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10 Habits of Unsuccessful Dieters

Bad Habits That Are Preventing You from Losing Weight


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  • Great article. Thank you
  • wow!!!! great article!!! love learning and thinking in new ways! thanks Sparkster Nicole and Sparkland!!!

    just changing my mind from " diet" to healthy loving choices has made a HUGE impact on my health and mindset!
  • Overall I liked this article. Problem/Solution format is a good way to document some of the things talked about here. Most of us have a love affair with one food or another - mine is ice cream, full fat, creamy and just vanilla. I am an icecream-a-holic. If I buy a pint it will call me from the freezer until the last spoonful of goodness has moved from the carton to my hips. My solution since giving it up isn't really possible. A trip to an icecream store once a week where I replace a meal (usually) lunch with a child scoop of vanilla and then I sit quietly and savor it. I want more but at the price - one scoop of even a child's portion is more than the cost of the pint, I wont do it. Then I get up and leave. Not perfect, but it works for me.
  • What is really discouraging is that I have to be so careful about EVERY SINGLE BITE. I went three days without tracking ... and gained 4 pounds. In those 3 days, I had two cheat meals and otherwise stuck to my calorie range. I know it's not supposed to be "easy" but does it have to be this hard?
  • I have kidney disease stage 2 and am on the Davita kidney diet and average 1500 calories a day. I eat less protein,less milk products,all white bread products,no white breads or white rice. I also have extra salt to keep my blood pressure reasonable. On most days it is 80/55. It is because of kidney disease that it is low. My body can not metabolise pottasium and every food has pottasium even though governments do not list it on the packaged foods people eat,so I have cut back on that and added a Iron supplement because of my kidney disease. I have lost 45 pounds this year. I will be on a special diet for the rest of my life. I exercise 5-6 times a week.I weigh myself daily otherwise I can gain 5 pounds a week with little effort on my part.
  • I can't think of the new way i am eating means I am on a diet. I enjoy food too much, I need to watch my portions. Enjoyed the article.
  • Know what I feel I can't control myself around? Alcohol! It took me 20 years of misery to admit that. "Moderation" in ALL things? Not possible for me. And I'm not too sure all foods are "moderatable" by all people, either. I haven't eaten pizza for the last seven months. Not eating it has caused exactly zero binges. Some people are better off staying away from
    things they KNOW they have trouble eating in moderation. Those people are out there, and their hard experience should be respected.
    I wish you would stop promoting the low fat myth on this site. Low fat and reduced fat products are part of the problem. They contain chemicals to make them low fat. It's not the fat that's bad, it's the carbs that turn into sugar and then into fat. Google LCHF.
  • I made all of these mistakes and more when I first decided to get on the healthy track. The first change I made was to stop using the word "diet" and allowed for cheat days. These are all great points!
  • For me I think all of these held true. Especially the not going on a diet - that really was key because there was no rush and I wasn't waiting for the diet to end. Knew that once I hit my goal, nothing much would change. the other thing that made a difference was gradually moving to real food and more plants. Not only did I feel better, but weight loss was more consistent.
  • I can say I agree with a lot of these. However, the idea of a "cheat day" terrifies me. I am a food addict, pure and simple. If I start having a day that I can eat what I used to want, I would ruin all of my progress.
    I think the thing to take away from this article is that you have to find what works for you. I used to be able to lose weight without exercise. Now that I'm post menopausal, I've had to step up my walking, so to speak.
    I'm comfortable with what I'm doing and I'm pretty sure I can keep it up long term. However, I also have a wonderful therapist who helps me with the hard times that I go through remembering why I got so fat in the first place. I also cut out about 80% of the carbs in my diet because I apparently have some kind of sensitivity to wheat. It causes my blood sugar to spike into terrifying ranges.
    Good luck to everyone here and I hope you find your path.
  • I am stuck. Now everyone is telling me I need to eat more in order to lose more weight. If I am not hungry,why eat? I have lost 75 # in the last 1 1/2 years. Slow as you go. I would like to lose another 40 but not over night. I am being sensible but don't want to gain any weight back. After 6 PM I will eat a fruit or yogurt, low cal, or popcorn. Can't budge the scale. Can anyone help me???????? Joan
  • I will respond based on my experience over the last 4 years... take it for what you will but my patterns disagree with your article.

    1. Disagree completely. You have to be mentally ready to commit even if DIET is a 4-letter word. You also (later on) need to change to a permanent healthy lifestyle, but this is for *maintaining* your weight after you achieve it.

    2. Yes and no. Make a mental commitment to real change, even if that change is not extreme, and then tweak from there a little at a time. Commitment to change is the first step, not the last, and not the result of many small changes. Doing things as gradually as what you're talking about does not yield the measurable results that keep most people going. At some point you have to be all-in.

    3. Portion control daily does not work for me. I turn 40 this year and one little treat on an otherwise immaculate day very often means the scale does not move. Give yourself a cheat day... for me that cheat day is 2 meals and a snack every Friday. The day I start taking nibbles here and there is the day I descend to my fall off the wagon - every, single, time.

    A "cheat day" gives me something to look forward to, and gives me will power all week to say "I can just have that on Friday if I really want it". Then I only have 1 day a week where the scale doesn't do what I want it to do, and because of how good my diet has been the rest of the week, there usually are no adverse effects.

    4. Very much agree with nutritional balance from a more holistic approach. Calories are important but not everything, well said.

    5. Strongly disagree. Checking the scale every day keeps me going. For *most* people, if you're doing what you are supposed to be doing, the scale will reflect changes for the better. I get really excited when I've had a good day, to get on the scale first thing in the morning and see results. Sure it doesn't always say what I think it's going to from one day to the next, but over the course of 2-4 days it's always pointing in the correct direction. It's like a compass with a wiggly needle... sure there are wobbles that don't point due North, but it always straightens out. If it doesn't, you know it's time to change something.

    6. Absolutely. Don't just do cardio either. Build muscle and you will find that even when you do slip up, your body can take those excess nutrients and use them up. You will find after you add muscle, your rate of weight gain even after you fall off the wagon drops dramatically. Your body will reward you by giving you a much more forgiving buffer zone to rediscover your will power.

    Before I started really lifting I could lose 30 lbs, and gain 20 of it back within 6 months. Since I have added muscle, even though I am more than a decade older, I will only gain about 6 lbs a year eating poorly.

    7. Partially true. The Spark calculator does not work at all for my body. If I eat as many calories (even clean calories) as the Spark calculator tells me, to *lose* weight, I will actually gain weight. I have to throw those numbers out the window and discover my own. Spark tells me to eat ~1800-2000 calories a day, when in fact I have to be closer to 1400-1500. After all our bodies are not calculators ;)

    But to your point, you do need a certain number of calories. I know within a few days if I'm below that... my body will crash, I have a hard time working out, my head is foggy, and I almost feel physically ill. If you are doing this to yourself it is not healthy.

    8. Yes you need a short memory like an NFL Quarterback. If you make a mistake, just remember that mistake in no way affects your next eating decision. Each day is a new day, each hour is a new hour... don't get discouraged. Weight loss is a long process, measured in terms of months and sometimes years. One bad eating decision will not affect a twelve-month graph, but one bad decision every day will.

    9. If anyone is serious about weight loss, it almost requires a commitment to study nutrition, even if it's just reading forums and blogs, and studying your own body's results. I remember commercials years ago from KFC implying that you will lose weight eating their chicken because a fried chicken breast only has 15g of carbs. The commercial was laughable and of course pulled quickly, but I'm sure plenty of people believed it.

    Many of those buzzwords have implications of weight loss... low-fat usually means lower calories because fat is calorie-dense. All-natural could mean less chemicals and toxins for your liver to deal with, so it can more efficiently do its job of breaking down fats and giving you energy. Sugar-free may mean it won't spike your blood sugar to the level of releasing insulin and triggering fat-storage, but more often than not sugar-free usually just means it has other nasties in it. Many times these things are important pieces of the puzzle, but none of them alone will be the full answer.

    10. Rapid results are possible, but don't expect to be the person holding the newspaper showing a three-month transformation into a supermodel or beach body. Understanding the curve of how weight loss usually works is the key. Know you will probably lose a lot early, and it will slow, especially as you get older. When I first start a diet I can lose 1/2 lb a day, which eventually turns into 1/2 lb a week. It's about consistency with your new healthy lifestyle and deciding if you are to the point where you want to maintain, or continue to lose.

    Also if muscle growth is your goal, be aware genetics may be kind to you, they may not. It is extremely difficult for me to build muscle mass... I have built a little, and even though other guys my age get much different results, I have to compare myself to where I would be without the weights... rather than compare myself to them.

  • What if you follow all of the good habits and STILL aren't meeting (any of) your goals? :(
    This article is your BEST article!!

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