Why Diets Fail

All diets fail.

Sorry for the bad news, but its true.

At some point along the way, all diets break down.

This includes using a system like tracking your macros.

But there is a very good silver lining here as well.

We know exactly how they break down.

We also know the fixes.

Diets fail for one of three reasons: 1) adherence, 2) inaccuracies, 3) failure to adapt.

Let’s tackle each one in a little more depth.

Adherence: With every single “diet” adherence generally falls to below 50% by 6 months. Every. Single. Diet.

Sustaining long-term adherence requires vigilance and a pretty high level of discipline and accountability and often several changes along the way to “reboot” adherence.

Here is a brief visual showing how similar adherence is across a wide range of diets.

Why diets fail

Inaccuracies: Turns out, humans are not great at estimating and at self-reporting accurately.

It isn’t that we are liars… we just are not good at accurately reporting our food. Even people with a lot of experience and who are completely honest can have inaccuracies that can reduce the efficacy of dieting.

Here is an example of how inaccuracies can take you from a deficit and losing weight, to a surplus and gaining weight.

Failure to Adapt:  Diets are within the context of your life. The context changes and needs to be considered. For example, do you think your dietary needs as a working professional in their 40s will be different than the dietary needs of a semi-professional athlete in their 20s?


As goals change, your diet needs to change or you are now likely following a diet for an old goal that doesn’t match up with the new goal. Maybe you are working on bodybuilding right now, and then 3 years later you decide to run marathons. Understand that your diet can change and needs to change.

These are the 3 main reasons diets fail.

Now you can be acutely aware of them.

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