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Why do diets fail?


- Why do the biggest percentage of people who are on diets fail to reach their target weight?
- Why do people who reach their target weight, put it all back on again?
- Why do overweight people visit so many dietitians and read so many diet books, but are still overweight?

People intending to embark on a diet should get answers to all the above questions before they enter any dietary programs.

After many diet attempts, and with the assistance of several dietitians, and many hours of reading, I have concluded that our efforts for losing weight is only 15% of the whole process. The other 85% is to educate ones self in the art of cooking, observing and handling food. Losing weight is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT and very time consuming, not to mention dedication, will power and total commitment. Imagine how difficult the rest must be…

Perhaps dietitians should spend more time explaining the importance of how to handle food and less on weight loss. Losing weight heals the cause but not the problem.

In the long run, diets that include only simple foods, with dull flavors, drive people to binge eating and in cases that the patient/client has a lot of weight to lose, this tactic will result in only half the weight loss target.

When one has reached their target weight, it is thought this is the final achievement, but it is not, it’s only the beginning. Most people I know who have been on diets tend to regain all the weight they have lost over a short period of time. I, myself have experienced this over the past 30 years.

What we actually need is a dietary program that includes smart, thoughtful cooking recipes which will offer us the pleasure, without the guilt of the extra calories. Eating raw, boiled or grilled food regularly with a salad as a side dish, is frustrating!! I discovered that there are recipes, low in calories, which offer satisfaction in preparing them and more importantly in eating them. I discovered that the reason I failed with my diets all these years was the fact that I was feeling guilty to eat foods which were delicious in taste. Now, I know that I can have delicious dishes with fewer calories, and still lose weight. Now I know that I can succeed. 

Feeling so stressed about my continual failures, in August 2011, I decided to put my new strategy to the test … I am now almost mid-way through achieving my goal and things are getting seriously difficult. The difference is that now things look more promising,  because this dietitian is more open to new suggestions.

Success for me is not only to lose the excess weight but to educate myself in how to handle food; how to cook it, and how to eat it – guilt free.
If I manage to think healthily I will stay healthy, and I have found this to be a fact!

Comments

  1. Why do most diets fail? Coz "I dream of Cakes"..OK JUST KIDDING! Well, my theory is that food tastes better and better as we age.And that's the temptation we fight daily. The practical theory is simple - eat whatever you want but in moderation and exercise a bit more than that to ward off the Calorie Monster.God made for need, not greed.

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    1. Of course I "Dream of Cakes", but now I try to dream of a lighter version of cakes :-)!!!

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    2. Ah, Soufflés, you mean ...ahahahaha!

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    3. This was not exactly what I meant, but if that suits you it is fine with me :-) :-) :-)!!!

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    4. Diets fail because they do not address nor solve the core reasons as to why an individual may be overweight.have the innate capability of creating many fallacies amongst individuals that are unrealistic for their particular needs and goals for the future. It has become very conventional for some individuals to deprive themselves in this approach. Many individuals set out to lose a specific amount of weight, in which the dieting will stop, thus creating an adverse effect of said goals. These types of habits create an unsettling feeling, subsequently enabling a person to start another fad diet on the market. Diets will also fail because they address only one part of the issue, which is the food component. There are as equally many important factors that contribute to successful weight loss and the upkeep of ideal weight including: exercise, appropriate nutrition, stress management, sleep progression, in some cases it may be psychological(where someone's self esteem may be truncated). A food diary can aid in keeping you disciplined and motivated. In short, in order for a person to ascertain long lasting results, he/she needs to set out on a gradual lifestyle change. Notably it will not be an easy stride, but with sheer determination for positive staggering results it is plausible.


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    5. Why do diets fail? Well in my opinion only a small amount of people that start a diet will actually finish it with the results that they want. One reason diets fail is due to your own peers, from experience it is extremely hard to diet if you don’t have a good support system. You have to stay focused on your goal and ignore all the negativity. Another reason why diets fail is due to the lack of not eating right. some individuals think “well if I don’t eat I will lose weight faster” FALSE! Your body needs to get enough calories of else if can cause harm to your body. Not enough food also falls into the category of not enough nutrients. Your body needs to encounter enough nutrients because they are important to certain parts of the body and the way they function. Another issue that people have is the fact that many say diet foods don’t taste well. I can understand why people say that, however there are certain ways to cook certain foods that will taste great. The last reason I believe that a lot of people don’t stick with their dieting and target weight loss is due to the fact that some people lose weight slowly. Losing weight doesn’t mean just eating healthy; you’re basically changing your lifestyle. You have to also make sure your excersing and getting enough nutrients. So by eating healthy and working out there is a difference in weight loss and fat loss, many people don’t see a difference in the scale until about a month into their diets, so it all falls down to patients and staying focused. Many people gain the weight back because they have lack of control and cant control their craving. People get frustrated and go back to what there lifestyle used to be, not realizing that that’s what caused them to gain the weight in the first place.

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    6. Why do diets fail? for numerous reasons depending on the persons make up as far as perseverance and back bone but I also feel if you do not find a different pattern in your lifestyle that you enjoy like a form of exercise that is part of your day like walking to work or doing manual labor or just remembering that it is not food your are chasing ...its a substitute for comfort, control and love and sometimes it is due to anxiety where you dont know how to relax and you have to eat or talk because you are not comfortable in your skin...

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    7. I feel you have to incorporate a activity that you enjoy into your life style so its not just a rough diet and workout that you think you can quit because the weight comes back...so balance is the key in my opinion and realizing why food is such a weakness is a key also...I think it is just a substitute for comfort/control/or even love and security or just plain anxiety because something about sitting in your skin without a outside focus is hard so its a compulsive problem (impulse control) but I think you have to change when you want to and not when you feel ugly or pressured because the resentments will build up and just like drugs ..you run back to your old comfort zone..

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    8. I have posted here and I don't see my entry here. I wrote a very long blog too!!! Good going Glenna.

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  2. I am very glad that I had a wonderful dietician. He asked me what I wanted to eat and together we planned the menu following the Mediterranean Diet. I have lost 18 kilos (about 4 kilos a month) and am very proud that during the Christmas holidays (Mid December to Mid January) I did not gain more than a kilo. As Girl Cook Art said above the key to weight loss is everything in moderation and some exercise. In a couple of months I will publish a second cookbook with recipes I made during my diet and my dietician will also contribute in the scientific part of the book.

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    1. My dearest Ivy, I will be the 1st to buy this new cookbook of yours. I am sure that it is going to be perfect!!

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  3. I agree, it's very hard to lose weight, but definitely not impossible. I lost 40 pounds and I'm only 17 years old. I've kept it off for a couple of years now and I couldn't be happier. All you have to do is stick to the basics, there's no 3 step diet or whatever, it's simply just eating healthy, exercising daily, and staying motivated. You can achieve anything, it can be really hard and difficult, but once you're motivated enough, you'll be able to do anything!

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  4. I couldn't agree more with all of you. However, there is a simple metabolism formula, as I call it: if you want to maintain weight, calories IN = calories OUT. If you want to loose some kilos/pounds, well, then it comes down to thorough counting: calories IN have to be less then calories you burn. For that I didn't go on a diet, I changed my lifestyle.
    Thanks for a great post!

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  5. I hate the word "diet". I really don't think anything but "life changes" prove successful for sustaining healthy weight and balanced fitness. It's a commitment, as with most things that you really want, and it's not always easy. But when we make changes and commit to incorporating those changes into our daily ritual, we're successful.
    But I'll tell ya.... if you keep you making those GORGEOUS cakes, we'll all fail ;)

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  6. I am so happy you found my blog! My aim as a dietitian is to provide tasty recipes that are healthy, hope you find more recipes to try!

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    1. I am happy I found your blog too! I am sure your recipes will be valuable...!

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  7. CONGRATS to you for taking initiative and achieving your goals! You are an inspiration!!!! :D

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  8. Losing weight at my age has been difficult, but the small amount that I've taken off has been so motivating! I'm feeling better and I'm actually more active which has encouraged me even more. I agree - cooking and making healthy options MUST Be considered!

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    1. That's why I like your blog so much Ann. Your recipes are delicious and healthy as well!

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  9. Stress and having children never help. It took me nearly 3 years to drop the weight of baby #2, and it took me 7 days to lose more than i gained with baby #1.

    I agree that being more educated about food is important. Its also crazy how many calories you can save by just making certain things yourself, like salad dressings, even burger patties. Simple substitutions like margarine for butter, lite sour cream for mayonnaise, skim milk for homo (They taste virtually the same).

    Its my goal this year aswell to drop some extra weight i've been lugging around. Best of luck, I hope us both the success we're hoping for!

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    1. Thank you so much for your nice comments. Good luck to us both then :-)!

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  10. What an inspiring post! You're going to make it - you've set achievable goals and have such a great support system behind you! =)

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  11. I strongly believe in what you write! I believe it is so hard not only to loose weight but to lead a healthy life! We must change patterns, perceptions, behavior and approaches to food, cooking, exercise and you are so right when you say dietitians should spend more time teaching us on so many other things than just handing us a meal plan. Great post :D

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments. I feel better to know that I am not alone in this... :-)

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  12. Eight years ago I got rid of 43 pounds and have kept them gone. I did not look at the change as a diet, I looked at it as a lifestyle change. Eight years later it is still my lifestyle. I enjoy planning and preparing healthy meals. Good luck to you in your adventure.

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  13. Rosario/Psy 100May 5, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    I can related to this article. I think we tend to not educated ourselve in the benefit of food and tend to eat more. I think that stress contributed to over weight. We live in a city that we don't have time to stop and eat. We are always rushing and tend to stop at the first restaurant without considering if it is healthy. I think that the overgrowing of fast food restaurant contributed to this issue.

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  14. In my Developmental Psych class we talk about weight issues starting early in life and continuing onward. It is a struggle and is something that must be taught at an early age and should continue. I have experience of switching environments where my diet changed when I was younger. It altered my weight and I have dealt with the issue ever since...

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  15. A healthy lifestyle is so important to controlling weight as is education at a very young age. Setting the standard for healthy eating and an active lifestyle must be part of our early childhood education. In my developmental psych course we are learning about the issues with childhood obesity. It will have terrifying financial and psychological effects on our society. Hopefully it can be reversed.

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  16. II love how you recognize that "The other 85% is to educate ones self in the art of cooking, observing (one's own behaviors around food?) and handling food. Losing weight is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT and very time consuming…" I would like to add that developing a balanced relationship with food also requires patience and kindness.

    For me, developing a more balanced relationship with my body and food has required eduction in biology and self awareness, and finding social support. This has been a long term commitment -- a slow progression from recognizing that I had a problem, to wanting to recover, to understanding that recovery is a daily practice.

    I grew up mostly in the United States, with a four year excursion to Italy. As a child my parents bought food based on their cultural upbringing, what was available in the supermarket, and bits of information about the medicinal aspects of food that came to light through popular culture. I grew up in the 1970s when canned and frozen packaged food were staples of our diet along with chips and mass produced cookies. I believed food was to be eaten morning, noon and night. Sweet treats and alcohol were my family's way to create a festive spirit. I had no idea about nutrients and their use in the body, and when life felt depressing I leaned on sweet treats in hopes of creating a more festive spirit.

    As my hormones and body changed in puberty I became very self conscious. When I saw free-spirited looking skinny women in television advertisements and compared myself to them, I started to feel even more shame about my physical appearance. Not knowing anything about nutrition, I figured the best way to become "free spirited" and attractive to men (thinking that being attractive to a man was the ticket to happiness), was to stop eating. I started to restrict my food (unaware that food contained necessary nutrients). Then I would binge. Then binge and purge. After 20 years of struggling in these ways with food, I finally sought out individual and group therapeutic support. (continued in next entry).

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  17. I had sought therapy for my anxiety and depression years before addressing the eating disorder. Therapy provided a combination of education and developing self-observation. Once I started to address the eating disorder in therapy, I also sought out a dietician to learn about how food is utilized by the body/what the body requires to function and how to plan balanced meals and an eating schedule that supports the body's funcitions. The eating disorder had interfered with my ability to develop meaningful intimate relationships. As a result I was also very lonely. This perpetuated my attempt to have the "perfect" body, falsely believing my appearance was the key to happiness. A man who did pay attention to me who had been in a 12 step program for a long time recommended I try O.A. I sought group support through this 12-step program and then a support group led by my therapist for women with eating disorders.

    I am indebted to people who provided my education. This ranges from the dietician, to my cognitive-behavior based therapist, to yoga, to Facebook pages built on research in health and wellness, and taking classes like Human Developmental Psychology.

    All of these educators have asked me to become more self-reflective which has helped me to recognize the choices that are in my control that facilitate recovery from the dieting battle. (From what kinds of food I buy, to choosing to be around people whose opinions feel nurturing to my health, to how to check my own perceptions of life events so that I don't fall into seeing myself as a victim, and into learned helplessness.) My therapy/education also included reading buddhist psychology. I mention this because it helped me learn to identify my difficult emotions and to recognize that learning how to handle emotions in constructive ways is a shared human challenge. I had previously tried using food and caffeine to regulate/get rid of my moods rather than trying to understand them.

    Learning, self observation, commitment, patience and kindness have helped me to recover from a self-destructive relationship with food. Within the supportive context of therapy I was able to learn to notice when things get in the way of taking care of this body, mind, and spirit that I am responsible for. As they note in 12-step recovery programs, within a support group I was given love until I was able to love/care my self. Recognition of myself as a member of a caring group has helped me to overcome some of the low self-esteem that had motivated the self-destructive behavior. As 12-step recovery programs predict, now I want to extend the ability to care to others who are suffering, to help others' who want to recovery by sharing my experience, strength and hope.

    My commitment to continue on this journey toward equinimity/health is motivated by the difference I feel when I am eating well and exercising. That difference is improved mood and sense of well bein. My commitment is also is fueled by my passion to care for our planet. There is evidence that a natural diet can nourish the human body while also helping sustain the health of Earth.

    During stressful times, I fall back on caffeine, overeating less healthy fats, carbs and sugars, but I find I'm more eager to treat myself kindly and restore a sensible diet more quickly as my body becomes more familiar with how much better it feels/works when nourished and exercised.

    With love.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your journey. I highly recommend experimenting with superfoods and raw food. Raw food desserts are especially yummy and nutrient dense food. And, best of all raw chocolate (cacao) is a superfood! Check out David Wolfe's Superfood and Eating for Beauty books/YouTube and Ani Phytos wonderful recipe books/YouTube - they are passionate characters and among the many who helped educate me find another way to eat and prepare tasty raw foods. I have a stressful job and found as I got older, I put on weight eating a vegan diet. Once upon a time, I could eat anything I wanted to eat, but with age and stress it's a different ballgame as I have learned in my Dev Psych class. My research over the years has taught me that the amount of soy based products was taking a toll on my body and it took years for it to finally show. Even though I was eating 'healthy', a lifestyle change was necessary because diets don't work. Further research lead me to raw foods. I've been a raw foodist for over 4 years and love it. Sure, there are cooked foods I crave every now and then, but I made a promise to myself to just eat raw, live foods. My choice has changed my life for the better, I quickly lost the weight I gained over the years, and my vital signs/blood work changed from good to excellent. Best of luck on your journey. Namaste.

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    2. Thank you so much for sharing this life experience with us. "When food is love" is a book I read now. I am sure you will like it a lot!

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    3. Thank you both so much. I have just now "liked" David Wolfe and Ani Phytos on FB so I can gradually learn more about their approach. They both look very healthy and peaceful.

      I keep seeing Geneen Roth books -- I will take a closer look.

      So wonderful to experience an open and supportive community here. Thank you. Namaste.

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  18. I agree the actual act of losing weight is significantly less than what it takes to get educated about food, learn what's needed to maintain health, develop a healthy food/life balance, and actively seek professional help/support as needed. In Prof. Neo's Dev Psych class this semester, I learned that childhood obesity (obesity is defined as weight > 20% above the average for a given height/weight) has become a serious issue in our society. Since the 1960's, 3 times the number of children (15%) are obese and there is an 80% chance that these children will become obese adults. For example, in adolescence environmental pressures and physical changes may lead to obesity and/or eating disorders. During middle childhood (6-12 yrs old), 'baby fat' is lost and physical development starts as a child's gross motor skills are put to use with activities such as: biking, swimming, skating, running, and sports like baseball. Lack of exercise is a major culprit, but fast food/uneducated eating and sedentary activities with unhealthy snacks also plays a major part.

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  19. I have never struggle with weight but have loved ones that have been dealing with it all their lives. They best that I can do is listening and be supportive, sometimes people need to express their emotions and find other ways to deal with frustrations we
    are seek comfort in food. And reminds are loved love that every body comes in different sizes and shapes, power to embrace
    yourself and love yourself just the way you are.

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  20. Losing weight can be an extremely emotional and mental struggle. You have to be completely committed to the overall process. The problem most people face is the lack of commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and expect the fastest result in a short amount of time. This is one of the main reasons why diet fail. If you're seeking a quick fix to a long term goal, chances are you will succeed in the short run but fail later on. Reaching your goal weight is one thing, but maintaining it is a whole other story. This is the reason why it is important to eat healthy and exercise, just maintain a healthy lifestyle, and eventually you will shed the pounds. It is important to not get fixated on a number, but focus on your overall health. It will be more beneficial in the long run. Diets teach us that some foods are off limits and this shouldn't be the case because sooner or later the craving kicks in and you end up binge eating. Hence, it is best to eat all the food you love, but just in a moderate portion or perhaps cooking in methods more healthy. You can eat, lose weight and be happy while doing so instead of torturing oneself. There's only one life to live, so why not eat and be merry!

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    1. If I could stay "completely committed to the overall process" I would not be over-weighted my dear Natalie :-) but I do agree with you that staying away from foods we love lead us to binge eating.

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  21. Why do diets fail?? Well, once we use the word diet, already you're setting yourself up for failure. Unfortunately, when a person says their going on a "diet", it's almost always a temporary fix to your psychological and or emotional issues. We find what is wrong with ourselves and want to fix it...so we quickly turn to what we make ourselves believe would change our self esteem. I think that what we need to do is look back at how we are feeding our bodies on a day to day basis. We know we want, or actually need a healthier life style...but many are hesitant to take on the challenge of making it permanent. Listen, nobody, well not too many people want to give up tasty cakes and the yummy cream pies, and we shouldn't have to. Those cookies and milk that you're craving can be had...just learn how to moderate your intake and before you know it, you're heading towards the right path of health and eventually looking and feeling your best.

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  22. Diets fail because a lot of people do not take it seriously.

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  23. Diets fail because some people do not take it serious. K. Turner

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  24. Diet fails because it does not adress the problem. when people that have a weight issue says they are going on a diet on their mind they think it is a temporary fix, but in reality a lifestyle change. People needs to know what's fuel their bodies and not really focus on weight instead on health advantages.

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  25. Anorexia Nevrosa is the fear of being so people who suffer this psychological disorder just stop eating but sometimes loves to cook or talk about food. It can be life treating if it goes long without treatment. This disorder affect mostly young women around the age of 12 to 40 but 10% of men are affected as well. there are treatments that can help.

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  26. People know so little about it but talk much about obesity. At very young age children are concerned with their weight and how their apperance. At that tender age these issue should be the last thing on their mind. If only educational session for parents that are affordable to teach them on how to stay active and healthy may be we can stop the cycle.To be considered obese 20% more of the body weight and height. it is a big issue for americans because 15% of children are obese and they are more likely to become overweight adults and prone to chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

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  27. binge eating is consider another form of psychological disturbance when peole comsume large amount of food and then force themselves to vomit; this create a chemical imbalance in the body and can be fetal. One reason they do it because society put pressure on how they should look.people that suffer from the disease on their mind think they are fat yet in reality they are not.

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  28. Diet fails because of the stress. Stress the physical and emotional response to events that threaten or challenge us. People who are on the diet using food like distress. For them it is easily to drop the diet because of the emotions problems.

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  29. Diet fails because of the lack of motivation. For people on diet it hard to understand that they have to change their food for the rest of their life to be healthier and in good shape, not for the short period of time. Some people when they reached their goal starting eat the same way like before. At this situation they gain even more weight. People must have motivation during long period of time. When their motivation gone the diet failed.

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  30. Diet fails because of social factor. For people on diet it’s very hard to be with people why are not on diet. Difficult time is when they are getting meal together. If all your friends are eating junk food, which is your favorite and you are eating steamed vegetables, which you never like you are easily can fail with your diet. People around you have influence on your decision.

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  31. We must define what it means to actually "fail"and "succeed" when dieting. While the goal is may at first come from a desire to be healthier, having "success" with a diet may lead to anorexia, which is characterized by unhealthy behavior needed to maintain an unhealthy body mass index. In the cases of eating disorders and even the maintenance a healthy diet, family therapy often serves as an integral part of treatment and healthy recovery. Developmentally speaking, having a good support system, especially at a young age can lead to much better physical and mental health later in life.

    Paolo L (Psych 240)

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  32. diets fail because of many reasons. people dont educate themselves well. i believe it is important to eat healthy, get 8 hours of sleep and do some exercise. i tried to lose weight many times but i did not succeed because i realize that i was eating unhealthy food and lot of junk food.

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  33. MMM well I think that diet fails because there is so much pressure put on each individual that is overwhelming and when things like this happen I guess the person gets more hungry and that is how weight increased.. FOOD is too good to not eat ….

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  34. Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i
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    ReplyDelete

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