Going on a diet, usually to lose weight is a popular pastime for people who come to realize they have become overweight. It's quite natural to take this route as it is often a poor diet that is responsible for the weight gain in the first place. However, while many people find success through controlling what they eat, many more fail to lose weight for a variety of reasons. This is why this article covers the question "Why is my diet not working?"
Reasons Why a Diet Fails
There are probably as many reasons why a diet fails as there are people dieting, but there are also some common reasons that derail many dieters and these can be addressed here:
- Choosing the "wrong" diet
- Quitting too soon
- Cheating on the diet
- Expecting too much from the diet
Let's take each of these major reasons for diet failure and look at what can be done to make things right.
It might seem that a diet can't be "wrong" but in actual fact, because different people lose weight through a variety of methods, it is possible that no two people will react to the same diet in the same way. That's because our needs are often different when it comes to losing weight and we need to first discover what those needs are before we can make an informed decision on which is the right diet for us to choose.
Men and women have slightly different metabolisms when it comes to the way in which fat is stored and energy used, so it makes sense to choose a diet that is better suited to your sex. Similarly, people in different age groups metabolize food at different rates so your age should be a deciding factor in choosing a diet. Then there are other factors such as food allergies and an individual's ability to digest and process certain foods.
That last statement is highlighted by the popular "Blood Type Diet" which targets certain food groups depending upon what your blood type is. There is some merit to understanding the differing physiologies that result from a person blood group. In a nutshell, the "O" group is considered the oldest type of blood which gives a person certain characteristics prevalent in our oldest ancestors who were hunter gatherers and lived on a diet that was more biased towards meat. The "A" group is considered a younger type and more consistent with our ancestors who were farmers, hence the bias towards fruits and vegetables.
The best way to find the right diet for you as an individual is to visit a qualified nutritionist who is able to produce a personal diet sheet based on your personal circumstances.
Quitting Too Soon
This is a more common cause of diet failure than you might think. People expect a lot from their diets and often are unwilling to put in any extra effort to work with the diet to maximize its effectiveness for them, instead relying solely on the diet to lose the weight for them. Often, too, expectations are far too high for a diet and when the dieter doesn't see fast results, they claim the diet is no good and quit.
Often, a diet is most effective on a longer term basis because it works by retraining the dieter to eat healthier and control portion sizes better. Overeating and eating too many of the wrong foods is more of a habit than anything else and it can take some time to replace a bad habit with a good one. A person "learns" a habit over time, so the longer time you can give to eating rightly, the more chance that way of eating will become the "norm" for you and you will be far less likely to return to your old, destructive eating ways.
It is also very important to put effort into making your diet work. That's because with all the will in the world, nothing is going to make you lose weight until you are prepared to work towards making it happen. That means not expecting the diet to do it all for you, but instead becoming proactive and putting in some extra effort by exercising regularly and drinking lots of water throughout the day. results can be pleasantly surprising when you do those two simple things!
If there were one major cause of diet failure that the least mount of people will admit to, it is cheating on the diet. It really is amazing how a seemingly honest person will sneak a packet of their favorite potato chips or a packet of cookies when they think no one is looking and then claim later that their diet must be faulty because they didn't lose any weight!
This goes hand in hand with the problem many overweight people have that are simply in denial over the amount of food they eat to maintain such an excessively heavy body. It is a physical impossibility to become grossly overweight without eating more food than your body can realistically process. It doesn't matter if you are an active person of you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your body will have a set need for the amount of food, or more exactly those units of energy, calories, that it needs to consume to maintain its correct weight balance. If you go over that limit, then you will gain weight over time.
The same thing goes for a dieter. If you don't stick to your daily calorie intake for the lifestyle you lead and eat high calorie snacks in addition to your diet meals, then you will not lose any weight.
There are underlying factors that govern how much weight a person will gain or lose, most importantly is their individual metabolic rate. To put it very simply, a more active person generally burns more calories than an inactive person, so is able to eat more. Certain medical conditions will alter the figures somewhat as well, but there is one immutable fact that cannot be cheated on.
You cannot create mass out of nothing!
So you cannot gain weight if you don't eat more than your body can metabolize correctly. No excuses!
Expecting Too Much
A diet is only as good as the dieter who works with it. If you work with your diet and set realistic weight loss goals, then you should expect to meet those goals.
Many people really do expect quite incredible and unrealistic results from their diet. For instance, most people who are overweight and start a diet do so to lose weight and return to the weight and obtain the slimmer figure they had were when they were younger. What often is not considered is the fact that it probably took many months or even years to get to the weight they are when they start the diet. Yet they expect to lose all that weight in a matter of weeks! They then complain loudly when they fail to meet what can best be described as an unrealistic target and claim the diet was no good.
You can only realistically expect to lose weight over a longer term and in fact experts agree that a rate of just one to two pounds of weight lost per week is not only preferable but to be expected. You may lose more in the first few weeks especially if your starting weight is particularly high, but over time, the rate of weight loss will slow down to a more sedate pace.
To be successful with a diet, you need to ensure that you have chosen the right diet for you and your circumstances and individual needs. You need to see it through even when it may appear that you are not losing weight for a week or more because you will get there in the end if you are determined. You cannot cheat and expect to get away with it, even if no one knows you cheated. One person will always know and that person is you! And lastly, you should only expect to lose weight at a realistic rate and not go expecting to shed several pounds all in one go. Your body doesn't work like that and trying to lose weight too fast through potentially dangerous methods such as crash dieting can cause more problems than it fixes, with the result that you will in all probability regain the all the weight you lose so fast and probably a few pounds extra for your trouble!
Be sensible about dieting and work towards a realistic goal and with the right mental attitude and determination you will succeed.