According to statistics, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. In addition to the countless hours spent calorie counting and tracking macros, Americans also spend an average of $33 BILLION on weight loss products annually. Yet, despite the large investment of money and time, a whopping 95 percent of people on diets fail. So why is that?
Well, there’s no one specific reason, but researchers have come up with some of the most common reasons people tend to fall off the diet wagon.
You Call it a “Diet”
Words are important, and one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure is by calling your new eating plan a “diet”. Sure, it might not seem like significant, but the brain responds to words in different ways and the word “diet” comes with negative connotations. Going on a diet generally implies a short-term commitment and lots of restrictions. Instead of telling yourself and other people that you’re on a diet, say you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle.
You Make It Too Restrictive
Some fad diets restrict entire food groups – carbohydrates are the big thing right now – and tell you that you can’t eat certain foods. When you tell yourself that something is off limits no matter what, it automatically makes you want it more. Funny how the brain works huh? This effect makes it harder to resist the food you’re trying to avoid and, in most cases, you’ll give in to temptation. Not only that, but you’ll end up eating more of the food than you would have if you just allowed yourself to have it occasionally. Instead of making certain foods off limits, focus on eating healthy, whole foods most of the time and allow yourself to indulge every once in a while without guilt.
You Go Too Long Without Eating
Eating healthy is not synonymous with feeling hungry all the time. If you skip meals or you don’t eat enough, it makes it more likely that you’ll overeat at the end of the day. Willpower is only so strong. Instead of skipping meals or going too long without eating, eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day and have one or two healthy snacks along the way.
Your Goals Are Unrealistic
Setting unrealistic goals is one of the most common reasons for diet failure. You may want to lose 100 pounds, but you have to understand that it’s not going to happen overnight. While that’s a great long-term goal, you should set smaller, realistic and attainable goals along the way. Instead of setting a goal to lose 20 pounds a month, set a realistic goal of 1 to 2 pounds a week. That way, anything over that will be a bonus.
You Give In To Peer Pressure
Another really common reason people fall off the diet wagon is the people they surround themselves with. When you start eating healthy, there’s a good chance that the people around you aren’t on the same page. These people may try to tempt you with unhealthy foods or try to convince you that you can have more treats than you bargained for. While it’s important to stay social, make sure you’re not letting other sabotage your efforts. Ask your family and friends to support your new lifestyle instead.