The 7 Reasons Your Diet Efforts Fail

We look at the most common stumbling blocks for dieters, and how to beat them!

Healthy Diet

By Healthy Diet

The 7 Reasons Your Diet Efforts Fail

It can be extremely disheartening to start out on a new diet, only to find yourself back at square one weeks later. However, a healthy diet doesn’t have to be hard work, so here are our top things to look out for when embarking on a new lifestyle, and how to overcome the issues.

Eating calorie-hidden foods

There are some ingredients that look healthy, but are actually laden with calories. This can be anything from pasta sauces, or pre-made meals and takeaways. Not seeing the cooking process means you don’t really know what is going into the meal. Hidden calories aren’t restricted to food items either – fizzy drinks and alcoholic beverages are often packed full of sugars, so should be enjoyed responsibly.

Underestimating calorie intake

When looking at what you have eaten for the day, it can be easy to overlook or underestimate some of your daily calories. This is particularly easily done if you are unsure of the calorie content of certain foods, or if you are eating on the go and not paying as much attention to what you are consuming as you usually would.

Not burning energy off

A key part of any healthy lifestyle is taking part in some exercise – even if it is just a gentle walk. This will burn energy and calories, meaning that your food is being used as a fuel for your body. This also aids sleep – another important factor in general health. Losing out on sleep is actually another factor that can contribute towards diets going wrong.

Making your diet too strict

Setting unrealistic goals is never the way to succeed with a change in diet. If you really love cheese or chocolate, going totally cold-turkey can result in bingeing on these items. Instead, a healthy attitude to what you enjoy, and enjoying it in moderation can help to give you the boost you need to stick to a new plan, while allowing you to indulge and not feel too restricted.

Poor timing of meals

We all lead busy lives, and this can sometimes result in either grabbing food on the go, eating late, or cutting out meals at certain times of the day. Eating late can encourage the body to store calories as fat and not burn them as energy, as you would do earlier in the day while working, exercising or simply doing tasks around the house.

It is seen as a temporary fix, not a lifestyle

Quick fixes and fad diets are often not made to be sustainable, and tend to be used as a temporary measure. Instead, if you start on a plan that is simple to maintain, it can become part of your daily lifestyle without feeling like an overwhelming effort. Simply adding more fresh fruit and veg into what you are cooking is a measure that doesn’t take much, but you will see the positive impact.

Boredom

It can be all too easy to reach for a snack in the evening while watching television, or during the afternoon slump – but these little bits throughout the day can derail a new diet plan. Snacking in itself isn’t bad – just make sure that you have nutrient-packed foods to hand, such as a small handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or some vegetable batons. These will give you a boost of energy and vitamins, without adding extra and unnecessary sugars and fats to your daily intake.

Kirsten’s top tips

– Start with three realistic goals which you feel you could achieve and focus on these. Then when you have met these goals and feel comfortable with keeping the changes going, make three more and so on.
– Keep a food diary – this makes eating much more mindful which means that you are more likely to eat less.
– Eat 5 x 80g portions of fruit and vegetables a day. If you do this then you stay full and are far less likely to become hungry and go for the unhealthier foods.

Kirsten’s worst culprits for hidden calories

– Oil used in cooking (100 calories/ tablespoon regardless of whether it is lard, olive oil or coconut oil.
– Sugary fizzy drinks
– Takeaways and fast foods
– Sauces
– Alcoholic drinks (alcohol also reduces your sleep quality and dehydrates you which can lead to overeating).

Our expert

Kirsten Crothers is a spokesperson and specialist dietitian with The British Dietic Association