Why a Diet Fails — and How to Win at Weight Loss

Losing weight sounds like it should be easy, right? Just eat less and exercise more! However, if you’ve ever started a new diet, you know all too well that losing weight and getting fit can be much more complex than a pure numbers game. In fact, some of the very things we’ve been taught to do when dieting (like reaching for low-fat everything, for example) can actually hinder our weight-loss efforts.

If you are struggling to lose weight despite your best efforts, one or more of these common reasons why diets fail could be to blame. But the good news is there are plenty of ways to turn your diet around and totally win at weight loss! See how here.

1. Dieting Can Induce Stress

Have you ever successfully lost a few pounds, only to gain it back and maybe even more down the road? As it turns out, there’s some science behind why this commonly happens. Research shows that when you are hungry, your body is more sensitive to stress and responds more intensely to high-calorie treats than when you feel full.

If you are dieting using purely a calorie-restrictive mindset, your body behaves as if it is in a constant state of stress, thus increasing the amount of the stress hormone cortisol that is in your bloodstream at a given time. High cortisol levels trigger your appetite while also slowing down your metabolism.

How to win:

Don’t crash diet, and don’t deprive yourself of the nutrients your body needs! Try to reframe the way you think about dieting from simply eating as little as possible to making healthier choices for your body and mind. If you are hungry, eat — just make healthy choices about what you are eating.

Additionally, find healthy ways to cope with stress that don’t involve emotional eating. You might try meditation, listening to relaxing music, or going for a walk in nature.

2. Short-Term Diets Produce Short-Term Results

It’s great to break bigger goals, such as losing 25 pounds, into smaller increments to make them feel more achievable. However, when planning your diet and exercise routine, it’s important to keep the long-term goal in mind: to sustain a healthy lifestyle for years to come, rather than losing 5 pounds before your sister’s wedding. As explained above, crashing dieting might help you get quick results, but they are not likely to stick.

How to win:

Create a realistic long-term weight loss and fitness plan that will work for you. Along the way, you should gradually develop sustainable healthy habits that help you lose weight slowly and keep it off. A sustainable goal, for example, might be to limit desserts to once per week rather than every day — you don’t have to never eat chocolate again, just indulge in moderation.

3. Diets Often Focus on Quantity vs. Quality

2,000 calories is 2,000 calories, right, whether you eat them in the form of sweets and pizza or fruits and veggies? Wrong! What you eat is considerably more important than how much you eat in a given day. Eating lots of “empty” calories like simple carbs and sugar will up your calorie count for the day, but leave you feeling hungry still.

How to win:

If you’re hungry, eat! But choose wisely — go with a fresh salad or veggie tray rather than a slice of pizza or a sugary protein bar. That way, you satisfy your body’s hunger without triggering a cascade of negative effects caused by too much sugar or processed foods (which, by the way, can cause more weight gain!)

4. “Diet” Food Is Holding You Back

The low-fat craze isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Studies have shown that it’s actually sugar consumption that is making Americans overweight, not fat. And the artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas and other traditional “diet” foods isn’t helping, either. Some studies have found that using artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain, rather than prevent it, and may come along with a slew of other adverse health effects.

How to win:

Refined sugar is the enemy, not fat. Try to limit sweets, sugary drinks, and other sources of sugar as much as possible. When you’re craving something sweet, try grabbing fresh or frozen fruit instead of a sweet treat. The high fiber content in fruit helps to slow down insulin spikes caused by sugar, making these foods a much healthier sweet treat than refined sugar products.

5. You’re Flying Solo

Having a great support system in place can often be the extra push you need to stay on track and stay motivated to hit your weight loss and fitness targets. If you have a spouse who brings you sweets or a friend who always wants to meet for fast food breakfast, on the other hand, it can be difficult to stay on track.

How to win:

Find a dieting/exercise buddy to help keep you motivated. This could be a friend or family member or even a virtual group! Whoever it is, finding that person (or people!) to help keep you accountable and motivated to hit your goals can make all the difference when it comes to getting and staying healthy!

Many people also find it motivating to book a body sculpting treatment such as EMSCULPT or CoolSculpting as they near their weight loss goal. If you’re looking to get the most out of your weight loss and fitness success, call us today at 561-234-4026 or book a consultation online to see how nonsurgical body contouring could help you!