3 Reasons Why People Suck at Dieting
Diets sucks and people suck at dieting– and there is actually a lot of fact to these claims.
The amount of people who start a diet and don’t get results or don’t stick to their diet is similar to the amount of people who hit the jackpot at the local casino. It is astonishing to go through twitter and Facebook to see who is starting a diet on monday and eating pizza on friday.
Reason #1: People Lie
People are statistically terrible at reporting their food intake– even to themselves. Underreporting the total food intake on apps like my fitness pal or even food logs seems like some sort of diet disease that causes food amnesia.
Numerous studies have found underreporting food intake particularly prevalent among obese subjects, characterized by a tendency to report relatively low intakes of foods high in fat and simple carbohydrates that may be perceived as socially undesirable (1,2,3,4).
People underreport portions and servings, forget about cooking oils and food additives, and blatantly refuse to acknowledge bad foods in their food report like it won’t count against them if they don’t report it.
It seems people would rather seem perfect on paper than actually lose weight.
Reason #2: Food Tastes Too Good
I used to think that people cheated on their diets because of weak willpower but it seems there is more at play than will power alone.
Food today is loaded with artificial flavors, cheap oils, and processed food that is engineered to tempt your tastebuds for more.
Hyper palatable foods packed with sodium and additives create an addiction-like feeling at a physiological level that can lead to weight gain (5). On top of that, our lifestyles have made eating commercially prepared food a daily thing. The increase in consumption of commercially prepared foods is a contributor to inaccuracies in reporting calories/macros as well.
In a recent study published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from Tufts University found that some commercially prepared foods contained more calories than indicated in nutritional labeling. How can that be?
It is a not-so-known fact that FDA has a very lax margin of error rule in food labels— up to a 20% is just fine. That means in all foods, both commercially prepared and food prepared at home, there may be a few 100 calories extra hiding in there without you knowing.
It is really hard to stick to a diet when you are having withdrawals from some chicken McNuggets.
I recently posted an article discussing the state of the current food environment titled “Why We Are Getting Fat” which goes more into depth on this subject.
Reason #3: People Have Diet ADDD
Every week, one of my friends or followers on social media is starting on a new diet. I often want to ask how the old one went last week but I’m guessing not so well.
In comes ADDD– Attention Deficit Diet Disorder.
We as humans want shiny, new things and can’t wait to hop on the latest diet trends. There’s nothing wrong with improving but there is something wrong with lack of consistency.
The biggest reason people suck at dieting is because people suck at adherence!
Adherence to a diet determines if you are going to get quality results or not (6). If you can’t stick to the diet longterm then that diet sucks for you, no matter what any guru on social media told you.
If you want to really optimize your dieting skills, you need to be honest with yourself and accurately report everything you eat. Distancing yourself from processed foods maybe hard but will help in reducing cravings which can lead to breaking your diet. And– most importantly– stick to your plan for at least 3 months. Diet adherence will get you to your goals much faster than attention deficit diet disorder.