Wondering why you can’t lose weight through dieting no matter what you try? We can almost guarantee it’s because you’re making at least one of these seven diet mistakes.

1. You try too many diets

We all have that friend; always trying the latest fad diet, always in a constant state of flux between what they can and cannot eat, and always absolutely convinced that this is finally the diet that’s going to work. If you don’t know someone like that, it might just be you.

According to a survey conducted by sweetener brand Splenda, over 10 per cent of women diet over five times a year. This wreaks havoc with your body, leading to imbalances in your metabolism. That means when you inevitably fall off the wagon on your latest diet, you risk instantly piling on the pounds when you return to your regular eating habits.  

2. You think too much about being fat

You might think dieting is just about what you eat, but there are also a number of mental factors that contribute to whether or not your diet is successful. Recent research has shown that if you think you are fat, you are more likely to gain weight.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Obesity discovered that people at a healthy weight were more likely to be overweight 10 years later if they believed themselves to be overweight initially. The mental stress caused by thinking that you are fat releases hormones that can lead to an increased appetite and decreased metabolism. That means for your diet to be successful you need to think positively.  

3. You’re eating hidden sugar

Sugar is hiding around every unexpected corner just waiting to spoil your diet, so you need to learn how to avoid it. Take yoghurt for example. Regular yoghurt already contains around 13g of sugar per 250ml (8.79 oz), with some flavoured yoghurts (yes, even the supposedly healthy ones) containing the equivalent of an additional four teaspoons of sugar per 250ml.

Without you even realising it these healthy snack imposters could be ruining all of your dieting progress. You don’t need these flavoured yoghurts to enjoy a sweet treat – simply stir a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup into plain yoghurt instead.  

4. You skip breakfast

Eating food makes you gain weight, so skipping meals must help you lose weight, right? Wrong. Researchers at the Imperial College London found that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and skipping it could actually lead to weight gain.

They found that when breakfast is skipped at the start of the day, the brain is primed to seek out high calorie foods to make up for the energy deficit in the body. That’s why dieters who skip meals are more likely to give in to high calorie snacks later in the day, leading to weight gain instead of weight loss.  

5. You rely on diet soft drinks

Diet soft drinks have long been seen as a way for dieters to enjoy their favourite sugar-filled drinks guilt-free, but recent research is starting to dispel that theory. According to a study conducted at Purdue University, people who drink diet soft drinks are more likely to gain weight than those who drink regular soft drinks. This is all because of artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharine which are commonly found in diet drinks.

These sweeteners confuse your body because it doesn’t experience the intake of calories that it usually associates with sweet tastes. This leads to the release of higher amounts of the hunger-causing hormones insulin and leptin, which in turn increases food cravings.

6. You don’t exercise

Any miracle diet that claims unbelievable levels of sustained weight loss without any exercise is lying to you. Exercise is a key aspect of weight loss, and without it you could be dooming yourself to diet failure and weight gain.

A study published in the Journal of Obesity found that women in a focus group who both exercised and followed a diet lost 25 per cent more weight than women who only dieted. And while two thirds of the women in the diet and exercise group reached the target weight loss of 10 per cent of their body weight, less than half of the women who only dieted achieved this.  

7. You let cravings ruin your diet

Anyone who goes on a diet will experience cravings at some point on their weight loss journey, most likely in the first couple of days. Giving in to these cravings every once in a while and letting them completely ruin your diet are two completely different things.

For example, you might have a slice of cake and decide that another two or three won’t hurt because surely your diet was ruined anyway by the first slice. This is a dangerous mind-set that leads many would-be dieters to disaster, and is one you need to avoid at absolutely all costs. Ultimately, it’s you battling against yourself, and if your hunger and vision for yourself is strong enough, then you will find yourself excited about dieting because you know it is bringing you one step closer to your desired result.