Why do diets fail?
Boy is that a loaded question: Why do diets fail?
Diets fail for a lot of different reasons, but the most common reason is that diets aren’t meant to be sustainable. They are intended to end. Creating healthy, sustainable, and conscious habits on the other hand, are way more likely to outlast the latest trendy diet.
“But Nikki, I was successful on keto. I lost 20 lbs in a month!”
Yes, you were successful. If your goal was to lose weight, then you were absolutely successful. But what about the “after-the-diet?” Did you continue to limit carbohydrates and eat smaller portion sizes than before? For some people, this works and they are able to adhere to an incredibly restrictive diet. But for the rest of us, it can be too difficult. And when we’re caught spoon deep in our favorite pint of Ben and Jerry’s at 2 am, we feel like a failure.
That keto diet can certainly work- you were in a calorie deficit and cut out an entire food group. When followed strictly, that will get you to your “goal weight.”
But will that weight feel the way you hoped it would?
For a lot of my clients and myself, probably not. The second biggest reason diets fail is because they are begun with the sole purpose being to lose weight– not to feel healthier, grow stronger, or live longer. They are begun to simply lose weight. When the only reason to start a diet is for aesthetics, there isn’t enough incentive to keep going. That’s why so many people stop diets once they reach their “goal weight” if not before. If we are “successful” on a restrictive diet but return to old habits once we lose the weight, we will just gain it back again.
See a pattern?
We spend our entire lives creating patterns and habits- I conditioned myself to think I needed sweets after dinner or a snack when I watched tv. I was unconsciously creating a lifestyle that didn’t serve me! And we are so silly to think these ingrained habits can be broken by the next fad diet.
Unlearning these habits takes time and commitment. It takes having patience with yourself. Diets that last usually aren’t diets at all- they’re a commitment to a lifestyle: a lifestyle that includes drinking enough water, moving our bodies, celebrating fitness milestones, and choosing foods that both taste and feel good.
This route will take longer but it also won’t come as a shock to the system. It will include adding foods to your plate, not taking things away. It will focus on moving your body in ways that help it grow stronger, not shrink. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifelong commitment.
Check out my podcast Why Diets Fail to hear more. 🙂