The Shocking Truth: Why 95% of Diets Fail
The Shocking Truth: Why 95% of Diets Fail
In a world obsessed with quick fixes and instant results, the grim reality is that 95% of diets fail. As an experienced Personal Trainer based on the Wirral, NLP Practitioner, Soldier, and Athlete, I've witnessed this cycle of hope and despair firsthand. In this blog, I'll dive into the reasons behind this staggering failure rate and explore how our behaviours and mindset play a pivotal role.
Before jumping in, let me preface this blog article with my opinion. From my perspective, ALL diets and training programmes work 100% of the time. The issue is the people trying to implement them. Some diets and fitness regimes are obviously better than others due to the level of sustainability for the general population. Despite the vast amounts of choice in diets and fitness programmes today, we still seem to be hitting the same problems.
In a recent blog, I wrote about transforming yourself: 'Think like a therapist, operate like a soldier, and perform like an athlete.' You may want to look at this after reading the information I gave you today.
Why Diets Fail: A Statistical Dilemma
The statistics are daunting – studies consistently show that most people regain the weight they lose on a diet, and often, they put on more. Read this alarming study here. This cycle is not just disheartening but also detrimental to physical and mental health. But why does this happen? The answer lies deeper than just calorie counts and food choices.
Behavioural Pitfalls in Dieting
- Restrictive Nature of Diets: Diets often fail because they are inherently restrictive. They create an unsustainable environment of deprivation that is difficult to maintain long-term. This approach leads to a rebound effect, where individuals not only regain weight but also develop an unhealthy relationship with food. So, before you start any diet or fitness regime, ask yourself if you think you can do this for the rest of your life.
- Lack of Personalisation: Most diets are one-size-fits-all. However, every individual is unique in their nutritional needs, lifestyle, and biochemical makeup. A plan for one person may not work for another, leading to frustration and eventual diet abandonment. This is where individualisation comes into play. I enjoy cycling carbohydrates to perform at my best as a Hybrid Athlete. However, some carbohydrates do NOT agree with me. Pasta is deemed an excellent endurance fuel, but it causes a lot of bloating, upsets my stomach and makes me feel lousy.
So, if there is no individualisation within your programme, then there's a good chance you'll struggle with it.
The Role of Emotional Eating: Emotional eating is a significant factor that diet creators often overlook. As an NLP practitioner on The Wirral, I've seen how emotions drive eating habits. Any diet is bound to be short-lived without addressing the underlying emotional triggers.
This is where you want to create emotional connections with certain foods. Some may say this is how an unhealthy relationship with food is created. Creating a negative emotional feeling around poor-quality foods and creating an excellent healthy connection with healthy food is simply enhancing your emotions towards better choices and steering you away from poor decisions. I’d hardly say that was an ‘unhealthy’ relationship with food!
Start visualising how damaging junk food can be for you and create a positive connection with whole foods and how great they are for how you look, think, and feel... More on visualisation shortly!
Exercise Programmes: Where Most Go Wrong
- Unrealistic Expectations: Many embark on exercise programs with unrealistic expectations regarding results and their own capabilities. When these expectations are not met, motivation plummets. I know you want incredible results in 6 weeks, but start to respect human biology and psychology and realise things take time. Stop overestimating what you can achieve in 3 months; give it time, and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in 12 months… Trust the process!
- The Soldier’s Perspective on Discipline: As a soldier, I understand the importance of discipline. However, in the civilian world, strict discipline around exercise can be overwhelming. The key is to find a balance in incorporating physical activity into daily life without feeling like a chore. Walk to more places when you can, and play the game of habit punishment. Every time you consciously decide to eat the chocolate cake (or whatever), complete 20 burpees and 20 press-ups before you do the act. This can be a healthy way to slowly detach your urge to reach for the junk and help you strengthen your discipline muscle.
- Lack of Enjoyment: Exercise should be enjoyable. It's hard to stick with when it becomes a monotonous task. As an athlete, I advocate for finding physical activities you love, turning exercise into a pleasure rather than a duty. Explore what element of fitness you really suit. Is it weight training, running, spinning, rowing? Find your thing and keep doing it. When you connect good emotional feedback with the exercise you enjoy, it will start to become a good habit. At this stage, you no longer need discipline to do it, which allows you to utilise self-discipline elsewhere in your life.
Side Note: I recently wrote an article on Fitness on the Wirral, which gives you plenty of ideas to make your fitness journey more enjoyable by utilising the expansive opportunity the Wirral has to offer... click here
The NLP Approach to Diet and Exercise
- Understanding the Mind-Body Connection: NLP teaches us about the powerful connection between our minds and bodies. Understanding and harnessing this connection can create lasting changes in our dietary and exercise habits. It may sound dubiously mystical, but the visualisation of a healthy body has been scientifically proven to enhance results. You can take a look at this study on visualisation.
- Reframing Thoughts and Beliefs: Reframing our thoughts and beliefs is the key to a sustainable diet and exercise. It's about moving away from short-term goals and focusing on a lifestyle change. Remember, you need to ask yourself if what you are embarking on is sustainable for your life and not just for 6 weeks.
- Setting Realistic Goals: In NLP, we focus on setting achievable, realistic goals. This approach is crucial in diet and exercise plans, ensuring individuals feel a sense of accomplishment that fuels further progress. A great way to set this up for yourself is to establish your 12-month goal. Then divide this by 10, giving you 10 smaller incremental goals. Then, plot the first mini-goal to reach in 8 weeks. This gives you plenty of time to start switching things around in your lifestyle now to shape the journey for success. Hence, you hit the first goal comfortably and then continue the process you've created to reach the next step.
The shocking truth about the failure of diets is not just in their restrictive nature or one-size-fits-all approach but in how we perceive and engage with these diets and exercise regimes. As a Wirral Personal Trainer, NLP Practitioner, Soldier, and Athlete, I believe the solution lies in a holistic approach that considers physical, emotional, and mental health. By understanding and changing our behaviours and mindset, we can break the failed diet cycle and embrace a healthier, more sustainable way of living.
Remember, the journey to health and fitness is personal and unique to you. It's not about the quick fixes but about finding a path that is enjoyable, sustainable, and aligned with your values and lifestyle.
So, enjoy the journey, and follow me on social media: Instagram @Lewbaileycoach and Twitter @Lewbaileycoach