Why do most diets fail?

I have read and heard from so many people that a diet works, they lose the weight, only to put it back on and then some several months later. It seems like it is more the norm than the exception. What is the key to not putting it back on?


  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    Lifestyle change instead of diet
  • majigurl
    majigurl Posts: 660 Member
    For me.. it's winter. I do great Mid Feb/mar to nov. .. from late nov to feb/mar all I want to do is stay warm and eat carbs :s

    There are so many reasons they "fail". Not realistic, life factors, people get tired of it... goes on and on..

  • Sabine_Stroehm
    Sabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,270 Member
    One important one mentioned a LOT in the thread below is: you can't think of getting to your goal weight as the end of your journey.

    You've gotta have a plan for the rest of your life.
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,532 Member
    I'm not at maintenance yet, so take this as an opinion. I think that when you look at is as a diet, it is temporary, and that suggests an end date. Losing weight shouldn't be some torturous restrictive process. I think that if it is enjoyable and you learn better habits along the way, with the end goal to be maintaining what you have learned, then the chance of success is increased. The end goal isn't reaching the scale weight, it's keeping it.
  • xmichaelyx
    xmichaelyx Posts: 883 Member
    Lifestyle change instead of diet

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,282 Member
    Because people talk a good talk about "lifestyle change" but generally fail to implement such a change...they lose weight and then go back to "normal"...there has to be a new normal. I don't log and have been maintaining for going on three years now...when I was losing I adopted a healthy way of eating that I enjoy and exercised regularly...I have taken those things from losing into maintenance. Most people don't do that.
  • T0M_K
    T0M_K Posts: 7,526 Member
    complacency. drop a few...feel good...get complacent.
  • xKoalaBearx
    xKoalaBearx Posts: 181 Member
    For me it was not being on a diet, but a lifestyle change... I wanted to be able to lose weight eating all the foods I still loved, so that once I hit maintenance I wouldn't have to change anything except for eating more of the same things. I now eat the same foods and the same macro proportions as I did when I was losing weight, the only difference was 500 cal per day less of everything. Then once I hit my goal weight, I slowly increased to my maintenance calories. So my transition has been pretty smooth.

  • Floridaman789
    Floridaman789 Posts: 109 Member
    Diets don't work it's about a lifestyle change. You have to want to lose weight you have to do it for yourself not anyone else. You need to be committed you have to exercise. Eat healthy not junk food or empty calories .
  • socioseguro
    socioseguro Posts: 1,679 Member
    xmichaelyx wrote: »
    Lifestyle change instead of diet


  • dubird
    dubird Posts: 1,849 Member
    Diets tell you (in general) what to eat to lose weight. Once you hit your goal, you go back to eating like you were before the diet, which is what made you gain the weight in the first place. A diet doesn't give you the tools you need to adjust your eating habits to sustain the weight loss. That's why I at least refer to it as 'changing your eating habits'. If you're just going to go back to eating the same way you were that put the weight on, what's the point? You have to learn the tools to use to keep the weight off, which diets don't do.
  • briscogun
    briscogun Posts: 1,096 Member
    Difference between being on a diet and changing your diet
  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,490 Member
    I looked up the word diet. And of course it is both a noun and a verb. And my diet is a noun. It is not something I do or requires action.. it is just types of food that I habitually eat on a day to day basis.

    Diet to most others is a verb and while most others may feel that diet is known as dieting to restrict oneself as noted in the definition. Perhaps the mindset of a an individual person needs to not look at diet as this taboo word that means restrictive, hard, etc..,

    It has to be first and foremost not to just loose weight, it has to be life changing and life altering way to a new lifestyle. If one just looses weight for the sake of loosing weight and did not learn new habits along the way nor a new mindset then the weight will certainly come back on. This is way easier for some than others. Some may yo-yo many times before it clicks.

    Look at it this way, long term perspective is needed. You can tell how important something is today by measuring its potential future impact on your life.
  • harrybananas
    harrybananas Posts: 292 Member
    I lose the weight in time for the summer season, then gain it back over winter. I don't consider this failing.
  • bruhaha007
    bruhaha007 Posts: 333 Member
    I think we all agree that it requires a sustained life style change and that one can't simply fall back into their old habits just because of a life event or circumstance that comes up. What about the set point theory that we all have a weight our bodies desire to be and the moment we slip our bodies go back to where it originally was? Maybe it takes years to create that new set point.

    Great points on this thread, it is a struggle for so many people i thought it would be interesting and these comments reflect that.
  • nilbogger
    nilbogger Posts: 870 Member
    Losing weight is freaking hard, man. It's hard to change your habits for good.
  • mmmpork
    mmmpork Posts: 133 Member
    I've failed to maintain my weight loss in the past because the "lifestyle" changes I was making were too drastic and required me to exclude a huge list of foods. It was a big deal to eat out at a restaurant or at someone's house. What I ate was so clearly different from everyone else that it became an uncomfortable topic of conversation in social gatherings. My "lifestyle" became more and more all consuming, fueled more by emotion and less by critical thought, further alienating me socially. It was almost as if I was brainwashed into a food-based religious cult!! Eventually I decided I wanted a normal life back and started eating all the so-called "evil" foods again, and of course gained weight (but my overall health improved a lot). As I've started back down the weight loss path, I reflected on times in my life when I was able to maintain a low weight, and also *critically* read scientific weight loss studies (without the bias of my previous diet-lifestyle-religion) where participants lost weight and kept it off long term.

    The one answer I found, consistent in my own life and in scientific research is it doesn't matter what you eat, if you create a calorie surplus you will gain weight. If you want to lose weight, you need to create a deficit. If you want to maintain weight, you need to avoid a calorie surplus.

    It doesn't matter what you eat. You can eat junk food all day long as long you want. You don't have to eat non-fat, low fat, heart healthy, sugar free, lean protein, low carb, keto, vegan, vegetarian, whole grain, clean, organic anything at all. Sure eating less of certain foods makes it more likely to stay under your calorie targets and from a nutrition standpoint, if you're cutting calories, you need to make sure you're getting enough basic nutrition. But research shows *what* you eat has little to do with actual weight loss, it's *how much* you eat that matters.

    You need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. If you're gaining weight, it's because you don't have a calorie deficit.

    That said, I'm not a health professional but I'm aware there are some medical conditions such that you could gain weight even with a calorie deficit... however for the majority of people, if you're gaining weight it's because you're eating too much.

    The approach I'm taking for my weight loss is to set my target daily calorie intake to what is required to maintain my target weight. That way when I hit my target weight, I'll already be aware of how much food I should eat. I will always count calories for the rest of my life and I will always weigh myself at least weekly. I agree with the others, weight maintenance has to be a lifestyle change, but it shouldn't be such a drastic change that you can't sustain it for the rest of your life.
  • bruhaha007
    bruhaha007 Posts: 333 Member
    Great post @mmmpork How long have you been able to maintain at your target thus far with your new approach?
  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    Food taste good and the more calories the better the taste :D
    Test how long you can hold your breath.
  • ElizabethOakes2
    ElizabethOakes2 Posts: 1,038 Member
    Sometimes, though, you can lose the weight, feel fabulous and something comes out of nowhere and knocks you down, and the bad habits come sneaking back. For me, it was a serious injury compounded by the fact that the injury came while helping care for my dying brother. His death rocked me on so many levels, and then suddenly I could barely walk. I'd been happily sitting at 130 pounds for almost a decade, and then suddenly I was depressed, sad and basically crippled. I was comfort eating to cope with both the emotional and the physical pain, and for the first time in my life I couldn't just 'get up and walk it off'.