Dieting: The Three Non-scientific Reasons it Might not be Working

Dieting and why it Might not be Working

It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’ve reached this article at least, you’ve probably been on some sort of diet. For some, it might have been purely about cutting calories, while for others it might have been the other way and increasing the amount of protein to bulk.

Unfortunately, diets have the frustrating knack of not always working. In fact, most people will have struggled with making their diet successful at some point in their lives.

The problem with the above is that dieting is arguably more important than working out itself. As such, you can have the best gym routine in the land, but if your diet isn’t working for you it means your results are going to be lacking.

While we said that there are all sorts of aims associated with dieting, today we’re going to concentrate on those of you who are looking to lose weight.

However, as you will see, at least some of the following advice can be applicable to all diets – so read on to find out how dieting problems aren’t always related to the in-depth science that we’re sometimes led to believe.


Reason #1 – Not enough calories enter your body

Not enough calories enter your body

Most people immediately assume that their dieting problems exist because of too many calories entering their body. Well, let’s dispel that straight away – this isn’t always the case.

In fact, on a lot of occasions you won’t be losing weight because you’re not consuming sufficient calories. Sure, we’d be silly to suggest that this is always the case, but you would be surprised at how many problems emerge because of too few calories in a diet.

Unfortunately, cutting calories isn’t fair. It isn’t fair at all. In an ideal world, all of this hard work would result in monumental fat loss. In the real world, it also means that you start to lose muscle. As part of this, your body will enter survival mode, your metabolism will slow down to record levels and weight loss just won’t happen.

Fortunately, there is a solution, and it isn’t as painful as what you are probably doing at the moment. Rather than turning to the “starvation” tactic (which clearly hasn’t worked), it’s time to deploy a different approach.

Start by keeping track of everything you eat for the next couple of weeks – and we mean everything. From this point on, you should quickly see the foods which you need to eradicate. A sensible aim is to lose somewhere between 0.5-1% of your body weight per week. By doing this, your body won’t start to burn away muscle, it will just be the dreaded fat levels that start to disappear.

To quickly put this in an example, the typical 130 pound guy should look to lose no more than 1.3 pounds per week. Any more than this and the diet might not work – which sounds farcical but as countless studies have proven, is completely true.


Reason #2 – It doesn’t happen overnight

It doesnt happen overnight

Remember we said in the previous section that dieting wasn’t fair? Well, here’s another example. It doesn’t happen overnight and in actual fact, it doesn’t work after a few weeks either.

The problem is, the results can be ridiculously inconsistent as well. In other words, you might see huge improvement after week one, but for the next couple of weeks you might stagnate. This isn’t just you; it’s completely normal and something that dieters should always keep in mind.

Unfortunately, many don’t and end up ditching their diet prematurely – which is where a problem starts. In fact, it becomes a vicious circle and rather than sticking to a long-term approach, the “change it quick” philosophy steps into the picture and just completely hinders your progress.

So, let’s throw a home truth out there – this is a process that will take time. There’s no simple path and you have to show a huge degree of commitment to realize those desired results. There’s a reason why diet pills come and go – it’s impossible to lose weight in record speeds. The best approach is the long-term one.

Of course, all of the above is easier said than done. If you have enrolled in an excruciating diet that just doesn’t seem to be resulting in long-term progress, it’s hard to accept and just “carry on”. Therefore, you need to implement steps from the beginning.

This means that your choice of diet is absolutely crucial. You need to find one that will suit your lifestyle down to a tee, and choose one that you know that you and your body will agree with. Without these initial steps, the chances of you throwing in the towel just increase tenfold.

By taking the approach above, your level of commitment isn’t likely to diminish. You are more likely to continue with a consistent approach and while it might be a bit of an old cliché, consistency is key when it comes to dieting.


Reason #3 – Let’s turn things round, your diet has been too long

your diet has been too long

This final reason might sound even more ridiculous considering the last point we’ve just spoken about. However, there are occasions when someone who has been dieting for a long period of time just won’t notice the results.

We have spoken about “non-scientific” reasons why your diet isn’t working but strictly speaking, there is a bit of science revolving around this reason.

It relates to your metabolism and when you put your body through so few calories for such a long period of time, your metabolism will start to be toned down to record levels. This means that it is going to become harder than ever to shift the pounds; your body has got used to your new level of calories and is trying to keep you at your new “base weight”.

As well as the above, one of the other key reasons why this approach doesn’t work is because it’s just asking for you to fall off the wagon. In other words, you are more likely than ever before to stop dieting abruptly, throw in the towel and just consume umpteen calories. Suffice to say, this is a true fail-point in your dieting mission and is guaranteed to promote backwards results.

There is a solution, and this is where the non-scientific reason comes into play. You just have to give your body a break. That’s right, have a rest.

The rule is simple; if you have been dieting for more than three months, you’re not officially dieting. It’s an approach which is going to cause all of the problems we have already spoken about and your body needs to tone things down.

The funny thing is, there is every chance that this is going to help you net better results. During the dieting phase, it stands to reason that you are going to be craving certain foods more than ever before.

When you jump back to your normal routine, you can finally satisfy these cravings. It’s not been unheard of for them to be eventually dispelled – which can make your next attempt at dieting all the more easier (and craving-free).

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About George Allen

George Allen - Author - An AFPA Certified holistic and preventative nutrition professional. George is a well known exercise physiology and sports nutrition expert.
Syracuse University graduate: bachelor's degree in nutrition/dietetics (B.S.) and a master's degree in nutrition science with a concentration in counseling (M.A.).
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