The average person sets a goal to eat healthier four times each month — and follows through with none of them, according to new research.
A new survey of 2,000 Americans who have been on a diet within the last five years found that the average respondent has been on four diets in the past five years, and quit prematurely during half of them.
Most popular diets included low-carb (53%), low-fat (44%), intermittent fasting (35%) and ketogenic (30%).
The amount of effort required (35%), the cost (33%), lack of support (28%) and lack of time (27%) were among the top factors that contributed to respondents giving up on a diet.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MyNetDiary, the study also examined the biggest “diet downfalls” that respondents have faced, as well as the strategies that actually have worked for them.
When it came to the top dieting difficulties, restrictive eating was a big dealbreaker.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents say they quit because having to cut out foods they loved “drove me crazy.”
Thirty-five percent said the diet they tried was too restrictive for them to stick to it effectively.
Not seeing results soon enough, in addition, was a diet downfall for 69% of respondents, and 73% agreed that giving in to junk food tended to derail their diet dreams.
These setbacks likely aren’t simply temporary road bumps for many dieters, as nearly half of the respondents agreed that if they get off track once on a diet, they can never get back on track with it.
The difficulty of sticking with a diet can be a big problem given the fact that, among respondents who have not reached their weight loss goals, 67% say it will take six months or longer to reach their current weight loss goal.
One bright spot emerged for both serial and prospective dieters alike.
Fifty-three percent of respondents say they eat healthier when they track their food intake, and nearly half (49%) say they eat less.
Forty-five percent, moreover, say the practice makes them more accountable.
Seventy-six percent say that having a support system specifically designed for their health goals would make sticking to a new diet easier.
But 66% agreed that manually tracking their caloric intake is a pain — which may help to explain why 41% have turned to a calorie tracking app, and more than a third (34%) have tried a weight loss app.
“Diet apps have matured exponentially since the dawn of smartphones,” explains Sergey Oreshko, co-founder and CEO of MyNetDiary.
“Today’s diet app, like MyNetDiary, creates a personalized plan, adjusting it as a user’s goals change, tracking not only calories but nutrition and exercise, too. With barcode scanning, it literally takes just a few minutes a day to keep track of your foods and see success.”
When it comes to the other tools respondents use to help stay on track with their health goals, fitness trackers (41%) and fitness apps (29%) were also among the most popular.
But sixty-seven percent of respondents say that as soon as they fall off track, they feel so frustrated that they want to give up.
And 51% say that dieting has never fit it with their lifestyle.
Moreover, eight in ten respondents have sometimes or often found themselves bargaining with themselves for an extra snack or a prohibited food item.
And 72% percent say that having items that are strictly “off the list” only makes them crave these foods more.
“It’s not surprising that people responded that they only crave ‘forbidden foods’ even more,” said Sue Heikkinen, RD. “When tracking with MyNetDiary, you take ownership of your eating. No foods are necessarily off-limits, yet tracking gives you the awareness of how they fit into your ‘budget.’”
Heikkinen added, “The most important predictor of weight loss success is finding a plan you can live with. MyNetDiary allows you to choose the plan that will be successful for you, while learning about the habits that work (or don’t work) for you.”
TOP REASONS TO QUIT A DIET
1. Having to cut out foods you love (37%)
2. Diet was too restrictive (35%)
3. Didn’t see progress or positive change (34%)
4. Met weight loss goal (27%)
5. Diet was boring / lacked variety (26%)
6. The diet was confusing (20%)
7. Didn’t like the taste of the food (20%)
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