Of the millions of Americans who go on a diet at any given time, most of them fail to successfully lose the weight long term. Why do these diets fail? It’s not that we aren’t serious about losing weight or are unwilling to put forth our best effort. The fact is, a majority of these diets are inherently flawed from the start. It’s not practical to follow a diet that requires you to consume cabbage soup all day, or to cut an entire food group from your diet. We’re meant to enjoy our food and the company we share it with - when a diet alienates us from socializing and eating typical, everyday foods, it’s almost guaranteed to fail.
Reasons why fad diets are difficult to follow:
- Calories are restricted - initially you’ll lose weight on a calorie-reduced diet, but if your calorie intake goes too low, the diet will become too difficult to follow. Eventually, as your body begins to conserve calories and your metabolism slows down, your weight loss rate will be plateau and you’ll no longer experience dramatic weight loss.
- Many diets don’t incorporate exercise - if you’re not exercising, you’re not able to maintain your lean muscle mass. Initially you will lose water weight, but without lean muscle tissue your body will begin to break down muscle, leaving you still with a high-fat percentage, but also with very little muscle mass. Not the goal you had in mind.
- Diets are not conducive to our lifestyles - many diets have regimented systems that involve deprivation, which can leave you feeling anti-social and possibly depressed. This could eventually lead to bingeing, which is not only counterproductive, but also dangerous.
- They can be expensive - many diets stipulate that you must purchase specific supplements or pre-packaged meal replacements. Over the long haul this can be costly and will likely be unfeasible for those who are on a budget.
- Diets can be goal specific - they are temporary. Once their goal weight has been achieved or the event they lost the weight for has passed, dieters often resume their old habits, stop following their diet, and end up putting the weight back on.