Despite the sky-rocket profit margins in the Weight Loss and Diet Industry, the rate of folks becoming overweight and obese continues to rise.
What's worse is that nearly everyone (close to 95%) of people who lose weight end up gaining all or more back within a few years after losing it (source)
Unfortunately, I don't have the ultimate answer for this problem (although it's my mission in life to find it!).
However, what I do have is some insight as to why people are failing in their pursuit to lose weight and live a healthier life.
If you've struggled with losing weight or sticking to a diet plan, identifying and fixing some of these common reasons for a failed diet may help!
Reason #1 - Your Social Support is Crap
Are the people around you positively or negatively impacting your weight loss results?
Most people close to you to don't want to sabotage your pursuits of losing weight.
If family members or friends are discouraging your weight loss, its typically because they don't understand how important it is to you.
Here's the fix: make sure that you verbally express to your friends and family the reasons why you want to lose weight (the mental and physical health benefits).
They may not understand why you need to weight out food, track calories, and workout, but they should be supportive of your decision to become healthier.
If a friend or family member doesn't support your decision to improve your health, you may want to reevaluate how heavily that person's opinion influences your decisions in life.
Reason #2 - You Don't Have a Plan
Simply eating less and moving more may help someone who only has around 10 pounds to lose, but folks who are needing to lose more than that normally need a more detailed plan.
As the saying goes:
"If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail."
Here's the fix: Have a clear exercise and nutrition regimen before losing weight.
There are plenty of effective weight loss approaches out there, so it's best to identify one that is going to cater to your goals and help you reached your desired outcome.
Reason #3 - You're Supposedly Eating "Healthy"
This is a common problem I see, and some people don't even realize they are doing it!
When I first started losing weight, I didn't track my calories.
Instead, I started out by switching out the "unhealthy" food I ate with "healthy" ones.
For example, instead of getting fries from the local fast food restaurant, I would substitute them with a baked potato.
At the time I made the switch because I thought that a baked potato was "healthier" than fries.
The REAL reason this switch helped me lose weight is because a baked potato naturally has fewer calories than a large order of fries.
(note: the calories for the baked potato in this photo are for a plain baked potato. Most people are loading their healthy baked potatoes down with sour cream and bacon and still calling it "healthy")
That's not to say that there aren't other health benefits to eating a baked potato over fries (for one, baked potatoes aren't fried in processed vegetable oil), but for body composition, it all comes down to calories in vs. calories out.
Here's the fix: Whether a particular food helps you lose weight or not has nothing to do with the "healthiness" of it, but rather the number of calories it contains.
Don't get me wrong - I recommend people eat more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables for the fiber, micronutrients, and satiety they provide...
But it's important you know that the reason these foods are causing physical weight loss is due to their caloric content and not their micronutrient breakdown.
MID-POST MUSIC BREAK
I've been really into "techno-remixes" lately. This song has been on repeat on my Spotify playlist for the past few weeks...
(although this is a remix, X Ambassadors is actually a pretty sweet band - their new album is on point!)
Reason #4 - You Aren't Eating Enough Food
Another diet mistake people make is going too extreme with their caloric intake.
People often fall for the fallacy that "If some is good, a lot must be better".
While this can be true is some situations (like with frozen yogurt...so good...), it's typically false.
Eating extremely low calories is not going to result in more weight loss for a couple of reasons:
- It's unsustainable, and you'll eventually give in to your body's desire to eat.
- It will cause a host of negative health complications such as poor endocrine health and a slowed metabolism.
Here's the fix: While a moderate deficit is good, going to extremes is not the solution for long-term weight loss success.
A modest deficit of around 20-25% below maintenance calories will help you consistently lose weight while also keeping your endocrine health, metabolism, mood, and energy levels up.
Reason #5 - Relying Entirely on Exercise to Lose Weight
Exercise and cardio have a place in your weight loss regimen, but they shouldn't be all you do.
Studies have shown that exercise doesn't burn as many calories as people think, and it isn't practical for long-term weight loss success. (study)
Remember, losing weight comes primarily from your diet and consistently eating in a calorie deficit.
Here's the fix: Make sure your diet is set up to promote weight loss. Cardio should be used to help burn extra calories throughout the week and for other health benefits.
Click Here to read the article I wrote regarding exercise and weight loss.
Reason #6 - Slow Progress Has Got You Down
Losing weight can be addictive - I know the excitement that can come from waking up in the morning and seeing a consistent drop in scale weight.
The problem is that weight loss is rarely, if ever linear. You may lose 3-4 pounds a week for the first few weeks, but it's mostly due to water weight.
The most you should be losing is 0.5-2 pounds per week. Some days you may lose 1-2 pounds and some days you may not lose anything (you might even gain some scale weight.)
Don't worry about daily fluctuating weigh-ins - focus on weekly progress.
Here's the fix: along with looking at weekly weigh-in averages, use other forms of tracking such as body measurements, clothes fit, and physical changes in the mirror.
Reason #7 - You have Uncontrollable Cravings
Food cravings are a real issue that many people struggle with.
Naturally "skinny" people will try and tell you that you simply lack willpower, but the truth is that there are psychological and emotional components that may be leading you to turn to food for comfort.
It's not necessary to completely eliminate cookies and ice cream from your diets (in fact, I think that indulging in moderation can help keep you sane!)...
But everyone has certain foods that they struggle to control themselves around.
Here's the fix: If you are struggling with food cravings, try to eat them in moderation and within your daily calorie budget.
It's also important to determine if a particular food is a craving or if it is a "trigger" food.
If you want to learn more about the important difference between food cravings and trigger foods, check out this article I wrote discussing the difference.
There are many reasons why your weight loss plan may be causing you problems, but the above reasons are some of the most common ones I've come across.
If you are struggling with losing weight, and your problem isn't resolved by one of these seven reasons, leave a comment down below!
Or you could email or Snapchat me so we can figure it out!
I'm more than happy to help you identify what's keeping you from success!