Historically two out of five people will quit a new diet within the first seven days, and only one in five will make it three months. Of those who do manage to stick to their diets and lose weight after a few months, the majority—80 to 90 percent—will regain all their weight and more
What’s wrong with diets? Why don’t they work?
The weight cycling problem stems from the very way diet is defined. It
usually refers to a temporary change with an end in sight—a fad. Instead
of steady, healthy weight loss, many turn to unhealthy fad diets for
immediate gratification. While weight may be lost rapidly with most fad
diets, it’s likely to creep back on once normal eating resumes.
Weight regain is not simply due to lack of willpower, as some claim.
There are real physical consequences of fad dieting that set dieters up
for failure. Here’s a look at four ways fad diets alter body physiology, and
why it’s almost impossible to maintain weight loss on these diets:
#1: Muscle loss
The typical dieter engaging in calorie restriction loses 75 percent of their weight as fat and 25 percent as muscle. This muscle is what we desperately need to increase or metabolism and stay healthy.
#2: Slow metabolism
Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, meaning it takes more energy
(calories) to be maintained. Fad diets that result in muscle loss ultimately
reduce metabolism, making it difficult to maintain weight loss.
#3: Depriving the body of essential nutrients
Fad diets are often devoid of essential vitamins and minerals, which may
lead to significant side effects—including irritability, headaches, mood
swings, mental fatigue, and digestive upset—and serious long-term
#4: Poor satiety
On a fad diets we never feel satiety (full) so we are constantly hungry, which can quickly mentally undo all our best intentions. Good nutrition includes regular healthy snacks to keep us feeling full.