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Why Do Most Diets Fail (and How to Make Sure You Don’t Fail Yours!)

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Why Do Most Diets Fail (and How to Make Sure You Don’t Fail Yours!)

Dieting is a tricky beast. On paper, it sounds easy, doesn’t it? Eat fewer cakes, crisps, chocolates and fried foods, and replace them with greens. But in reality, we know it’s never that simple. Not least because of cravings. Then there’s motivation, temptation and finding time to whip up a healthy meal when a microwave meal is so tempting.

So let’s take cravings first. If we’re used to eating a certain way, and then all of a sudden, we’re severely restricting our calorie intake after giving our diet a massive overhaul, we’re bound to feel a bit off kilter for a while. This is because the region of the brain that’s responsible for cravings is also responsible for memory, pleasure and reward. So we can’t just turn off our love for certain foods (unfortunately these are often the foods that are restricted on a diet), as it’s in our biology.

Emotions play a part too. Comfort eating when we’re sad or rewarding ourselves with treats when we’re celebrating anything from a birthday to a generally ok Monday is often the reason for having to diet.

Hormones have a role in why diets fail too. Pregnant women and women on their period or going through the menopause often develop a need for certain foods that aren’t considered healthy. 

Motivation is another biggie. Being strict with ourselves but not seeing the results we want as quickly as we want can make us feel like none of it is worth it. Or seeing someone else eating what they like and not putting on weight can make us feel the same.

Talking of which, temptation is always in our way. Office birthdays, the colleague who always brings in homemade cakes, kid’s parties, kid’s leftovers before our own dinner, social events, holidays, all you can eat buffets. It’s endless! Simply shutting ourselves away from the world isn’t feasible or a good idea, and it would crush our motivation.

Often, it doesn’t take much for us to fall off the diet bandwagon and give up entirely. “I had a bad Monday, so I might as well carry on being bad and start again next week.” Sound familiar?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to diet and exercise. We all enjoy (and dislike) different types of exercise and our biology means that what diet might work for one, doesn’t work for the other.

So here’s our top tips for staying on track:

  • Never leave yourself hungry – fill up on nutrient dense, protein packed meals that are low in fat and keep you fuller for longer such as this Lemon and Hazelnut Quinoa Porridge. You’ll leave less room for snacks!
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry to avoid tempting treats.
  • Motivate yourself by ditching the word ‘diet’ and making it all about a healthy, lifelong lifestyle choice instead
  • We can’t change our biology, but we can change the way we use food as a crutch when we’re sad, stressed or tired. Look at the why of how feeling this way makes you reach for the biscuits. We all do it, and for different reasons, but getting to the bottom of your why will help you change the way you behave.
  • Meal plan so that you have all your meals bought and even prepped at the beginning of the week, meaning you’ll be less likely to deviate from your good intentions. For all of our top tips on how to plan and prepare your meals, head over to the dashboard and use your VIP points to download the Plan and Prepare guide.
  • When the cravings hit, know that most scientists believe that they only last for around 15 minutes. Distract yourself, have a glass of water, go for a walk or eat a piece of fruit. If you can get past the 15 minute barrier, you can do anything!

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