Why DIETS fail?


I am sure you have heard this word a lot since January 1st rolled around...on TV, in magazines, on social media, during conversations at work or with friends!

So what is a diet?

Although the word "diet", when used as a noun means the types of food one habitually eats, the word "diet" is most commonly used as a verb and can be defined as a deliberate attempt to restrict food consumption in an attempt to achieve or maintain a desired weight. 

The inherent message in many diet plans is that certain foods or food groups are making you fat and that they must be restricted and/or avoided completely. Many plans claim to be medically sound but are lacking in their findings. The restrictive nature of these plans also make them difficult to follow and maintain. The diet industry continues to be focused on what we should and should not eat as this is a successful sales and marketing approach, however do not educate clients on what foods are composed of, portion control, the negative effects of over consumption of processed and sugar-laden foods, and how to not adopt to an "all or nothing" approach. 

In a recent 2107 research study, Buchanan and Sheffield, determined the following with regard to why dieters fail:

1. Media messages confuse dieters. 

Dieters are often torn between foods they are motivated to eat and foods they are told to restrict. 

2. Many dieters experience high levels of body dissatisfaction and poor self-esteem. 

Repeated diet failure becomes a negative predictor for weight-loss success.

3. The goal of health improvement does not motivate people to lose weight. 

Rather, achieving changes in appearance is the principal motivation for many dieters. 

4. Dieters tend to return to their previous eating habits. 

Regardless of whether a diet is successful or not, regression is common. This is due to the fact that dieters see each diet as a phase and not a lifestyle change. 

5. Many dieters grapple with food cravings. 

The restrictive nature of most diets leads many to crave or intensely focus on "forbidden" foods. This focus can lead many to periodically lose control and eat beyond full. 

6. Some dieters experience changes in self-perception. 

If they deviate from the restricted diet, they may talk about themselves negatively (ex. I have no willpower. I am weak. I am a failure). They base their self-worth on their dietary success, which can contribute to low self-esteem. 


Healthy eating is a HABIT and not a DIET!!!

How do we make it a habit? Use a SMALL-CHANGE STRATEGY to pave the way for BIG WINS!

1. Small changes are more realistic to achieve and maintain than larger changes. 

Ex. simple food substitutions like replacing a can of soda with a water glass infused with citrus vs. cutting out all carbohydrates and only consuming fat and protein

2. Small changes can influence body weight regulation. 

Even a small increase in energy intake through food combined with a small reduction in energy output through exercise and physical activity can be enough to store body fat. This explains gradual weight gain over time. 

The reverse also holds true with even small decreases in energy intake and increases in energy output.

3. Small lifestyle changes can improve self-efficacy. 

This is the belief that one can succeed in accomplishing a task in specific situations. Positive changes in self-efficacy motivate people to greater progress. 

Celebrating and acknowledging small successes = big wins!!

This New Year, I hope that like all of my clients in my Back on Track and VIP Membership, you also focus on educating yourself, making positive lifestyle changes v. finding the next best diet, breaking your goals down into small, actionable steps that you can work on one day at a time and making healthy living a HABIT! 

Back on Track is currently FULL, stay tuned for our next session in February!

Michelle GutierrezComment