I very commonly hear people talking about which fad diet they’re trying in order to lose weight. And there’s no shortage of them, so I still manage to encounter yet another “groundbreaking” new diet. Most of these diets suffer from aspects that make them predisposed to failure. Here are a few reasons.

One of the older, but still quite common failures in a diet is that it is designed to be temporary. You want to lose a certain number of pounds for whatever event or to fit into whatever outfit. These diets have no hope of sticking and will eventually make you fatter. When you diet like this, you lose both fat and muscle. When you gain the weight back, it’s primarily fat. This will make you less healthy each time you do it, and can result in serious health problems.

Another failure in diets is the diet supplement. Suddenly, in order to lose and/or maintain weight, you’re at the mercy of a company that’s providing you a product. This can be a problem if the company goes out of business, or if the product becomes too expensive. The other problem with this is that you really haven’t addressed diet. You’ve done the same thing that happens with drugs; mask the symptoms so that you don’t have to change your lifestyle. And all drugs come with a price. No exceptions. You’ll probably find the price wasn’t worth it.

And that brings up the most important thing that’s wrong with most diets. Lifestyle change. Most diets only encourage a small amount of lifestyle change, and sometimes none at all. They may encourage more exercise, exclusion of certain foods or even provide you with all of your food. These diets usually promise that you can eat healthy versions of certain things we usually consider unhealthy. The problem, though, is that you really are unhealthy and you need to learn to live better. It’s more important to learn what’s good to eat and find ways of preparing it that you enjoy.

One of the biggest detriments to changing your lifestyle is the attempt to make one food look and/or taste like another. Veggie burgers? Really? Pizza that has no ingredients one would expect to find in pizza? Desserts that don’t have real sugar in them? This will only result in the eventual failure of your diet. It causes you to continue craving the foods you’re not supposed to have by having poor imitations of them. If you’re not supposed to have pizza anymore, then come up with something else to eat. Find a new favorite. When it’s time to cheat (which all diets should include), have the real thing.

I can’t tell you how many people I see who are excluding <whatever> from their diet who make dishes that are supposed to seem like there’s <whatever> in them. If you’re not eating grain, don’t eat grain. If you’re not having dairy, stop trying to simulate dairy with other things. If you try to make it seem like you’re eating the thing you’re not supposed to have, you’ll just crave it and ultimately fail at your diet. Instead of focusing on what not to have, focus on the things you do get to eat. Fantastic meals can be made out of what’s allowed on most diets.

Finally, as with most things in life, either do it or don’t do it. Faking is almost always bad.