The Top 5 Reasons Diets Fail

Nearly everyone has tried to diet at least once in their life.  And nearly everyone has had their diet fail, too.  Reasons vary of course, but there are five fundamental reasons that diet fail.  Here are the culprits and what you can do so that your next diet is successful.

Sometimes you decide to diet for the wrong reasons.  You read about a quirky diet and think that it might be "fun" to try.  Or your best friend is desperate to diet and wants you to join in for mutual support.  Fundamentally, though, you don't really think that you need to lose weight.  So guess what?  At the first hunger pang, you fold.  The diet gets thrown over the side quicker than old fish.  Without a solid internal commitment to achieving some diet goals, there is no way that you can remain strong against the privation that is part of every diet.  What can you do?  Start your diet by outlining to yourself the reasons that this diet is important TO YOU.  You will need this justification to be solidly in place in a few days when that bacon double-cheeseburger is calling you.

There are a lot of diet plans around these days.  Some of them are rational and well balanced.  Some of them are "fad" diets that don't have any basis in good nutrition and health.  If you pick a fad diet, there's a good chance that you will fail.  Sure, you might lose some weight during your seven day cleanse, but a month later you will have regained the lost weight and maybe a bit more.  Look at the various diets carefully before you select one.  A lot of them have overviews right here at and here is one strategy for selecting a diet.  Select one that fits your taste, habits and lifestyle.  If the diet has you eating substantially less than 1,200 calories a day, be cautious.  The Federal government's health guidelines recommend about 1,200 calories as a minimum daily intake for good health.  Besides making your government happy, eating fewer than 1,200 calories a day can put your body into a "starvation mode" where it clings to each calorie like it is the very last calorie on earth.  Your metabolism slows down and losing weight without getting sick is very difficult.  So be sure to check out your calorie intake before committing to a diet.

Diets are designed to reduce your weight through reducing your food intake.  Sadly, some diets approach this goal with little regard for good nutrition.  Even when you are dieting, your body still needs vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats to survive.  Eliminating any of these components for long and your body will suffer.  Don't stop your daily multi-vitamin (you DO take one, don't you?) so that minor gaps in your nutrition can be filled in.  Your diet should meet the minimum daily requirements, just at a limited calorie level.  Nobody ever lost weight by cutting back on their iron.

Once you have reached your goal weight, you should be able to shift your meal plan to your diet's maintenance mode.  What's that?  Your diet doesn't talk about maintenance?  That should be a warning sign.  Without a maintenance plan, there is a good chance you will regain all of the weight you worked so hard to lose.  Check out the maintenance plan before you pick your diet.  You are going to be living with that plan for a long time.

Dieting is really hard!  It is even harder when you are dieting alone.  The primary benefit of most of the Weight Watcher-style weight loss centers is the personal support and encouragement that they provide.  Without an external source of reinforcement, keeping on your diet is nearly impossible.  That is one of the key uses for, finding yourself a diet buddy.  If you don't have a friend who is ready to diet with you (and we already talked about the dangers of twisting someone's arm) just click over to WannaBuddy and find someone near you who is about to start their diet, too.  With mutual support and accountability there is a much better chance that you can stick with your diet and be successful this time!

Chocolate or Treadmill. Either One Works!

It is hard to find anything bad to say about chocolate. Now we have even more good things to say.  Recent research published in the Journal of Physiology has shown that dark chocolate improves our health much like exercise.  In fact, scientists are calling it "as good for you as exercise."   We may have always suspected this, but now there is science on our side.

A recent research project, based at Wayne State University in Detroit, studied the effect of chocolate on health.  Specifically, they measured the impact of a chemical found in chocolate called epicatechin.  Their theory was that the tiny powerhouse within all cells, called mitochondria, responds to epicatechin in much the same way they respond to increased demand caused by exercise.

Aerobic exercise causes our cells to develop additional mitochondria.  Having more mitochondria improves stamina and endurance.  For this experiment, the researchers used lab mice and studied their performance running on a mouse-sized treadmill.

One group of lab mice received 30 minutes of exercise on a treadmill every day.  A second group of lab mice received two doses of epicatechin (that component in dark chocolate) instead of the treadmill exercise.  After 15 days of these treatments, the treadmill performance of the two groups of mice was compared.  The scientists found that the two groups of mice had both improved their treadmill performance by approximately the same amount.  Chocolate was equal to running!

As we get older, the number of mitochondria in out muscles decreases.  This reduces our strength and our endurance.  Lead researcher, Dr. Moh Malek said, "Applying what we know about epicatechin's ability to boost mitochondria numbers may provide an approach to reduce the effects of muscle ageing."

The scientists experimented with middle-aged mice also.  They found that these mice benefited most when both exercise and epicatechin were used.  This finding shows promise as a possible way to counter the effects of muscle ageing.  Although no claims are made by these scientists about the application of their research to people, this is yet another reason to keep good dark chocolate on hand!

The Joy of the Play Date

Between jam-packed schedules and the personal safety issues of modern life, it is next to impossible for the modern child to just go outside and play with friends. With soccer programs starting at 2 years old and that scary "Registered Sex Offender Database" app on everyone's smart phone, the casual pick-up format for playing is a thing of the past.  Enter the new model: the play date.  But how do you develop a play date buddy?

One key factor in choosing a play date buddy is compatibility.  Both children and parents must be compatible.  If possible, observe the intended play date child as they go about the serious business of having fun.  Are they attracted to the same kinds of things your child enjoys?  Similarly, does it seem like the parent has the same general approach to child rearing as you?  Only if everyone is on the same page can this joining of two families possibly succeed.

Start your play date experience with something easy and, ideally, public.  Maybe you can meet at a playground or Chucky Cheese so that the parents can spend some relaxed time chatting while the kids romp.  This is the time to discuss some important issues.  Are there any allergies or religious restrictions that should be known?  How are house rules enforced? What kind of attention span does each child have, so that the play date can be over before everyone is bored with each other.  If you haven't already, be sure to exchange cell phone numbers at this point.  A little ground work now can really pay dividends later.

Once that awkward "first date" is out of the way, it is time to get more serious.  Now is the time to propose a house visit.  Agree on location, starting and ending times, who will drop off and pick up, and any possible snacking that could take place.  Now is the time to talk about any separation anxiety that the child may have as they watch their parent drive away, leaving them in a strange home. 

If you are hosting, be sure to cover your house rules after you welcome your guests.  Talk about some options for that all-important first activity, too, so that the children can jump right into something and skip over that "I don't care, what do you want to do?" phase that can make the minutes crawl.  Once the children are engaged, back off and just keep an eye on them from a distance.  This is their play date, so let them build some social skills without hovering over them.

If you are the "away team" for the play date, be sure that you have reinforced your "best guest behavior" rules with your child on the drive over to the host's home.  Your child should be healthy, clean, rested and fed.  Once you arrive, reconfirm your cell phone number and return time.  Be sure that your child is clear about your return time, too, so that there aren't any issues there.

Chances are, the play date will go so well that you will blow past your "time to clean up" time and welcome the visiting parent into your home with the children still happily ignoring you.  Before they notice you, reflect on the great time everyone had and schedule your next play date!  If this keeps up, you may get some time for yourself.  Don't have someone for a play date?  Check out the "Children's Play Dates" activity and find others near you who are ready for a play date, too.

Success With A Study Buddy

Learning new things can be fun.  More often though, we are forced to learn things that do not fill us with excitement and passion, merely to pass a test or complete a classroom requirement.  Cramming all of that new information into our brain can be hard, but having a study buddy can help.  Here are some tips for success with a study buddy.

A study buddy can multiply your learning effectiveness.  You can't always make it to every lecture, so a study buddy can cover those rare occasions when you need to be somewhere else.  Be sure that your buddy has reasonable note-taking skills, with an emphasis on penmanship rather than doodle creativity.  You will want to work out an understanding up front on how you are going to cover for each other in classes.  You can't both take that Monday morning lecture from your bed; one of you needs to make it into the lecture hall.  Maybe a Sunday afternoon game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who attends that great Monday lecture? 

Your study buddy should be compatible with you, but not your clone.  It is great to find a study buddy who has strengths where you have weaknesses and vice versa.  That way you can fill in each other's gaps and further exercise your strengths as you help your buddy over their weak areas.  This informal tutoring is a great way to reinforce your knowledge and build your confidence, too.

Mental health can be challenged during those difficult times right before big tests.  Having a study buddy to help keep you sane can make all the difference.  With a study buddy you can take breaks with some certainty that you will actually return to studying.  Keeping each other on track and focused can cut our actual study hours and get to the after-studying chill much faster.  Just be sure to choose a study buddy who is at least as serious about grades as you are!

Choosing a study buddy can be tricky.  You need to match personalities, class schedules and general approach to grades and test preparation.  Be sure to check out your prospective buddy before you meet in person, and make that first meeting in a very public place just in case things aren't exactly on the level.  Personal safety if important!  Ask about study habits, note taking approach, grade point average and extracurricular commitments. This can be a great, long-term relationship, so it pays to ask the hard questions up front and avoid an uncomfortable break-up right before finals.

Having a study buddy can increase your learning effectiveness, strengthen your command of the subject matter and boost your confidence.  You get more time for fun and spend less time frustrated and pulling out your hair.  So get a study buddy and get back on that Dean's List!

The Cabbage Soup Diet

Do you need to lose 10 pounds this week?  Do you want it enough to eat cabbage soup every day this week? If so, here is what you need to know about the Cabbage Soup diet.  It may be just the thing that gets you past wanting to lose weight so quickly!

The cabbage soup diet is not complicated.  There are no real choices or decisions to make regarding your daily meal plan.  The inventors don't recommend that you follow this diet for more than a week at a time, so the end is always just around the corner.  So why hasn't this diet taken over the world?

There are some issues with the cabbage soup diet.  This is a very low calorie diet.  Most physicians (and the government) recommend that you eat at least 1,200 calories a day to maintain your health.  This diet falls far short of 1,200 daily calories.  Most days of the diet offer little to no protein but every day has a significant jolt of salt.  So that's the down side.

Proponents point to the rapid weight loss and the ease with which you can follow the diet.  The rules are pretty simple, although they change every day.

  • Day one – eat your cabbage soup and as much fruit as you want, except for bananas
  • Day two – eat your cabbage soup and as many veggies as you want, plus a baked potato
  • Day three – eat your cabbage soup and fruit and veggies, but no potatoes or bananas
  • Day four – eat your cabbage soup and up to eight bananas plus skimmed milk
  • Day five – eat your cabbage soup plus 10 ounces of beef and six tomatoes
  • Day six – eat your cabbage soup with beef and veggies, except for potatoes
  • Day seven – eat your cabbage soup plus brown rice, veggies (except potatoes) and fruit juice

There are as many recipes for cabbage soup as there are cabbages, but here's one that wins friends.

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot.
  2. Brown ½ of an onion and 2 cloves of chopped garlic in the oil.
  3. Add 2 quarts of water, 4 cubes of chicken bouillon and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in ½ head of cabbage (chopped, no core). Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until cabbage is soft.
  6. Add one can of Italian-style stewed tomatoes (14.5 oz) drained and diced.
  7. Bring to a boil again and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
This recipe serves eight.

You are done!  You should have lost 10 pounds by  now and developed a deep and abiding hatred for cabbage soup.  Critics will say that much of your weight loss is water weight, but you will be thinner for that special event. Some people who have tried this diet also report a bit of an issue with gas. Your mileage may vary.  Get yourself a diet buddy, buy some cabbages and get cooking!  Day one sounds wonderful and who cares if you complete the diet.  You created some lovely soup and made a new friend!

The Blood Type Diet

What is your blood type? According to Peter D'Adamo, this is the central question to be answered to achieve the proper choice of diet and exercise.  A naturopath, or alternative medicine practitioner, Peter D'Adamo has designed four complete and distinct lifestyles for proper wellness; all based on your blood type: A, B, AB or O.  In his book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, Mr. D'Adamo explains that evolution is responsible for producing four specific and distinct eating and workout requirements.

The four blood types each react differently to certain lectins, which are food proteins.  Eating foods with the wrong lectins can lead to discomfort and disease.  Eating foods with the proper lectinsyou’re your blood type maximizes your energy and preserves your health.

Blood type O (called "the hunter" in the book) is believed by D'Adamo to be the oldest blood type (although peer-reviewed science would award that honor to blood type A), and as the oldest genetically, O's thrive on a diet high in animal protein and little dairy and grain.  Type O's should avoid gluten as much as possible.  O's suffer from arthritis, asthma and allergies, such as hay fever. Ideal exercise for type O's is intense with an emphasis on cardio.

Type A's ("the agrarian") are the second oldest genetic group (about 20,000 years ago) according to D'Amato and are evolved to live best on a vegetarian diet. Their genetic make-up predisposes them toward cancer, diabetes and heart disease, making a diet that does not trigger the immune system critical.  Type A's should practice exercises that calm and sooth, such as yoga and tai chi.

Blood type B ("the nomad") people are the third oldest people, genetically hitting the earth about 10,000 years ago.  This means that they have a stronger immune system and can tolerate a broad range of foods, including low-fat dairy, vegetables and meat while avoiding wheat, lentils and corn, without risking the diseases that are rampant with Type A's. D'Amato recommends moderate exercise, such as swimming, hiking and cycling for best results.

Type AB ("the enigma") is the most recent blood type, arriving about 1,000 years ago according to D'Amato.  As a result, the foods that work for A's and B's are fine.  Specifically seafood, tofu, dairy and vegetables are recommended while chicken, beef and pork are not.  Pretty much any exercise routine at all is fine, too.  AB's have little trouble with allergies, but do suffer from anemia, heart disease and cancer.

Can this diet work?  Ignoring for a moment the blood type selection process, the underlying dietary guidelines are well within accepted boundaries.  Emphasizing fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats will improve your quality of life.  But does connecting your blood type to a certain meal plan make sense?  There is no scientific basis for D'Amato's claims and many scientists have lined up to refute his hypothesis.  Scientists point out the D'Amato has the evolutionary timeline wrong, with the various blood types appearing in his history differently than in accepted science.  Further there is no pathology to support his theory about lectins and the antigens related to each blood type reacting to certain food groups.  None the less, if you are uncertain about which diet to choose, letting your blood type make the choice is certainly as effective as, "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe."  The real choice is to decide to change your eating and exercise habits to become healthier.  So get yourself a diet buddy and get going!

Dog Walking Buddies

Hey all you Dog Walking Buddies!  Summer weather is sizzling across the country.  Nothing beats getting outside to enjoy it with your favorite buddies, two-legged and four-pawed.  When walking your pups in warm weather, remember to bring along enough water for all and a collapsible bowl.  Take some restful moments in the shade periodically to cool down.  Dogs get sunburns and dehydrated, just like we do.  Resting time will also give you and your walking buddy time to catch up on each other’s lives while not navigating walking hazards.  If temperatures are high, try to stay off asphalt and concrete.  Not only can these surfaces burn your pets’ sensitive paws, the heat also reflects up onto low-riding doggie bellies.  Also be aware that flat-faced pals (like pugs) cannot pant as quickly, and panting is how dogs release internal heat.  People sweat, perspire, and sparkle; dogs pant. 

Warning:  Watch your dog for excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. These are all symptoms of overheating according to Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach.  More severe symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature.  If you suspect your pet is suffering from overheating, break up the buddy walking and take him/her to the vet immediately.

Don’t forget the summer bling!  Lots of canines keep up on fashionable trends, as do fellow walkers.  Bandanas are always trendy.  Nothing catches the eye like a spotted or black-furred mutt sporting the red bandana.  Or go with this year’s chic neon green, especially good on the chocolate or tan coated.  Walmart stocks a dozen or more colors of bandanas in their women’s accessories department; for retro navy and red, try the men’s department near the socks.  Bows are always adorable on the teacup and mini set – boy or girl, fresh grooming topped by a cute ribbon is always fetching.  Coordinating you and your walking buddy dogs is extremely trendy.

Speaking of fetching, remember to choose your dog’s toys carefully.  Though tennis balls are popular, they can be dangerous.  Hard balls chosen specifically for the size of your dog are a much better choice.  Tragedy lies in balls that can block the air pipe or be torn into edible, dangerous sizes.  Occasionally take along a ropey tug-of-war toy, good to use during lay down rest time with you and in more active play with you or a doggy buddy.  All of you with the nationally ranked Ultimate Frisbee pup players know to take along the current fave in disks.  Try to avoid taking your dog’s very favorite, play-alone toy.  Possessiveness never goes down well on buddy play dates. If you’ve got some extra bucks saved by your stay-cation, spring for a toy for your and your walking buddy’s dog.  Consider the sizes of the other dogs playing with your pet, and watch out for them too.

Have the best of times with your dog walking buddies this summer!

A Plant Based Diet

Eating a plant based diet may be the best way to control cholesterol and avoid health issues such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.  A new study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, showed the positive impact of avoiding meat and loving those veggies.

The study collected a group of Canadian volunteers with very high LDL (the bad cholesterol) and put them on a diet of soy, oats, barley, psyllium and nuts.  They also used a special margarine containing sterols.  Sterols are found in the walls of plant cells, such as grain, fruits, legumes and nuts.  Similar sterol content is available from orange juice, cereal or yogurt. 

After six months of this diet the LDL levels in the people following this diet were found to have dropped 13 percent, on average, over their initial values.  The researchers credit the special margarine for about half of the drop in cholesterol.   The high plant fiber component of the diet also helped with the reduction.  Viscous fiber absorbs cholesterol and carries it away.  Oats, bran and barley are excellent sources of viscous fiber.

The third element of the diet was soy.  A key source of protein, soy as edamame, soy milk or tofu can help reduce LDL levels and provide the protein that is essential to good health that would otherwise come from meat.  Protein is the building block for skin, muscles, hair, nails, tendons and cartilage.  Soy in its many forms also contains isoflavones, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol.

The American Dietetic Association recommends following a "Color Code" system when following a plant based diet.  The color of the plant will tell you which essential nutrient it contains.  By following the color code, you can be assured of well-rounded nutrition.  Here is a bit of their color code:

Tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon
Grapes, prunes, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples
Carrots, mangos, apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes
Beta cryptothaxin
Oranges, tangerines, peaches, papaya, nectarines
Luetin, Zeaxanthin
Spinach, collards, turnips, corn, peas, avocados
Indoles, Sulforaphanes
Cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale
Allicin, quercetin, flavinoids
Leeks, onions,, garlic, chives

Converting to a plant based diet does not need to be difficult or leave you dreaming of a hamburger.  You can start your day with a grapefruit, some oatmeal or pancakes and a cup of tea.  Maybe lunch has a green salad with some edamame or a good old PB&J with some soy milk on the side.  For dinner you could try a soy burger or veggie stir-fry with apple cobbler for desert.  Not a bad day at all!

If your doctor is after you to reduce your cholesterol, or you just want to live longer, you should consider a plant based diet.  The medical evidence is clear; if you follow this diet your body will be healthier.

The Kim Kardashian Diet

Living every moment of your life in front of a TV camera can lead to insecurities.  It is no wonder that Kim Kardashian has had some personal issues with her appearance.  Viewers of her reality TV series watched her gain weight that miraculously disappeared before her recent press tour and wedding.  How does she do it?  Here are a few of her tips.

No stranger to fame and notoriety, Kim Kardashian has given her figure plenty of exposure.  Back in 2007 she posed nude for Playboy, giving herself over to their air brush wizards.  She was hired by Bongo Jeans and Balenciaga shoes as a spokes model in 2008.  Add in the multiple reality shows, signature perfume and retail stores and she is one gal who knows how to keep busy.

All that activity can make it difficult to remain fit, and she discovered that herself during the course of her reality series.  It is said that she saw some bikini photos before retouching that show cellulite where she previously displayed taut muscle and decided that things needed to change.  Out went the fast-food burgers and fries and in came a low-carb diet that maxes out at 1,200 calories a day.

The Kim Kardashian diet is not exotic.  The focus is on green vegetables, smoothies, peanut butter and the occasional splurge of pizza and sugar cookies.  Given her endorsement deal with QuickTrim diet pills, she really needs to stick with the program.

Here is a typical meal plan for Kim:

  • Breakfast:  Smoothie or oatmeal, plus a banana.
  • Lunch: Salad with chicken or fish chunks, yogurt or fruit.  Iced tea with lots of no-cal sweetener.
  • Dinner: Salmon or chicken breast with rice and broccoli

In addition of this diet plan, she also works out with weights and flexibility cardio at least three days a week.  You can even buy her workout on DVD, called Fit in Your Jeans by Friday.  All of this combined to put Kim in a size 2 wedding dress, although she has admitted to E! News that she has add back a few pounds since the ceremony.

Are you ready to look like Kim Kardashian?  Do you think that her diet might be the secret weapon for you, too?  Get yourself a buddy at and get going!  Then click on the Comment button and let us know how it worked for you.