Why diets fail and what to do instead

why diets fail

Did you know that most people who lose weight will put it all back on within five years? And many people who regularly diet report that they are heavier now than they were five years ago.

They’re sad facts. Diets fail – but it is possible to get to your healthy weight range and stay there.

I had been overweight all my life due to poor food choices, large portions, lack of exercise and looking for a quick fix. It wasn’t until I saw that photo of me taken in a swimsuit weighing 100 kilos that I realised that the diets weren’t working and I had to try something else. That’s when I made the life-changing decision to quit dieting and become a healthy person. Maybe you’ve realised it’s time for you to quit dieting.

So let’s look at why diets fail

And that’s the first point I want to make –  you don’t fail, the diets fail you. I believe there are three reasons diets fail you:

  • They have unrealistic meal plans that are not sustainable long-term
  • They restrict important nutrients often leaving you feeling tired and lacking energy
  • They create a mindset of a quick-fix, rather than a lifestyle change

Bottom line is, if you’re going to lose weight and keep it off long-term you will need to make permanent lifestyle changes and not revert to old ways once the kilos have come off.

So, let’s get back to basics

Firstly, forget every failed diet you’ve tried in the past and make the commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Here’s my five tips to become a healthy person:

Tip 1: Know your daily calorie intake. If you’ve ever followed one of my menu plans you will know that I have four levels – each with a different calorie and fat count. The number of calories you need per day is determined by your age, gender, weight, and activity level. Eating more than your recommended calorie intake will cause you to gain weight, while eating less will make you lose weight. Find out the daily calorie and fat requirement that’s right for you; and stick to it. (You’ll find this information in book 5 and book 6 along with a 28 day menu plan to suit)

Tip 2: Change your mindset. Stop feeling like you’re missing out. Stop focusing on what you can’t have and start looking forward to the healthy food options. Instead of thinking “I don’t want a salad sandwich at lunchtime” think “I’m looking forward to my salad sandwich at lunchtime.”  When you start thinking like this you will enjoy it, but if you’re thinking how much you hate salad you’re hardly going to enjoy it. Fake it until you make it.

Tip 3: Don’t skip meals. Follow a nutritionally balanced menu plan and eat at regular intervals throughout the day. When I weighed 100 kilos I would skip breakfast and start eating at 11am and keep eating for the rest of the day. I thought skipping breakfast would help me lose weight. In fact, it was probably doing the opposite as I became so hungry, then would cave in and eat more than I would have if I had just eaten at the regular time.

Tip 4: Drink eight glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated helps to keep the hunger pangs at bay. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so if you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water and wait ten minutes, then if you’re still hungry grab a healthy snack.

Tip 5: Include regular exercise: Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It will burn a few extra calories, help with a positive mindset, boost your metabolism and tone up those muscles.

A few final thoughts

Don’t think of this as a quick fix! It took me 20 months to lose 35 kilos, and I’ve been in my healthy weight range now since 1993. And guess what – I still eat like a healthy person. Say to yourself “I am a healthy person.” Own it, be it!


Need more help? Read my Coping with hungry days article


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