Why Do Most Diets Fail?

Posted on September 5, 2013

We all do it occasionally. We count calories, we cut out certain foods, we try trendy diets, and we hope and pray that this diet will finally be the solution to our weight loss success. We may be successful for a few weeks or even a few months. If we lose some weight or notice our clothes are fitting more loosely, this is often rewarding for us and we may continue on this diet path. In some instances, we keep up this diet for a long time and reach our weight loss goal.

More times than not though, our diet plan fails and we go back to our old eating habits. The foods we cut out during our diet now come back in full force. We say things like, that diet did not work, or things got too stressful at work or my personal life and I deserved to eat dessert again. Or we may say things like, I am such a failure, I am never going to lose this weight, why bother even trying? Do these phrases sound familiar to you?

Diets fail for many reasons and here are a few of them:

1. The word diet usually implies a temporary change to ones eating habits. Returning to one’s old ways of eating will put the weight back on, no doubt about it.

2. Many of us have an emotional attachment to food and have used food to feel better. When we have a strong emotion such as feeling sad, angry, depressed, lonely, or stressed, we may turn to food to temporarily feel better. When on a diet, if we do not find alternative ways to cope with our strong emotions, we will likely turn back to food to feel better.

3. Going on a diet requires change and change is often hard for people. Change takes perseverance, strength, and determination. Change in food habits often requires major changes in a person’s lifestyle and this is not always easy to do.

If you have been going on diet after diet, only to feel like a failure, please consider the following alternative approaches:

1. Pray, pray, and pray some more. Weight loss requires change, a lot of it. Change is HARD for humans. God can provide the strength needed for permanent physical changes.

2. Seek out support groups and identify supportive people in your life who can help to hold you accountable for your physical changes. Weight loss and other healthy physical changes are most successful when done in a supportive community.

3. Pay attention to when you eat. Are you an “emotional eater”? Do you eat when you are sad, lonely, or stressed out? If so, make a list of substitute activities you can do to help soothe you.  Some activities include: Pray, read a good book, take a hot bath, go for a walk or bike ride, step outside and enjoy nature, and call a supportive friend. This is a very short list of soothing activities you can do. There are MANY, and I encourage you to come up with your own list.

Written By:  Emily Paxton, MA, LMHC, RD

Emily is a Licensed Mental Health Therapist and Registered Dietitian at Groff and Associates Professional Counseling.  She has over ten years experience counseling patients, with eating disorders.  She has also worked with and has a passion for families dealing with parent/child relations or trauma.  If you are interested, in seeing a counselor, for help, in these areas, contact Emily.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==