How do diets work

10 reasons diets fail and 7 tips to make them work

How diets lead to success - 7 practical tips

If one now sees the above-mentioned reasons for the failure of diets as a basis, then some tips can be derived from them, which can be more likely to lead to success a diet.

Tip 1: Set goals and control them

In order for a diet to be successful in the long term, specific goals must be defined. The definition of the goal also includes a time frame by when the goal should be achieved. Put these goals in writing! At the planned point in time, it should be checked whether the goals have been achieved. If not, it must be determined why this could be.

Tip 2: Write yourself a nutrition plan

Only a targeted approach to a diet is usually effective. Without a plan, you don't know what to look for. A nutrition plan includes when - how much - of what should be consumed. This is important to ensure that all essential nutrients are being supplied to the body.

Tip 3: keep a food diary

Only with the help of a food diary is it possible for you or the nutritionist to understand how the diet was designed. Using the food diary, a comparison with the nutrition plan can be made and any deviations can be identified. You can find an example of a food diary here: Free food diary as PDF download

Tip 4: write shopping lists

The diet begins with the purchase. If you shop without a shopping list, some foods that do not conform to your diet will probably end up in the cart. So go ahead and go shopping according to plan.

Tip 5: Don't go shopping hungry

If you shop hungry, you prefer high-calorie foods. This is easy to explain from a nutritional point of view. At this moment the body has an energy requirement that it wants to meet. The body can best obtain this energy from foods that contain calories. So you should only go shopping if you are well saturated.

Tip 6: take your time eating

The feeling of satiety does not set in immediately. It starts at a time offset of around 20 minutes. If you give yourself enough time to eat the meal, your body will have enough time to register that enough has been consumed and that satiety signals can be sent to the brain.

Tip 7: don't be too strict on yourself

In order to change one's eating habits, a cognitive impulse control of hunger signals is required. This corresponds to a restrained eating behavior. It has to be constantly fought against old behavior patterns and the underlying neurobiology through cognitive control. This control can either be inflexible (= rigid) or flexible.

The compliance is much higher with flexible controls. A rigid behavior pattern would be, for example: “From now on I won't eat chocolate anymore!”. This resolution immediately increases the desire for chocolate and the first "sin" will not be long in coming. After enjoying the forbidden food, a guilty conscience will spread and a derailment according to the motto “Now it doesn't matter” is very likely.

It is therefore more advantageous to control yourself flexibly. To stay with the example of chocolate, a good resolution with flexible control could be: “Instead of 5 chocolate bars, I will only eat 2 this week!”. With flexible control, "sins" but also situational setbacks such as a family celebration are factored in from the outset. These are then so-called cheat days.

Rigid and flexible control based on examples:

Instead of rigidly saying “I will only drink mineral water from now on”, it would be better to formulate it flexibly “In the coming week I want to drink 3 bottles of mineral water”. The statement “I never drink beer” is better converted into “I try to get by with 10 bottles of beer a month”. “I eat vegetables and potatoes every day” would be better like this: “Next week I will eat 4 servings of vegetables and potatoes”.

If you say to yourself “From now on I will only eat whole grain bread”, this can also lead to the aforementioned problems. The statement “I'm trying to eat 8 slices of whole grain bread for the next week” will be much more feasible.

If chocolate pudding is on the menu almost every day, you may be carried away to say: "I will never eat chocolate pudding again". But it is much easier to stick it out if you only eat chocolate pudding three times a month from now on.

“I never use butter again” should be converted to “I try to get by with a packet of butter for 14 days”.

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