Sunday, January 13, 2008

The No. 1 Reason Diets Fail

Here is the cold, hard truth: 25 percent of people who have tried to lose weight have done so using at least 20 different diets, and 60 percent of all dieters have regained those pounds they once shed.

Why are so many dieters doomed to failure? The No. 1 reason is people get tired of dieting, according to the About.com Health/InsightExpress dieting survey of 500 adults, about 82 percent of whom were female. When dieters get tired of the routine of less food and more exercise, they tend to gain back all those pounds they lost and then some.

The top 3 reasons diets fail:

1. Tired of dieting (40 percent)
2. Diet didn't allow favorite foods (22 percent)
3. Diet too restrictive to stick to it (21 percent)

Despite their valiant attempts at weight loss, 60 percent of respondents reported gaining weight after their diets ended, with almost half seeing at least 75 percent of total weight lost return and 20 percent adding more weight than they lost in the first place. The average dieter shed between five and nine pounds on their most recent diet with 25 percent dropping between 50 to 99 pounds on all diets combined and an equal number of respondents losing between 10 to 29 pounds.

More than 30 percent of respondents cited having dieted between three to five times in their lifetime, while a quarter said they have attempted dieting at least 20 times. When asked to identify the types of diets they have tried, 42 percent said Weight Watchers followed by the Atkins Diet (37 percent), The South Beach Diet (36 percent) and Slim-Fast (31 percent). The majority of respondents (54 percent) have tried between two to five diets and 24 percent have always used the same diet.

"We're seeing that consumers are leaning on commercial and fad diets that follow a rigid program and don't necessarily establish eating habits that the dieter can maintain over the long-term," said Kate Grossman, M.D., medical director, About.com Health.

To make your diet a success, don't think of it as a diet. Instead, make a lifestyle change that allows you to continue eating your favorite foods--in moderation. Never continue eating after you're full and try not to use food to comfort yourself when you're in a bad or sad mood. Most important, only eat when you're hungry.

--From the Editors at Netscape