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10 Habits of Unsuccessful Dieters

Bad Habits That Are Preventing You from Losing Weight


  • 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.
    - 5/24/2016 3:49:14 PM
    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. - 5/24/2016 3:37:51 PM
  • 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! - 5/24/2016 8:44:12 AM
  • 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. - 5/24/2016 7:42:23 AM
  • 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. - 4/20/2016 10:41:34 PM
  • 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 - 3/10/2016 2:04:53 PM
  • 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.

    - 2/24/2016 1:14:51 PM
  • What if you follow all of the good habits and STILL aren't meeting (any of) your goals? :( - 2/16/2016 10:51:04 AM
    This article is your BEST article!! - 1/20/2016 7:22:20 AM
    I love this article.

    When I was looking for updated info on weight loss, I've been hearing a lot about "keto" diets, and after reading what it's about, I knew right away that that way of eating would not be sustainable for me long term, and I question it's safety. I don't want tricks, I want to feed my body what it needs to be healthy.

    I do track my calories, but this article makes a good point about focusing on more than that. If all my calories are junk, even if it's at/under my goal for the day, that's not very healthy for me, is it? Plus, it doesn't take long before you see a pattern of how trying to juggle high-calorie foods in small enough amounts to stay within your goal will leave you hungry each day. By ADDING things like fiber, protein, etc, you tend to end up with food that leaves you feeling fuller AND healthier. I think a good approach is 90/10, with 90% eating very healthy food, and saving 10% each day for something you love that would otherwise be "banned" from a certain diet.

    All or nothing is not sustainable. Moderation is great. - 12/11/2015 2:07:46 AM
  • One thing that made me feel better about my scale was actually weighing everyday (good or bad) then plugging those numbers into a weight trending site. (Not going to promote one, just look it up. :)) Basically, it averages out your weight and creates a smoother line so you can see your overall weight loss more easily. It's really helped encourage me. - 9/6/2015 10:09:54 PM
    I didn't know a thing about dieting ( the only thing that changed in my life was having a hysterectomy, taking steroids, menopause, and middle age). After I was put on estrodiol , and other hot flash medication, I gained 10-15 pounds each year the last two years! Even though I did not make any other changes in exercise, or what I was eating!! I was never a big eater and could go/would go half to two-thirds of the day sometimes without even eating. Then I would have a bowl of cereal for lunch/supper, and maybe supper. Never gained a pound until the medication/menopause entered my life. I was actually trying to gain weight before then because I was too thin. Now since I stared dieting I want to eat EVERYTHING! All I think about is food. Unbelievable! I used to think eating 1000 calories per day was a lot and couldn't figure out what people were bitching about. Haha. Now I know it's not much at all. I heard the saying , "want to gain weight? Just go on a diet"! Now I know it's true. - 8/18/2015 11:46:14 AM
  • Good Article

    My bad habit was listening to the doctors, in the first place. - 7/2/2015 9:00:55 PM
  • Seriously one of the best articles written ever here, Nicole. I read this expecting now that I'm finally finding success, to find one or two things I disagreed with - but each point was true. I weigh myself every day, but now have the three day rule, that I only record it three days that it has stayed that way. - 5/24/2015 3:44:10 AM
    Some reasonable advice here, but I'd caution everyone against watching the scale too much, it can be a serious de-motivator! If you want to see consistent and lasting results, work on developing habits that promote a healthy LIFESTYLE. Those habits will carry you through the low points in your weight loss journey, and ensure you stay slim for life! In fact, check out the following article that does a wonderful job of explaining the key factors in an effective, long-term weight loss strategy: - 5/19/2015 10:17:25 PM

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