Why Do Most Diets Fail (and What Can You Do about It)?
Episode #1 of the course How to outsource your diet by Liam Smith
Welcome to the course!
Hi, I’m Liam, a feel-good enthusiast, decluttering guru, and Chief Task Hacker. Over the next ten days, you’ll learn how to outsource your diet with a little-known method I call diet hacking.
Today, we’ll start by answering an age-old question, why do most diets fail (and what can you do about it)?
Apparently, as many as 80% of all Americans’ weight loss diets fail, with the dieter starting to gain weight again after just six months. This pattern continues beyond weight loss too. A whopping four out of five vegetarians eventually return to eating meat in the US, and just one in four Britons get their recommended daily fruit and vegetables, despite clear health warnings.
So, why do we find it so hard to stick to our diets?
The problem is that society seems to value short-term tactics over long-lasting strategies. Let me explain what I mean.
A Matter of Tactics vs. Strategy
Tactics are the kinds of things you read about in popular health and fitness magazines, such as: “Avoid eating after 6:00 pm,” “Cut out carbohydrates,” “Fast for 13 hours a day, then eat what you want.” Tactics sound easy to do and promise almost instant results. Many of the will work in the short term too. Because of this, people buy in to these tactics. And businesses are more than happy to take your money: Americans spend around $33 billion on weight loss products each year.
The problem is that these tactics alone do not work in the long run; that’s why two-thirds of Americans are also overweight.
Strategies, on the other hand, appear more complex, so they’re less often discussed. Look at an example of a weight loss strategy, and you’ll see why:
“In order to lose weight, you need to consider the extensive process involving several factors not limited to: your goals, motivations, lifestyle, work schedule, sleeping patterns, medical conditions, nutrition, exercise, and more.”
It’s easy to see why people prefer to buy tactics, isn’t it?
Losing weight, eating clean, or becoming a vegan in the short term is relatively easy; any decent tactic will help you get there. But to escape the merry-go-round of constantly starting and failing new diets, you need a strategy—something that works for your goals and your lifestyle, even when your willpower is lacking and life is hectic.
What’s the Answer?
There are many, many dieting strategies that you could apply. The problem with most of them, however, is time. You already spend so much of your life at work, around the house, traveling, and more, you have precious little time left for yourself. You certainly don’t want to spend it planning meals or in a supermarket queue.
So, what’s the answer?
After years of struggling with my diet, I stumbled upon a pretty nifty strategy: outsourcing the diet, which I call diet hacking. The concept is simple: Take all the hard parts of dieting, and literally outsource them—from choosing recipes, writing shopping lists, and even doing the weekly grocery store run.
This leaves you with just the more enjoyable parts: the cooking and the eating. Sound appetizing?
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s lesson, where you’ll discover the exact steps you can take to outsource your diet without expensive subscriptions or hard-to-follow plans.
The Real Reason 90% of Diets End in Failure
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
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