Why Diets Fail

Top reasons you aren’t losing weight:

  • underestimating calories consumed
  • overestimating activity levels and calories burned
  • poor macronutrient balance
  • lack of adequate sleep
  • stress
  • unrealistic expectations


One of the initial problems with diets is how we define them. We see diets as a short-term fix, which restrict our food choices and are dependent on strict rules and limitations. Often we want to fit back into clothes we’ve realised have grown too tight, or get ready for a summer holiday or special event. However, what the word diet doesn’t imply is long-term, lasting change. Maybe we should begin by defining the lasting changes we want to achieve, rather than the short-term shortcut.

A diet is made up of everything we eat; the “good” and the “bad” foods, while weight loss itself comes down to energy balance and our ability to create a calorie deficit.

We need the structure of routine to help us function. However, the problem comes when we are given strict rules to follow. Stereotypically, diets are synonymous with restriction. The very idea of imposed restriction and limitation causes us to break these rules. When we feel restricted we begin to feel stressed. When we tell ourselves we can’t have something we will crave it. Over time that stress builds up until our willpower breaks down and we break our diets and super overcompensate with a binge.

We are all familiar with this yo-yo cycle of restriction followed by binge, followed by guilt and self-loathing.


diet cycle

This cycle of dieting is actually causing weight gain. Since each time we diet like this, we not only lose fat and muscle, but we also slow down our metabolisms. We teach our bodies that food is scarce, so when the inevitable binge occurs, our systems are predicated to store those extra calories. So by the end of the diet we now weigh more, but more troublingly we also now need even less food than before to maintain the weight we have put back on.

Its the habitual nature of this cycle that means our diets are doomed to fail.



So why can’t we simply follow the diet protocol, or eat only a certain amount of calories and no more?

Many diet plans are dependant on bland meal plans we don’t really want to follow from the start, calorie limits, and the avoidance of certain demonised foods like carbs and gluten. (I am bread, hear my roar!!)

All these rules and restrictions are setting us up to fail.

We are products of our environment and we are creatures of habit. Rather than strict rules, we need to focus on improving our nutrition with better knowledge and better habits, which lead to better choices.

Without the adequate knowledge to understand the calorific value of food, how many calories are in different amounts of food, and why we need to control certain portion sizes, we will never really be acting with intent.



repeatedly do

repeatedly do

repeatedly do


We are creatures of habit. Our long standing habits become our character.


Many of us have developed poor eating habits that we repeat every day:

-We skip breakfast

-We snack between meals

-We drink too much coffee instead of eating

-We stay up late and binge eat

By themselves none of these things are inherently bad, and like I’ve said before they aren’t going to suddenly slow down your metabolism. It’s what these habits lead to that generates the problem, maybe skipping breakfast leads to us repeatedly eating twice as much at lunch, or unwinding after work with a few beers and chocolate every night becomes such an ingrained habit we find it impossible to break, especially when we are suddenly supposed to be on a diet.

If we can effectively learn to form new habits, we will boost adherence and remain consistent with better eating habits.


We are always at war with ourselves. We are at war with the version of ourselves we  want to become and the version that acts now. And all too often we don’t deliver on our expectations.

There is the self that lives in the present moment and the exponential or critical self, which is looking to the future. The discrepancy between them means this momentary self is always taking from the future self. Effectively, when we maximise at one moment, the binge weekend after binge weekend, we take from a future self that we will never meet, and never realise.

We are all focused on tomorrow. “I’ll start tomorrow… the new me is on the horizon.” But just like the horizon, tomorrow never comes. We wake up the same. We go back to our same routine. We remain the same.

It is our habits that over time forge our character. Therefore, it is our habits that we must change; the small daily tasks that add up over time to lasting change and growth.

Diets fail because we don’t stick to them.

Often it’s the simplest answers that carry the most truth. The solution then, is finding sustainable habits that mean we don’t feel restricted.



At Bourne Fitness we believe in building better bodies through better habits.

That’s why we’ve designed a six week nutrition program, to help build better habits and give you the knowledge to implement lasting change. It’s not about sticking to meal plans for boring foods you don’t enjoy; it’s about finding sustainable eating habits where you don’t feel restricted.

The Better Habits, Better Bodies Program will be open this bank holiday weekend, and we’ll be accepting ten new clients every six weeks.

better bodies

To book your place, click the link below, or send us an email:





By | 2018-08-24T15:40:23+00:00 August 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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