There are a number of common reasons why diets fail. Sometimes just being aware of how your diet might fail is all that is needed to avoid that fate.
Many people set out in dieting with the best intentions but still fall flat on their face. They hit the dreaded weight loss plateau or encounter some other problem that results in them failing to reach their goals.
Here are seven of the biggest obstacles to weight loss. Do any of these sound familiar?
#1: Giving Up Too Quickly
There is a saying, “anything worth having is hard to get.” This applies to your ideal weight goal. The trouble many dieters have is giving up too quickly when they are met with resistance.
Maybe it’s the number on the scale remaining stuck for a week.
Maybe it’s falling off the wagon over the weekend and deciding that weight loss just isn’t for you.
Whatever the case, one of the biggest obstacles preventing people from reaching their ideal weight is meeting a little resistance and immediately throwing in the towel.
There will be disappointments. There will be setbacks. Accept this as part of the process and keep pushing forward to meet your overall goal.
#2: Unrealistic Goals
To succeed, one must set themselves up for success. Many people who want to lose weight want to lose it rightnow. That motivation is a good thing, but sometimes it can be counter-productive.
The trouble with wanting to lose weight quickly is that it’s an unrealistic approach to success. You want to lose 60 pounds as fast as possible. Great. But what happens when you realize it’s going to take a lot longer than just a few weeks to reach this goal? You become exasperated and balloon back up.
Having realistic goals isn’t fun. It’s much more fun to have pie-in-the-sky goals like “to look great in a bikini in two weeks”. This is why so many fad diet products exist. But ultimately this approach does not lead to success.
Succeed in weight loss by creating for yourself goals that are realistic and attainable.
#3: Short-Term Change
Do you take a “deal with the devil” approach to dieting? Some people seem to believe that making a pact with yourself to behave for a couple of weeks is sufficient to reach one’s ideal body. Then they feel surprised, confused and upset when they’re right back where they started a month later.
Weight loss requires a permanent lifestyle change. Until you realize this and accept it, you may just be a hamster running in a wheel: lots of energy spent but never really getting anywhere.
#4: Bad Information
There is so much bad weight loss information out there that some people are just doomed to no fault of their own.
Let’s cut to the core of what weight loss is all about once and for all: burning more calories than you take in.
That’s it. That’s what weight loss boils down to.
Unfortunately, so much misinformation exists about what it takes to lose weight that some people are simply confused. Perhaps the most common form of misinformation is that avoiding fat is the key to losing weight. This is an honest-enough mistake. People feel fat and so they think if they avoid eating fat they will no longer be fat. However, it doesn’t really work this way.
It’s true that, generally speaking, avoiding fat is probably a good thing for trying to lose weight. One gram of fat contains nine calories and so if you can avoid fat, you can avoid calories. However, many dieters succeed at avoiding fat but not at avoiding calories and therefore fail at losing weight. A package of Twizzlers is fat free but would hardly be an advisable inclusion in any diet aimed at losing weight due to the huge number of sugar calories contained in this candy.
Bottom line: don’t believe every piece of advice you read regarding weight loss. Some of it is just plain bad.
#5: Exercise-Enabled Eating
A big dieting pitfall is to motivate yourself to go to the gym and then give yourself carte-blanche to eat whatever you want afterwards. After all, you just put in a great workout. You ran, jumped, pushed, pressed, and poured sweat out of every pore. You don’t need to worry about what you eat, right?
Sometimes not going to the gym at all is better than going to the gym and then giving yourself a free-pass to hit up the Taco Bell drive-thru after spending 30 minutes on the elliptical.
Exercise is very, very important to one’s fitness and weight loss goals. However, avoid the mistake of thinking that the time you invest in the gym gives you a pass to slack in the other areas of your life. Your diet is just as important as your exercise program; it’s a complete package.
#6: Gradually Losing Focus
You’ve made a pact to yourself. You are going to do it right. This time around, it will be different. You’re really going to stay focused and lose the weight this time.
But then what happens after a few weeks of maintaining top focus on your goals? You get sloppy. You forget the reason you ever maintained your goals in the first place: focus and work.
Suddenly you stop counting calories as dutifully. Suddenly you’re finding an excuse to skip working out today. Suddenly there are justifications to eat the bag of popcorn; after all, you’ve done a really good job lately, right?
Be cautious about this slippery-slope type of thinking. It’s very, very easy to fall into the trap of slowly but surely falling asleep at the wheel of your weight loss goals. Do whatever it takes to renew your focus on your weight loss goals each and every day. Remember, nothing worth having is ever easy to get.
#7: Hunger Woes
There are no two ways about it: dieting sucks. Running at a daily calorie deficit in order to lose weight isn’t fun. Feeling hungry and denying yourself food is never enjoyable.
One approach worth looking into for how to circumnavigate the hunger condundrum of dieting is intermittent fasting. With intermittent fasting, you consume all of your calories for the day within an eight hour window. This enables one to eat fairly normally during their eight hours (after all, there’s only so many calories you can consume in eight hours compared to the 12-18 hours most people are used to) while isolating all of their hunger and cravings into a single window of a few hours.
This approach can be really successful. It’s easier to deal with a few hours of being really hungry than being kinda-sorta hungry all day long. When you’re always a little hungry, there’s a constant temptation to break your diet. But when you know that hunger is just something you have to deal with for only a few hours a day, it becomes much easier to suck it up and deal with it since you know your feeding period will commence soon enough.
In this regard, intermittent fasting can be great for helping people break through their weight loss plateau once and for all into a sustainable and tolerable daily diet regimen.