Why do most diets fail?



  • Haevyre
    Haevyre Posts: 8 Member
    I'm in that group of people who reached their goal, then fell. I overhauled my lifestyle in the spring of 2013, working out 4-5 times per week, and limiting my calorie intake. What a ride that was! Seeing that daily progress was always exciting, and provided that motivation to keep going. After about 10 months, I had lost 60 pounds, surpassing my initial goal, by 5 to 10 pounds. I reached a point where I couldn't reduce calories or increase my expenditures without feeling run down. In short, I felt like I'd achieved my body's ideal weight, thus entering into "maintenance". This lasted for only 3 or 4 months.

    As some have alluded to here, there are many reasons which can lead to regression. Changes in schedule, environment, etc. The factors for me, were a change in my gym's staff and format (new trainers, different classes), a nagging injury, and a dramatic change in my work/family schedule. I'm not writing this to make excuses for myself. In the end, I failed to adapt to these disruptions, which led to my falling back into my old, unhealthy habits. What amazed me, was how fast it happened. I remember reading somewhere, that the true test of weight loss, is maintaining your goal for a year, once you've reached it.

    I think maintenance requires a different mindset, which can be difficult to maintain. When I was losing, that daily progress motivated me, gave me that positive energy to keep at it. Once you're in maintenance, you no longer have those quantitative results to provide that daily motivation, which can be something of a let down. Instead of moving forward, one can feel like they're running on a hamster wheel. This time around, one of the challenges I'll be preparing myself for as I lose, is how to maintain the same motivation and discipline once I've reached my goal.

    Another factor I've incorporated into my thinking this time around, is that with certain foods, I'm an addict. Like a recovered drug addict, alcoholic, or smoker, I simply cannot consume those specific foods in any quantity. When faced with a craving or temptation, I approach it like an addict would; I don't miss it, don't really need it, won't enjoy it, and will not compromise all the work I've put in to myself. Thankfully, this list is a relatively short one.

  • chastity0921
    chastity0921 Posts: 209 Member
    I had an injury, too. That played a HUGE role in me gaining back the weight. Depression doesn't usually help, either.
  • Vanessalookingood
    Vanessalookingood Posts: 135 Member
    I am enjoying my new way of life. Making exercise something that I just do. I really am seeing this as my new way of life, letting go of the 'diet' mentality. Diets aren't permanent.
  • AngelinaB_
    AngelinaB_ Posts: 563 Member
    edited February 2016
    I think "dieting" or eating without carbs is a mistake, unless you want to never eat them again. Sure, you lose faster but you will put them faster. I have done that mistake a thousand times and won't do it again. Never, ever. So that's one reason on why "dieting" is a failure. I can tell you with a lot of certainty that dieting actually makes us fat. A change in eating habits that incorporates a lot if not all of the food one enjoys is much better idea around making loss weight a lifetime thing.
  • AngelinaB_
    AngelinaB_ Posts: 563 Member
    bruhaha007 wrote: »
    Surrounding yourself with a support team of positive and like-minded individuals is a critical component, that is a great observation. Seems as though some people closest to us would prefer we fail while people we barely know can become our biggest supporters, strange how that works.
    I dunno why but that is so true.
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    edited February 2016
    Diets tend to have an end date/time...and if normality resumes then weight gain happens.

    Its only when we truly change our eating habits and think of it a life long thing that we have success.

    It took me years of yo yo dieting, then giving up, getting heavier over a period of years, then deciding enough was enough and finding MFP/calorie counting :smile: no banning of food groups just simply CI/CO - it works!

    3 years maintaining my goal weight - I'm a lifer :smiley:
  • amusedmonkey
    amusedmonkey Posts: 10,331 Member
    Not having a maintenance game-plan. Talking about lifestyle changes is easy, but then life happens and tends to revert your eating style back to what it was one bite at a time. Portion creep is very common, so is unnoticeable weight creep. Weight loss needs to come with a realization that there will always be a need to monitor weight and food intake. Strategies need to be developed and put into action to navigate social and life situations. There will not ever be a time when fully letting go for extended periods of time is acceptable. Habits need to be built or modified because "motivation" to maintain is often a very unstable action plan driver.

    I have successfully gone through periods of loss, then long periods of maintenance without gain. I had an action plan. I weighed myself religiously every single day and when I noticed my weight trend creeping up I kicked back into dieting gear. It was all wonderful and nice... until I quit smoking.

    I decided, yeah, I will let go of nutrition for now and focus on quitting. I will likely gain some weight but I will just lose it again like I did. Big mistake! I totally let go and allowed myself to eat uncontrollably because I thought controlling both my calories and my smoking habits would put undue stress on me and I would end up failing. As a result, I managed to regain 45 pounds in a matter of 3-4 months setting me back a whole year. Had I been smarter about it, I would have had a planned gain of no more than 12 pounds in 3 months effectively giving myself an extra 500 calories a day over maintenance to splurge without totally losing control, then if I needed even more time to adjust I would have spent a few more months in maintenance before going back to dieting.

    This taught me a very valuable lesson that I'm almost glad I regained. Total loss of control and "random bites" that I used to take throughout the day and forget about are never going to be an option ever, no matter how I rationalize it. If I ever need to loosen up, I will always still control how much, how often and for how long. This is especially important for people who started out extremely obese like me and have the ability to overeat an extreme amount of calories.
  • LindzMiche
    LindzMiche Posts: 32 Member
    I credit my 100 lb weight loss with the fact that it took me an entire year to do. In that year, I learned how to eat. I picked up a new challenge/now hobby.. running.. and found new goals to set for myself with 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon. "Finish the entire thing without walking"

    After I lost the weight, I had such an appreciation for how much work I had to put into it.. that I could not IMAGINE ever having to do that again. Never.

    I feel like it took that year reset my palette. I shied away from sweet/super salty foods. I was totally cool eating raw vegetables. Etc.

    I've been in maintenance over 3 years now. I'm actually working on losing a few more (getting married, wanna look super cute/tighten up some of this extra skin with weight lifting) and I've completely changed my view of food from when I lost the weight to now. Over those 3 years, I changed my diet several times based on reading/docs (Michael Pollan, Fast Food Nation, Dan Barber, A place at the table).. very few processed foods/vegetarian. I had some food issues/fears that I had to get over (carbs). I actually like finding new recipes that I enjoy.. so keeping it off and eating the way I do isn't hard. I also think putting effort into cooking your own stuff makes a difference.

    So summary... amount of time it took to lose the weight / channeling my love of food into something other than just eating... ie reading about it.. discovering new methods/foods/ways to make healthy food taste good/learning about food issues and instability.

    Rechanneling that food energy is a huge one for me.
  • FitGirl0123
    FitGirl0123 Posts: 1,273 Member
    Don't diet. Make small, sustainable lifestyle changes at a time.
  • bruhaha007
    bruhaha007 Posts: 333 Member
    Great job @LindzMiche That is a long time you have managed to maintain. Very inspiring! So many great posts on this thread!
  • Montepulciano
    Montepulciano Posts: 845 Member
    Don't diet. Make small, sustainable lifestyle changes at a time.

    This...exactly this.