Top Four Reasons Why Diets Fail

January 6, 2013

Losing weight is one of the top resolutions made every year, yet few achieve successful weight-loss and maintenance. Why almost all get sidetracked? According to researchers at Loyola University dieting is a skill that requires practice and good instruction. Chances are that you’re going to fall over and feel frustrated, but if you stick to the original plan you’ll eventually succeed; and the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Researchers have also identified what they believe are the top four reasons why dieters fail.

Top Four Reasons Why Diets Fail

1. Underestimating calories consumed

Most people underestimate the number of calories they eat per day.
If you’re serious about it, you should take note of all you eat, including beverages and bites or taste foods. Nothing should be left unaccounted for.
Keeping accurate record increases self-awareness of what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat.
Paying attention to serving sizes, keeping portions reasonable and looking up for nutrition information can also help keeping up with dieting.

2. Overestimating activity and calories burned  

Generally it’s necessary to cut 500 calories per day to shed 1 pound a week. Trying to achieve this through exercise alone can be very difficult. It would require 60 minutes or more of vigorous activity per day. Not everybody has the time nor the will to do this.
A more attainable goal is to move more in your daily routine. Walking or biking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator could be simple and smart ways to burn some extra calories daily.
Be careful, exercise is not an excuse to eat more!” warns Jessica Bartfield, MD, internal medicine who specializes in nutrition and weight management at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery &Bariatric Care.

3. Poor timing of meals

Slowing your metabolism too much by skipping meals is a mistake. “You need a steady stream of glucose throughout the day to maintain optimal energy and to prevent metabolism from slowing down” says Dr. Bartfield.
Never skip breakfast. Try also not to go longer than 5 hours without eating a healthy snack or a meal to keep your metabolism steady. Once you hit starvation mode, it’s going to be really difficult to control yourself.

4. Inadequate sleep

The importance of adequate sleep for better health has been shown in numerous studies already. When it comes to dieting it’s well settled that people who get fewer than six hours of sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite, in particular for high-carbohydrate/high-calorie foods.
In addition, less sleep raises levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. High levels of cortisol have been linked to weight gain.


Dieting is not rocket science. It requires some planning and, most of all, a good dose of will power.
By seriously committing to it, you’ll eventually succeed. Is that “simple”!


The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Loyola University Health System, via Newswise.


  1. I have such a bad timing for meals. I must get better at that!

  2. I think that many people also return to their old eating habits after losing a little bit of weight, bringing them back to square one.