The 3 biggest diet strategies backfires

In the search to find effective diet strategies, there are some that backfire more often than they help move people closer to their weight goal. Oddly, people have tried them and they backfired and yet, the next time they’re motivated to lose weight, they go right back to these same strategies hoping for a different outcome.

If that sounds crazy, no wonder, it sounds crazy because it is crazy.

Here are the mistakes people make over and over and wonder why they never get to goal.


1) Cheat Day

I’ve addressed cheat day in several blogs. There are so many reasons why cheat day is a mistake, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the word itself. Losing weight takes confidence and belief in oneself to be successful. If you think you must cheat to get to goal, what is that saying about your self-confidence and belief? It’s saying, “I don’t have much,” or “I don’t have any.”

There is nothing wrong with taking a day off from your weight loss efforts now and then. It’s a rather good idea, and it’s not cheating. You’re not trying to get away with anything and you’re not being sneaky. You’re being human. All humans, thin or fat, have days that they eat more than they need to sustain life.

If you rely on cheat days to stay satisfied on your weight loss program, your weight loss program is going to fail and it’s not because you cheat. It’s because it’s too restrictive for you to comfortably stick with it most of the time. There has to be a degree of satisfaction with your weight loss plan if you’re going to stay with it long enough to have any success at all.

For best weight loss results don’t cheat, just eat.



2) Switching from 3 bigger meals to 6 smaller meals a day

The reason for going from 3 larger meals a day to 6 smaller daily meals seems sound. It can help moderate blood sugar levels and that may help you avoid feeling hungry.

In practice, however, only some find it as effective as hoped, while a lot more experience the diet strategy backfiring on them. One reason why is that the small meals, even though eaten closer together, never really leave you feeling full. Instead of filling up on a satisfying meal that sticks with you for hours, you feel like you had a snack and you really want a full meal.

Another way 6 smaller daily meals fail is the healthy food myth. Some foods are extremely good for you and that does, indeed make them healthy, but some of them are very high in calories. Avocados, for example, are loaded with nutrients and fiber and even heart-healthy fats, and just one medium avocado has about 227 calories. If you’re not tracking calories, just focusing on “little meals of healthy food” you could overshoot your daily calorie target by a lot.

If you tried to lose weight by eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day and didn’t lose, or worse, you gained weight this strategy isn’t for you. Maybe it works for some people, but don’t waste your time trying to make it work for you. It backfires and you don’t need to do it again to prove it to yourself.


3) Cutting out foods or food groups

Another popular diet strategy is cutting out processed foods, or foods with gluten, some call for no dairy foods, or even bananas. We’re told these foods make us sick and make us fat, cause belly fat and bloating and if we stop eating them we will get slim and healthy. It seems to makes sense, especially if you eat a lot of those foods, you might blame them for the number on your scale and your protruding belly.

It seems like an easier to follow weight loss plan, because all you have to do is eat good food and stay away from the bad food. This backfires and many will tell you is backfires big. Cravings for the forbidden foods grows and grows and as they grow the stress levels grow along with them.

Stress is a major driver of overeating, and the foods most commonly used to stuff down the stress are all the forbidden or bad foods on your diet. Normally there is nothing wrong or bad with going off your diet, but when your diet is highly restrictive and forbids you to eat certain foods, going off your diet takes on bigger proportions with a load of negative self-talk and limiting beliefs.

I’m addicted to this stuff. I’ll never be able to stop eating it and I’ll never be able to lose weight.”

Instead of trying to cut out foods, learn to eat them as part of your overall, healthy eating goals. Change your negative belief that says, “I can’t control these foods” thoughts to a positive affirmation that assure you, “I can’t stop the waves from coming to shore, but I can learn how to surf.”

These 3 backfires can leave you weighing more than your original starting weight. If you want to lose weight, ensure your success by avoiding these destructive strategies.


Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.