Americans promise to eat healthier 4 times a month — but never follow through

NEW YORK — Planning to make a resolution for 2021? You might want to try something besides losing weight. A new survey finds the average person sets a goal to eat healthier four times each month – and follows through with none of them.

A new survey of 2,000 Americans who have been on a diet within the last five years finds the average person has been on four diets during that time and quit prematurely twice. The most popular diets Americans try include low-carb (53%), low-fat (44%), intermittent fasting (35%), and ketogenic (30%).

Dieting problems

As for why people stop trying to lose weight, the amount of effort required (35%), the cost (33%), lack of support (28%), and lack of time (27%) are among the top factors contributing to respondents giving up on a diet.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MyNetDiary, the study also examined the biggest “diet downfalls” that respondents have faced. Researchers also looked at the strategies that actually have worked for dieters.

Diet downfalls

When it comes to the top dieting difficulties, restrictive eating is a big deal breaker. Thirty-seven percent of respondents say they quit a diet because having to cut out foods they love “drove me crazy.” Thirty-five percent say the diet they tried was too restrictive for them to stick with effectively. Not seeing results soon enough was another diet downfall for 69 percent of Americans. Another 73 percent agree that giving in to junk food tends to derail their dieting dreams.

These setbacks likely aren’t simply temporary road bumps for many dieters, as nearly half of the poll agree that if they get off track once, they can never get back on track with their diet. The difficulty of sticking with a diet can be a big problem given the fact that, among respondents who have not reached their weight loss goals, 67 percent say it will take six months or longer to reach their current goal.

One bright spot emerged for both serial and prospective dieters alike. Fifty-three percent say they eat healthier when they track their food intake. Nearly half (49%) say they eat less while doing this too. Forty-five percent add the practice makes them more accountable.

Just need a little help

Dieting problems

Two in three Americans say that having a support system specifically designed for their health goals would make sticking to a new diet easier.
Another 66 percent agreed that manually tracking their caloric intake is a pain. That may help to explain why 41 percent have turned to a calorie tracking app and just over a third (34%) have tried a weight loss app.

“Diet apps have matured exponentially since the dawn of smartphones,” explains Sergey Oreshko, co-founder and CEO of MyNetDiary, in a statement. “Today’s diet app, like MyNetDiary, creates a personalized plan, adjusting it as a user’s goals change, tracking not only calories but nutrition and exercise, too. With barcode scanning, it literally takes just a few minutes a day to keep track of your foods and see success.”

When it comes to the other tools respondents use to help stay on track with their fitness goals, fitness trackers (41%) and fitness apps (29%) are also among the most popular.

Giving into the cravings

Two in three dieters say that as soon as they fall off track, they feel so frustrated that they want to give up. Over half (51%) say that dieting has never fit in with their lifestyle.

Moreover, eight in ten respondents say they sometimes or often start bargaining with themselves for an extra snack or a prohibited food item. Another 72 percent say that having items that are strictly “off the list” only makes them crave these foods more.

“It’s not surprising that people responded that they only crave ‘forbidden foods’ even more,” says Sue Heikkinen, RD. “When tracking with MyNetDiary, you take ownership of your eating. No foods are necessarily off-limits, yet tracking gives you the awareness of how they fit into your ‘budget.’”

“The most important predictor of weight loss success is finding a plan you can live with. MyNetDiary allows you to choose the plan that will be successful for you while learning about the habits that work (or don’t work) for you,” Heikkinen adds.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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