We’ve all heard the statistics “95% of people fail diets” or “90% of people who lose weight from dieting gain it all back.” While those numbers may seem far-fetched, they are not too far from the truth, indeed, dieting success rates aren’t sky-high. Diet is important when it comes to weight loss; you can’t lose it all just from exercising. In fact, exercise is more crucial for maintaining weight than it is for losing it. Identifying obstacles that may lead to negative diet outcomes gets complicated because there are so many different diets and body types out there. However, some rules do apply to all diets, so we’re here to share four common causes of failed diets and what you can do to avoid them.

Unrealistic Goals
Many try to dive headfirst into strict diet plans and go cold turkey on foods their body has become accustomed to. These drastic changes in food intake can lead to the body rebelling in several ways, such as increased stress, depression, mood swings, and fatigue. Diets should make you feel the opposite–energized and motivated. Simple ways to avoid this is to gradually transition away from common diet killers like sugar, white bread, alcohol, and carb-heavy snacks. Setting realistics goals is also important.  It is easier to set weight loss goals of 5% of starting body weight or 5 pounds lost than attempting to weigh what you weighed during high school or college.  

Chronic Hunger
It’s a misconception that dieting automatically means less eating. It’s unnerving to all of a sudden eat significantly less than what your body is used to. Irresistible hunger resulting from dieting is a bad sign because your body starts to conserve energy which is counterproductive to weight loss. It may sound crazy, but instead of eating less, eat more! As long as it’s healthy foods such as lean protein, fiber, healthy fats, water-rich fresh fruits and veggies, and whole grains. Talk to your Medi-Weightloss provider about the Hunger Scale. Understanding your hunger cues will provide you with more insight about your body and also help keep you on track with your weight loss goals.  

All or Nothing Mindset
One of the primary reasons successful diets fail is that people get either complacent with their progress and resume cravings or eliminate favorite snacks, which can lead to bouts of emotional eating and result in another failed diet attempt. Small splurges are okay every once in a while. Make a list of things you can and cannot live without, then set aside a cheat day once every two weeks so you can manage your sweet and savory cravings and don’t overdo it. Consider healthier alternatives when treating yourself, too, like dark chocolate or almond butter.

Peer Pressure
It’s easy to get trapped and guilted into ditching your diet when hanging out with friends and family, especially if you’re doing something you’ve always loved, like going out for beers or eating at a nice restaurant. This one is tough, but try to do things with loved ones where the entertainment isn’t built around eating. If you get some pushback, just be honest about your goals and their importance to your health. 

Dieting can be a lifelong commitment and constant battle. Doing everything right for your body is hard enough, but ignoring the many traps and triggers out there makes it even harder. But with willpower and determination, you can do it! We hope these tips help you stay on track and achieve your goals!