There are two main factors which cause dieters to fail their diets:
- Having an absolute/abstinence style approach to dieting
- Only having a short-term plan for your diet
The first and, in my opinion, most important issue is that most dieters attempt to be far to rigid in their approach. The problem with this approach is that any slip tends to lead to a complete failure and ultimately results in dieters giving up or restarting the diet all over only to fail again. We’ve all been there when you have 1 cookie and end up inhaling whatever sugary treat you can find within 100 yards of you. By expecting perfection you are doomed to fail.
The second issue is focusing only on the short-term. Many people take the approach that the harder they diet, the faster they will lose weight/fat when in reality the amount of fat that can be lost is limited. More (or in this case less) is not always better. Furthermore if an individual manages to reach their goal weight they often revert back to their original exercise and diet habits and regain all that was lost – the body is really good at piling on calories as fat after dieting and if you return to old eating habits you will just watch as the weight comes flying back.
The studies of the most successful dieters found that they were able to maintain several consistent behavioral patterns of which a major one is: to keep weight off by maintaining diet and exercise habits in the long-term.
The goal of dieting is not to starve yourself and be miserable. Make smaller changes to your diet, give yourself one or two free meals or even a free day during the week to keep yourself sane (this doesn’t mean an excuse to binge though), start an exercise plan that you can maintain long-term and make sure you are eating food you enjoy. If you trip up then just be flexible, put that down as a free day and carry on as usual.