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Why Dieting Fails: The 10 Biggest Mistakes You're Making

Jul. 2 2024, Published 5:04 p.m. ET

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Peeling off pounds is easy as pie — eat fewer calories and exercise, right? If it was easy, everyone would do it and be successful!

Here are ten common blunders that tend to torpedo even the most strong-willed dieter’s weight loss program.

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1. Not Reading Labels

why dieting fails

Some foods that seem healthy are packed with hidden diet landmines. Sugar is often a wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing …disguised words for sugar include fructose, glucose, maltose or ANY word ending in ose. Pay attention to serving size — that bag of potato chips may seem like a bargain at 110 calories, but the serving size may be 13 to 16 chips, not the entire bag!

2. Weighing Yourself Too Often

why dieting fails

Seeing unmoved scale numbers can lead to frustration if you believe you were good yesterday and deserve a big loss. Many outside factors can influence weight. Instead, try using a tape measure around the hips, waist and thighs to track progress once a week.

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3. Ignoring Strength Training

dieting mistakes reasons

Cardio is good, but strength training builds muscle, which boosts your metabolism to burn calories faster. Combine cardio with resistance workouts to get the best of both worlds.

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4. Drinking Empty Calories

dieting mistakes reasons

Most beverages like soda, beer, fruit juice and wine are loaded with sugar and calories. Even worse, your brain doesn’t factor liquid calories the same way as solid ones, making you hungrier. Instead, sip water or unsweetened green tea.

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5. Skipping Meals

dieting mistakes reasons

It’s only logical that skipping a meal cuts out calories …until you realize that doing so slows your metabolism and makes you more likely to snack or eat a larger next meal.

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6. Being Too Restrictive

dieitng mistakes reasons

Many dieters try to melt pounds by reducing portion sizes, but feel hungry after a meal, leading to snacking. Also, one or two “cheat” meals per week can help banish cravings that often bring an end to the diet.

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7. Low-Fat, Fat-Free Error

dieting mistakes reasons

Many people eat foods claiming to be low or free of fat, but they are often full of sugar or other additives to make them palatable.

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8. Not Eating Fiber

dieting mistakes reasons

Fiber slows fat absorption and keeps blood sugar levels in check.

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9. Unrealistic Expectations

dieting mikstakes people make

Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Crash dieting to lose weight is often followed by binge eating.

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10. Overeating Healthy Foods

dieting mistakes people make

Too much of a good thing can be bad. Follow single-serving guidelines for ALL foods.

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