“Why is my diet not working?”

If you’ve asked this before, you’re not alone. Some reports suggest upwards of two-thirds of all dieters regain the weight lost during a diet within 4 to 5 years.

Why? What’s going on? Why do diets fail?

Thinking of a diet as a diet

The word diet comes from the 13th century Old French word diete, meaning “regular food.” Centuries later, the term began to be used to convey the food used to “control health” or with a sense of restriction.

While the term can still be used in all of these ways (e.g., one’s diet [noun], go on a diet [noun], or to diet [verb]), the evidence is accumulating that dieting is not an effective method for weight loss for most people.

Temporarily changing one’s eating habits to lose weight, generally does not result in long-term weight maintenance.

And that’s important.

Long-term weight management is key to reducing your risk to the negative health consequences of being overweight. Dietary risks are the greatest disease risk factor we face in our lives, but these chronic diseases don’t happen overnight.

Your diet is a reflection of the food you eat. What kinds. How much. What times. This definition of diet essentially refers to the food component of your life.

A diet, on the other hand, is usually presented as a short term alteration to make a quick fix – a struggle you know you’re not going to like, but you’ll do it as a means to an end.

Thinking of your diet as this temporary measure, doesn’t last. This mindset, is why diets fail.

Thinking your dietary health can be fixed with a temporary change is why diets fail

Changing how you approach the concept of diet is key to making a lifestyle adjustment that will last a lifetime.

This mental shift can’t be understated.

How do you make this mental shift?

Well, it’s not easy. And there is no, one, right answer for everyone. But what does appear to be consistently more effective is the application of simple and small changes.

Like saving money for retirement doesn’t suggest putting a million dollars in the bank when you’re 25 years old. Instead, you make small changes that build over time.

In much the same way, small changes that can easily become integrated into your everyday life grow impressively over time.

These small changes are where you win.

The goal is to fix your diet, not go on a diet.

There are systemic issues in modern society that can make it difficult to find and eat a healthy diet. Food prices, food availability, and abundant and cheap unhealthy alternatives make finding a healthy diet more work than finding an unhealthy diet.

But the first step is a shift in mindset. This is a major reason why diets fail.

Realizing that a diet needs to completely change, now and forever, is where to start. Finding a diet you can work with in this light, is your key to success.

Good luck!

Intake’s mission is to improve global health through data-driven nutrition. Our blog provides information, education, tools, and tips about all things related to nutrition, including healthy eating, disease prevention, peak performance, and personalization. Sign up for alerts on new posts and product updates!