NEW YORK — How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? If you are like many folks who started the year off with lofty goals, your diet resolutions may be beginning to unravel just about now. For a quarter of diet fails, a recent survey found that it is the dieter’s partner who is the stumbling block to success.
The survey, sponsored by protein drink-maker Isopure, gathered information on the dieting success and failure stories of 2,000 Americans. The results provide clues about what happens when our healthy intentions meet the realities of life. Why do so many diets fail?
“A diet plan is only good if you can realistically adhere to it, so it’s key to structure the plan around your specific lifestyle and to build permissive indulgent moments into the plan, like a weekly programmed cheat meal on Saturday night when you know you’ll be around friends and family” says Isopure General Manager Jonathan Thompson, in a statement.
The survey found that the number one diet enemy might be the person who would be expected to have our best interests at heart: our supposed better halves. About 24 percent of respondents say their partners enjoy yummy snacks and treats right in front of them, order take-out food or encourage them to have drinks.
Aside from the challenges of an unhelpful spouse or partner, other top reasons participants say their diets fail include lack of time to plan meals, goodies offered over the holidays and at social gatherings, and eating for emotional or stress-related reasons.
For 38 percent of respondents, their diet went down the tubes in the face of an irresistible treat. It is a matter of simple economics for 32 percent, who said healthy food just costs too much. Meanwhile, 42 percent admit stress is the trigger that makes them grab a feel-good food fix.
Bottom line, though, the main reason diets fail is because of yielding to temptation, whether that temptation comes from the person sitting across from us or from tantalizing foods that promise relief from uncomfortable feelings.
Which foods are most likely to cause a break-up with our diet plans? Pizza is the number one tempter, followed by ice cream and chips. Sweet treats in the form of chocolate, cookies and cake are next in line followed by burgers, candy, cheese and bread.
Saturdays are the days most dieters succumb to temptation. Once the spell is broken, feeling disappointed, frustrated, upset, annoyed and angry might just lead some right back to the cookie jar.
About 40 percent of participants admit that after failing a diet, they lose the drive to attempt an overall healthier lifestyle that addresses food, sleep, exercise and hydration. A third say they rarely or never exercise, while 27 percent do not know how much water they need to stay well hydrated.
“Having a diet plan that accounts for your particular social, work and exercise cadence turns a potential diet derailing moment into a positive and programmed part of your diet that you can actually look forward to and greatly multiplies your chances of staying on plan and achieving your goals.” says Thompson. “When you dial in the synergistic pillars of nutrition, exercise, sleep and hydration, great things happen. Think of each as the leg of the table. Remove even one leg and things can get out of balance.”
He offers a solution: record-keeping.
“One way to get and then stay on point is to keep a journal. It can be as elaborate as detailed notes on how you slept or what exercises you did or it can be something as simple as ticking off boxes against a basic food and water plan. The key is to have a plan tailored to your lifestyle and to hold yourself accountable to the plan in a way that works for you.”
And don’t forget to be kind to yourself with an occasional splurge.
The survey was carried out by market research firm OnePoll.