If your diet isn’t working, something needs to change.
Diets are notoriously tough, but these 10 factors are key to why it’s not working, and what you can do to get back to making progress.
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Anyways, back to it. Here are 10 reasons why diets don’t work:
1. Your Tracking Sucks
The first reason a diet might not work is that your tracking isn't accurate.
This happens all the time: if you’re ‘guesstimating’ your food intake, you’re going to have a lot of scope for inconsistency. If you’re 10% wrong every time, you’ve probably missed your calorie target by 200-400 every day.
This is likely to be 40% of your calorie deficit (at least). It’s not hard to see why this might ruin your diet.
2. Your Diet is a Fad
Fad diets focus on irrelevant factors like if a food is paleo or not. If your diet doesn’t focus on calories and macros, it’s probably not much use for your goals.
Fads have a bad reputation for a reason: they don’t work. Keep your focus on the stuff we know works
3. You Skipped your Macros
The macros in your diet are important. If your protein intake is low, or you’re not getting enough fiber, you’re going to struggle with your diet.
The split of macros in your diet can make a big difference to the results you see (in performance and appearance). Focus on plenty of high-quality protein, fiber, healthy fats such as coconut oil, and quality carbs like pulses and whole grains.
4. You Dropped Off After the Diet
This is one we see all the time: your diet was great until it ended, then you binged all those foods you’d not been eating.
If you drop off after a diet, you’ll see rapid re-gain of weight. This isn’t all fat, but it’s still a bad habit. Make sure you stay consistent – your body will adapt to a diet, meaning that if you switch back to your pre-diet eating habits, you’re going to stack on the weight.
5. Your Food Quality Sucks
Eating junk food is a bad idea on a diet. You’re going to hit yourself with unnecessary sugars and low-quality fats.
“IIFYM” can work, but it’s not optimal. If you’re being too “flexible” with your diet and you’re not seeing results, it’s time to tighten things up and focus on some classic healthy foods.
Research is suggesting that the nutrients that you eat together play an important role in the way that your body processes food. This is also a key player in the micronutrients you consume – the vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy.
6. You’re Nutrient-Deficient
Speaking of vitamins and minerals, being deficient in any of these can halt your diet. Whether you’re looking to gain muscle or lose fat, optimal nutrient intake is essential for maximum results.
For example, deficiency in vitamin D can lead to testosterone deficiency and reduced muscle gains. On the other hand, deficiency in Chromium can ruin your metabolism and make weight much harder to shift.
There’s one key lesson here: don’t just get caught up in the macros. Just because it fits your macros, it doesn’t make it the best choice for your diet: vitamins and minerals are key to optimizing your diet!
7. You’re Not Exercising
If you’re on a diet but you’re not exercising, you’re missing out on some of the most important changes to your body.
Exercising on a diet doesn’t just boost fat loss, but you can gain muscle during this period or reduce muscle-loss. These are key to keeping performance up while shredding down.
You might be surprised to learn that resistance training is the best for both fat loss and muscle gain. This is because the recovery and muscle recovery/building process uses more calories after a workout than you can burn on a treadmill.
8. You’re Not Sleeping
If you’re not sleeping, you’re not going to grow or burn fat efficiently. Sleep is the key time for your body to produce hormones and recover from training.
If you’re sleep deprived, you can cut your testosterone by as much as 75% during sleep deprivation.
Your hormones determine weight loss and muscle gain, so getting your 8-10 hours is key to boosting both.
9. You’re Too Stressed
If you’re stressed, your body clings to fat. It also pushes sugar cravings through the roof and starts eating muscle to fuel your essential processes.
You can’t be too careful with stress. Modern life is full of it, but you should be trying to minimize stress and make sure you’re doing some pro-relaxation activities.
Yoga is one of the best (it combines relaxation and stretching, win-win), but you can just read, take a bath, take a walk, etc. Just find a way of winding down and resting your mind.
10. You didn’t stick to it.
We saved the best until last.
This is the #1 reason most diets fail: you didn’t stick with the diet – your diet didn’t fail you, you failed your diet.
The science tells us that we underestimate how much we eat and lie to ourselves about weight loss diets. Be real with yourself and stick to your diet for as long as possible – consistency and persistence are the biggest factors in making a diet work.