7 Reasons Why You Keep Falling Off the Diet Wagon
How many times have you started a new diet, only to fall off the wagon within a few days or weeks?
Maybe you were hungry all the time. Maybe you thought that, if you just had more willpower, you'd be able to stick to the plan.
In reality, diet success is seldom a matter of willpower. Diets set you up to fail, sometimes making you gain weight, always bringing you back to try again and again.
That's good news for those who make money peddling the latest fad diets, but bad news for the dieters themselves.
Here are the 7 most common reasons why diets fail. See if you recognize yourself in these examples:
Reason 1: Diets are unsatisfying.
Look at some of the diets that have enjoyed popularity in recent years: low fat; low carb; nothing but nuts and raw vegetables, lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
Can anyone actually stick to such drastic plans for any length of time and still feel satisfied?
No, they can't. Our bodies were designed to eat a wide variety of foods. Cut out one food group (like fats or carbohydrates) and you're certain to feel deprived. It's no wonder so many dieters find themselves binging on forbidden foods.
A sustainable eating plan incorporates just about everything in moderation. By eating unsaturated fats and complex carbohydrates, you will stop cravings dead in their tracks.
Add lean protein, fresh produce, and low-fat dairy, and you've got a sensible and satisfying plan you can follow for life.
Reason 2: Diets are inconvenient.
Many diets require you to eat special foods, or to weigh and measure everything you put in your mouth.
While it's a good idea to experiment with new foods, you can't expect to stick with a plan that forces you to eat in a radically different way than your friends and loved ones.
Look for an eating plan that fits your lifestyle well. Research recipes that you can prepare for yourself and everyone else you cook for. Learn to estimate portion sizes by sight. The less you feel like an outsider, the more likely you are to succeed.
Reason 3: Diets are expensive.
Some commercial diet plans cost hundreds of dollars each month, not including the cost of fresh produce and beverages. Even a non-commercial diet plan can strain your grocery budget, since produce and lean meat can be expensive.
Instead of buying prepackaged food, shop for whole foods that you'll enjoy eating. You can find good deals on produce by comparison shopping or visiting farmer's markets.
Most grocery stores have sales on meat, and there are cheaper protein alternatives like canned tuna, canned chicken, low-fat yogurt, and ground turkey.
Reason 4: Diet products can sabotage your success.
You've probably noticed the sheer number of diet shakes, bars, and frozen dinners at your local grocery store.
But have you ever looked at the nutrition information on their labels? Some of the bars might as well be candy bars for all the sugar they contain, and frozen foods are often full of sodium.
Don't rely on products marketed at dieters. Instead, eat moderate amounts of real food, and keep your sugar and salt intake limited. You will find that you can eat much healthier on your own than you can by purchasing "diet" foods.
Reason 5: Diets don't address root causes.
Maybe you know that you eat too much, but do you know why? There's always a reason for overeating, whether it's boredom, stress, or just plain habit. Diets do not address these root causes or teach you how to fix them.
If you keep falling off the diet wagon due to underlying causes, put the diet on hold until you figure out what's eating you.
Build a support network of friends, family, or Internet community members who can help you make positive, permanent changes.
Reason 6: Diets make you tired and grouchy.
Diets often leave you hungry, which leads to fatigue and grouchiness. Recent studies have even linked low-carb diets to higher instances of depression.
If you're sad and tired, it's much harder to follow a healthy lifestyle. You might not have the energy or motivation you need.
As stated above, the best nutrition plan incorporates a healthy amount of various grains, proteins, and carbohydrates. Eat a balanced diet, and you'll enjoy more energy and a better mood.
Reason 7: Diets are a temporary solution.
The number one problem with diets is that they are temporary. Even the word "diet" puts us in mind of a temporary hardship that we must endure for a while. When we fall off the wagon, we feel guilty and try to navigate our way back to the diet again.
You'll find the most success by tossing out diets altogether. Learn how many calories you need each day, and get those calories from a variety of sources.
Add cardio and strength-training exercise, starting slowly and building up to five days a week. Your exercise and eating plans should be simple and satisfying enough to be a permanent part of your life.
Now congratulate yourself; you're never going to fall off a diet wagon again, because "diets" have no part in sustained, healthy weight loss or how to lose weight fast.