loss, they often lack the variety and balance necessary for sustainable nutrition. Over time, feelings of deprivation can lead to cravings and an increased likelihood of breaking the diet.
  • Lack of Variety: Eating the same foods day after day can become monotonous and unappetising. This can lead to a loss of enjoyment in eating and make it harder to maintain the diet. Incorporating a diverse range of foods not only improves satisfaction but also ensures a wider spectrum of nutrients.
  • Lack of Individualisation: Everyone has unique dietary needs, preferences, and lifestyles. A diet that works well for one person may not be suitable for another. Factors like age, activity level, metabolic rate, and any underlying health conditions should all be taken into consideration when creating a personalised nutrition plan.
  • Short-Term Focus: Diets often focus on achieving specific short-term goals, such as fitting into a particular outfit or achieving a target weight by a certain date. However, without a sustainable plan for maintaining weight loss in the long term, it’s easy to revert to previous eating habits once the initial goal is achieved.
  • Emotional Eating: Many diets don’t address the emotional aspects of eating. Stress, boredom, sadness, and other emotions can trigger overeating or cravings for comfort foods. Without developing healthier coping mechanisms, emotional eating patterns can undermine diet efforts.
  • Too Much Emphasis on the Scale: Relying solely on the number on the scale can be misleading and demotivating. Weight can fluctuate due to various factors, including water retention, hormonal changes, and muscle gain.
  • You don’t have enough Support: Having a supportive environment is crucial for maintaining motivation and commitment to a diet. If friends, family, or colleagues don’t understand or respect your dietary choices, it can be difficult to maintain your dietary choices.
  • Overemphasis on Willpower: Relying solely on willpower to stick to a diet can be exhausting and unsustainable.

It’s important to remember everyone is different, and what works for some may not work for others. Also, some points may apply more to some than others. Long-term success often comes from making gradual, enjoyable, and sustainable changes to your eating habits and lifestyle.

So now we know why they fail. What’s the solution? How can we achieve success?

  • Set Realistic and Sustainable Goals: Instead of aiming for rapid weight loss, focus on setting achievable, realistic goals. Aim for a gradual, steady rate of weight loss, typically 1-2 pounds per week, which is more sustainable in the long run.
  • Embrace a Balanced Approach to Nutrition: Prioritise a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods from all food groups. This ensures that you’re getting a wide range of essential nutrients and helps maintain overall health.
  • Get support: Having a support system can be critical for success. This can include friends and family, as well as health professionals or a nutritional therapist (like me!) who can provide guidance, accountability and cheerleading.
  • Regular Physical Activity: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine. This not only supports weight loss but also contributes to improved cardiovascular health, increased energy levels, and enhanced mood.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that making positive changes is a journey. Avoid self-criticism or harsh judgments if you face setbacks. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you’d offer to a friend.
  • Educate Yourself on Nutrition to Your Personal Goals: Take the time to learn about nutrition in a way that aligns with your personal health and wellness objectives. Understand the role of different nutrients in supporting your specific goals.
  • Practice Consistency and Patience: Consistency is key to long-term success. Understand that progress may not always be linear, and there may be ups and downs along the way. Be patient with yourself and celebrate non-scale victories, such as improved energy levels, better sleep, or increased physical fitness.

If you are looking to lose weight the focus should be on achieving your personal goals, not limitations or restrictions that make you feel bad about the food you are eating.

Anything you take on should increase your chances of success and maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Focus on sustainable lifestyle changes that you can maintain over time, rather than quick fixes or extreme measures. A balanced and nutritious diet, along with regular physical activity, forms the foundation of any effective weight loss plan.

Additionally, seek professional guidance from a healthcare provider to ensure your approach is tailored to your individual needs and goals.

Be patient with yourself, understanding that progress may not always be linear. Surround yourself with a supportive community, whether it’s friends, family, or like-minded individuals.

Remember, success in weight loss is about fostering a positive, lasting relationship with your body and health.

If you would like a plan to support you and your lifestyle please reach out I would love to help. Drop me an email at [email protected] or book a free call with me.


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