Why is sticking to a diet so hard? Why DO diets fail? Is there something missing? Maybe you’re asking those questions too. So today, I’m going to give you an answer, and more importantly, I’m going to show you exactly what to do about it! While there are some people with medical problems, the reason most people fail boils down to 2 things: Lack of knowledge and Lack of discipline/motivation.
Why Diets Fail & What’s Holding You Back?
There’s no question about it, sticking to a diet is hard. And it’s even been said that 95% of all diets fail.
There are countless reasons why you’ll want to throw in the towel (or sling a chair across the room). But, when you can put your finger on the problem, it’s much easier to find a strategy that works.
So as you read through these, mark which are holding you back.
Let’s get to it!
15. You’re Not Motivated
Have you ever said, “I *would* go on a diet, but I have absolutely no motivation right now!” Or, “I always start a diet strong, but my motivation disappears in a week or two.” If you have, don’t worry. We all have those moments.
You don’t feel like running and you can’t stand the thought of eating another salad. Believe me. I get it!
In fact, research cites a lack of motivation as one of THE top diet obstacles and the leading reason gyms are a ghost town.
14. You Don’t Have Time
Who has time to get fit anyway? Maybe you’re a student and the pressure of school is crushing. Maybe you’re a single parent and can barely get your kids to practice on time, let alone make a healthy meal from scratch!
Don’t you hate it when someone says, “If losing weight was a priority, you’d make time.” Or worse, “We all have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce.”
As true as both of those statements are, neither are helpful! Have you ever known a single person to carve out time in their busy schedule after hearing one of those comments?
13. You Can’t Afford It
Is it Whole Foods or “Whole Paycheck”? Can you even compare the “organic” food aisle to the low-cost calories at the drive-thru window?
While there are many food categories where healthy food = expensive. Studies show there are healthy options that are often cheaper than their high-calorie partners.
Here’s the real question, Is cost really the barrier? Or is it you’ve been burned so many times in the past it’s hard to justify the cost? Don’t you think it’s amazing how many thousands of dollars people are willing to spend on gyms, pills, shakes, apps, and diet books?
If you’re looking to get fit, make sure whatever program you choose guarantees results. If it doesn’t, then you’re right, it isn’t worth the investment.
12. You Work Crazy Hours
Doesn’t it feel like you have to work a normal 9 to 5 schedule to make a diet work?
Say you work a 12-hour night shift in the emergency room. There aren’t any “healthy” restaurants open at 3 am, and when you’re working the graveyard shift, the last thing you want to do on the way home is spend an hour in the grocery store.
Research into common diet barriers points to irregular work hours as a top reason for unhealthy eating. If you work an odd schedule, sticking to a diet is hard because most simply don’t take your day into account. What you need is a plan that does.
11. Your Plate Is Supersized
Pop quiz: 20 years ago, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs had 500 calories. How many do you think are in today’s version?
1,025! That’s over a 100% increase.
Studies show if you’re going to drop out of a weight loss program it’s most likely because you’re not losing weight. If you were seeing results, you’d stick around, right? Well, a huge factor in why your diet fails is you’re eating from a plate meant to feed two people — and don’t even realize it!
10. Stress = Stress Eating
I can’t follow a diet when I’m stressed. There’s too much going between work and family and taking care of the house. I can’t do this right now!
Stress is one of the main reasons diets fail. And it’s easy to understand why.
It’s a fact that eating makes you feel better when you’re stressed. That’s why you crave “comfort foods” when work was a disaster, you had a fight with your spouse, and the living room looks like your 5-year-old threw a house party.
Many of us eat when we’re emotionally hungry. And that’s why — no matter how much you eat — you never feel full. Stress eating is NEVER about the food, it’s how the food serves us.
9. Your Friends & Family Sabotage Your Diet
How frustrating is it when you’re diet is going strong, but then…
- Your friend says, “Are you having salad again today? Ugh!”
- Your family asks, “Are you okay? You’re starting to look sick.” Or,
- Your spouse comments, “I hate when you’re dieting. I can’t eat anything!”
If you’ve heard any of these before, Can I get an Amen?!
Here’s the thing:
I know your husband, mother, and sister mean well and want to be supportive, but it doesn’t come across that way. Simply put, when it comes to sticking to a diet, your best friends can be your worst enemies.
8. You’re Afraid Of Success
At first thought, you might ask, Why would anyone be afraid of losing weight? BUT, so many people can’t imagine a life without their favorite foods, having a drink with friends, or eating vegetables every meal. Or, they can’t see themselves sticking to a long-term diet or actually loving the gym.
They’re afraid of what success actually means, so they cling to what’s familiar and where they are now.
Are any of these fears valid? Yes, many people fear what life will be like once they get fit. But I ask, Should your fears control your life?
7. You’re Afraid of Discomfort
Self-sabotage has many faces. There’s fear of success and there’s fear of discomfort.
When you keep doing what you’ve always done, it feels comfortable. And so change, by definition, is uncomfortable.
- It’s painless to grab a Frappuccino with double whipped cream on the way to work, but it’s much harder to keep driving.
- It’s easy to say, I’ll start over Monday, but it’s hard to say, I’ve had enough. I’m not doing this anymore.
You see. Any diet is hard — at first. Then it becomes easier and more comfortable. But first, we must face the discomfort.
6. You Can’t Resist Cravings
One of the biggest reasons why you can’t stick to a diet is you can’t resist cravings. When your face to face with a doughnut, it’s like another person (a *very irrational* person) hijacks your good intentions and takes over!
That’s when rationalizations start to creep in:
- “It’s been a tough day, and I don’t have anything cooked. I’ll start again tomorrow.”
- “I work hard. I deserve this!”
- “The scale was good to me this morning. A little cake isn’t going to hurt.”
Do you struggle with cravings? If so, you can try to beat it with willpower (which is not a great choice) or prevent it.
5. You Lose It At Restaurants, Parties & On Vacation
When you’re at home and in your routine, eating healthy is actually pretty easy. But all bets are off when it’s time to unwind, have fun, or soak in the sun.
And as easy as it is to tell yourself you going to do good this time there are too many factors working against you.
- There aren’t any healthy options on the menu (your environment),
- Your friends are having a drink and eating dessert (social pressure), or
- “This is my time to relax” (self-sabotaging thoughts).
When you’re outnumbered there’s no single trick or tactic that will pull you through. To even the odds, you have to put multiple strategies in place. It’s a combination of planning, learning to indulge — without *over* indulging — and having a system of external accountability.
4. You’re Not Planning Ahead
I have a question, Do you know what you’ll have for lunch tomorrow? How about what time you’ll go for a jog or head to the gym? If you don’t know, you’re leaving your success to chance.
So why don’t you spend time planning? Studies suggest we think it takes too dang long. It’s difficult to think through your day, figure out what you’re going to eat, and when you’ll have it.
Planning is key to tackling tough situations, like going to lunch with friends, what you’ll eat over the holidays, and how you’ll keep from getting too hungry on trips. Sure, the plan might not work out exactly as you hoped, but you dramatically increase your chances of success.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin
3. Your Diet Isn’t Sustainable
If the way you lose weight is unsustainable, then the weight you lost is unsustainable.
You can only follow a fad diet for so long. If you don’t like veggies, eating like a carnivore, or the monthly shake subscriptions are taking a toll, you know it’s not going to last.
When you pick a diet it must be based on the realities of your life. Not what worked for your husband or your friend at work. It has to work for you! That’s the only way.
Your diet has to be:
- Realistic, and
If it doesn’t meet those three, it’s doomed to fail.
2. You Only Change What You’re Eating
Do you jump from one diet to the next and the only thing that changes is what you’re eating? One month is high fat, the next it’s low carb.
If the only thing you change is “what” you eat, then you’re not making a lasting change. To make your diet last, you have to change “why” you’re eating. You have to change your relationship, your habits, and your behaviors around food.
1. You Lack Accountability & Support
A 2014 study named a lack of accountability and support a serious barrier to weight loss success. Why? Because without accountability, it’s too easy to rationalize eating after a long day. It’s too easy to skip the gym. And it’s too easy to give up. This same study, “found external accountability necessary to provide motivation and support.”
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” – Bob Proctor.
If your diet is missing accountability, you’re missing on what is likely THE most powerful tool to change your mindset, psychology, and habits.
The 3 Keys To Diet Success
Making your diet stick isn’t as easy as just “Eating Less and Moving More.” If it were, it’d be simple and we’d all be in the best shape ever.
If you want your diet to work it has to meet these 3 criteria. In fact, use these as a filter to run any new diet through to see if it’s going to work for you.
1. It Has To Be Sustainable
And by sustainable, I mean it has to be something you see yourself doing 5 years from now. It needs to account for your likes and dislikes, your negotiables and non-negotiables. If your diet doesn’t take those into account AND work with the realities of your life…it’s not going to work.
Let me ask, What would the perfect diet plan for you look like? And would it be something you could see yourself sticking to?
If you don’t know what that would look like, let us help! This is exactly what we do, and we’re pretty dang good at it.
- If you work the night shift, we’ve got you covered.
- Not into veggies? Don’t worry, there’s a plan you can stick to.
- Running a business AND taking care of your family? We’ll find what works for you and your schedule.
2. It Has To Address “Why” You’re Eating
Remember, if you’re only changing “what” you eat, that’s all that changes. Real, long-term change comes from addressing the “why” and changing your Mindset, Psychology, and Habits (MPH) around food.
If you’re using willpower and motivation to white knuckle your way through a 30-day detox, I imagine you’ll agree that, by day 30, you’re ready to stop.
But when you change your MPH, you’ll find that sticking to your plan gets easier and easier as time goes on.
3. It Must Include Daily Accountability & Support
Without accountability, it’s far too easy to give in and give up. Why? Because who knows? There’s no one watching and no one there to help you stay on track.
At MyBodyTutor we deliver daily accountability and support like no other service. That’s why we get the results we do! When you join, you get your own Body Tutor that will be with you each and every day — weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations…every single day. If you need help, it’s there.
You get accountability from a real coach that’s been where you are and knows how the power of accountability will change how you think about food for the rest of your life.