5 Reasons Why Your Diet Is Failing

By Jim F

If your aim is weight loss, then you will be conscious of your eating habits.

Whatever you call it – diet or healthy eating program – here are a few simple habits that you will need to pay special attention to.

  1. What Are You Drinking?
    Did you know that calories from beverages make up a massive 22% of the average American diet? I have a friend who eats small meals – thinking he’s watching his weight – but then consumes hundreds of calories from beer.

    Take time now to examine how many liquid calories you consume.

  2. Skewed Sense of Portion Size
    Overblown portion sizes have to be one of the primary reasons behind the increasing rates of obesity. Research has shown that we tend to eat what is put in front of us – regardless of its size.

    Learn to take a serious look at the size of your meals.

  3. Inadequate Sleep
    It may seem odd to include this alongside diet advice. However, there is a link between adequate sleep and successful weight management. The longer you are awake the more you will eat (particularly at night). Sleep is also connected with hormonal function – which again plays a major role in metabolic rate and appetite regulation.
  4. Bad Memory
    Heard of the memory hole? Politicians are notorious for making a gaffe one year, then – in the next year – pretending it never happened. The same thing happens with diet.

    It’s very easy to eat without paying attention whatsoever to what you are eating. Before you know it you’ve eaten too much. When we eat very consciously and mindfully we stand a better chance of sticking to the appropriate calorie levels.

  5. Missing Meals
    Admittedly this is controversial. Some people do maintain weight and good health on fewer meals than others. However skipping meals will often lead to poor choices later on in the day. Meals with good protein component will often provide the satisfaction required to prevent a binge later on down the track.

    What’s the point in skipping a decent breakfast – just to raid the office vending machine an hour later?


  1. Mike Rafone!

    All of these reasons are good, but I think the number one reason diets fail is because people are too hungry. We don’t like to be hungry and we don’t like counting calories all day. But I don’t think either of these are necessary. Do you really think 500 calories worth of fruit and vegetables are equal to 500 calories of pizza and pop? Stop going hungry and stop counting calories, and start filling up on healthy fruits and vegetables. Also make sure to eat plenty of fiber and protein, healthy oils, and drink lots of water. Depravation = no motivation.

  2. vicky w

    i once read that if you dont eat breakfast your 6 times more likely to be hit by a car, such crossing the road for work, simply as you need some energy to fuel your brain.

  3. Gregg

    Great tips that are easy to follow. I’d like to add the reverse of number one.

    Let’s not forget the people that a Super Sized Bic Mac meal, eat every bite including all the french fries but hey, it’s okay. They made sure the extra large soda was diet. 😉


  4. jessiemcfarland

    It is good to be reminded why our diets are failing us. We eat the best foods yet we can’t get the weight down. There are other considerations equally important. Good eating habits are necessary to a successful weight loss.

  5. tre paul

    Missing meals are good for only naturally thin people. these are the ones who forget to eat. I have a friend who laments often about her struggle to maintain a size one because she is (boo-hoo) so busy she forgot to eat. I am dating someone who, when stressed, loses his appetite. Those people, my friends, are not us. People who naturally forget to eat and lose their appetite are ok, because they are doing what their body wants to do. however, people like me, who head to the kitchen at 6 a.m. should never skip a meal, because I will be thinking about that meal all day. Then, when I eat later I will remember that meal and hold a memorial service for it by adding more to my plate. If you are are the type who struggle with weight, do not try to morph in to a naturally thin person and miss meals. You are dealing with a different,genetic, chemical makeup that is complicated and has to do with how the body react naturally to stress. If you want to eat, eat. Just pray first and write it down. Then maybe one day you will realize that your eating habits suck because your life sucks and then decide to change your life.

  6. bray

    This may be of interest to readers of this blog since it goes in to detail each week on how to use cutting-edge nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle techniques to lose weight and live a healthier life. It’s free so I figured I would share it…

  7. Spectra

    Not to mention, whole fruit is more satisfying and has more fiber so it slows the absorption of the fruit’s sugars. Why drink juice when you can eat an apple or an orange and a big glass of good ol’ H2O?

  8. Fitness_Fanatic

    Woah, juice should only be drunk very sparingly. Usually only after an intense workout. Drunk by itself during the middle of the day, it’s pure sugar that gets converted to fat right away.

  9. Lola Kern

    Good list! When I lost 85 lbs. over the course of two years, I addressed at the very least all of these points. Definitely portion size in this country has become greatly skewed. And people often don’t realize that drinking several tall glasses of juice during the course of a day can certainly add extra calories to their diet.

    Lola Kern
    Internal Energy Plus™ Consultant

  10. Jim

    As Judy says – I believe there are many people like this. Remember breakfast is about “breaking your fast” — and some of us can and do fast longer than others. Where it comes unstuck is those who skip breakfast thinking they are dodging some calories – but end up consuming more food (and making worse choices) down the track.

    Go with what works for you. If it stops working – then it’s time to try something new.

  11. J. Foster

    Nothing like another research piece to debunk previous research!

  12. Nico

    #4. Bad memory
    This is a very original one, but so true. When I got a bottle of water at my desk, It’ll be empty in no time. Often I won’t even remember drinking any of it… like, where did all my water go?!?

    Eating and drinking just seems to go naturally at times.

  13. Judy Wyatt

    Uh, you’re probably not pregnant, Jim. My husband is a night owl, and can’t face breakfast early in the morning. He eats his first meal at lunch, eats dinner, and then has a cheese plate late at night after I’ve gone to bed. My husband isn’t pregnant either.

    I am a morning person. I can’t start the day without a substantial breakfast.

    I chalk it up to a difference in biorhythms. Sounds like you’re listening to your body and using all these dietary “rules” as suggestions, not laws. Sounds like you’re doing just fine.

  14. Amy

    My problem is lack of sleep. I am not sure about the hormonal aspect for me, but if I did not get a good night sleep (I have 2 small children so chances are good) and I feel super tired because of it, I eat more. I guess my reasoning is that if I eat, I will get fuel, I will be less tired. If I get some more caffeine, or some chocolate, or some protein I will feel better. Maybe if I really start working on the sleeping part, the eating part will fall into place.

  15. Spectra

    Before I lost weight “for real”, the liquid calories in my diet were a huge culprit. I used to drink a 20 ounce juice drink (~300 calories) and a large convenience store cappuccino (~250 calories), plus a large mug of tea with 6 teaspoons of sugar several times a day. No wonder I was always hungry yet fat! Also, I found that if I didn’t stick to a meal schedule, I would eat a lot more random snacks.

    I think another thing that could be added to list would be: #6–Hidden calories. There are probably a lot more calories than the average person realizes in things like salad dressing, mayo, cheese, extra sugar, condiments, soups (especially cream-based ones), and the like. I found that when I realized how many calories were in things like that, I could substitute lower calorie options and losing weight was a lot easier.

  16. JimK

    To be honest, I never even considered that. I just accept as “how I am.” I suppose I should mention it to my doc and see if there’s a test or something…

  17. Fitness_Fanatic

    You might have a hormonal problem. It’s not normal to feel nauseous every morning unless you’re a pregnant woman.

  18. Linds

    Also re: sleep.

    How likely are you to go for a brisk run or walk if you’re fagged out from staying up last night watching the Dr. Who marathon on public broadcasting? Hm.

  19. JimK

    Here’s my problem with the breakfast thing: I don’t want…no, I cannot STAND the idea of eating first thing in the day. I want coffee and coffee and more coffee, and maybe an hour or so later a banana or an apple. I don’t even want lunch until 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

    I’ve tried to fight this for years and adopt the “small meals all day” routine. I just cannot do it. I get nauseous if I try to eat breakfast and it ruins my whole day.

  20. Fitness_Fanatic

    I only drink Cokes all day long, along with my 72oz BIG GULP Cherry-flavored from 7-11!!!! A few fully-loaded hot dogs too. I stop in every 35 minutes or so to FUEL up!!!

  21. Regina

    Does anyone just eat anymore?

  22. Red

    And a reuters article that says sleep is unlikely to affect weight in the long term:


  23. Fitness_Fanatic

    I can’t live without my 7-11 72oz BIG GULP!!! It’s my all-day-long fuel and don’t you DARE lecture me about it!

  24. Fitness Guy

    I find that having a good schedule is important as well. Whenever you have a chance to put something good in your schedule, like fixed meal times, snack types or even regular exercise times then you are much more apt to continue.

  25. Keith Shepard

    >>2. Skewed Sense of Portion Size

    Yes! I totally agree with this point especially. Reflecting on my own diet, I would say my sense of portion size is still a bit large. Slowly, my body is learning to function just fine with fewer calories (but not dangerously low).

  26. Lauren

    I like your point on sleep. I think it’s one a lot of people miss when they are trying to work out and lose weight. In the short term sleep deprivation lowers your production of leptin. This hormone keeps you full, and increases your metabolism! Also your pituitary functions are strongly linked with your circadian rhythms (sleep patterns), messing around with your sleep stuffs up the area that regulates all your hormones to do with your eating, energy balance and metabolism. Thanks for the good points.

  27. Ali from The Office Diet

    I’m definitely with you on the memory point. I had many failed attempts at dieting before I learned the only way that works (for me, at least!) is to record everything. And to solve the portion sizes and drinks one, to also weigh and calorie-count everything.

    The days when I think “How can I begin to remember everything I ate?” are invariably the ones where I made unhealthy choices and snacked constantly…


  28. RT the Fitness Guy

    The drink is the one that gets most people on my site. Protein shakes with too much sugar, cokes, energy drinks. I think people think that liquids don’t count!


  29. Mark

    Can’t agree more most people don’t eat on a conscious ,level at all far from it ask most people what they eat in a day most can’t remember.