Skip to content
Surprising Science

Why You Can’t Life-Hack Your Way to Losing Weight

Why do so many of us fall for the quick-fixes and dieting fads to lose weight, which only leave us disappointed and a little poorer?
Mehmet Oz speaks during a rehearsal before a taping of Jeopardy! Power Players Week at DAR Constitution Hall on April 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images

Everyone wants to lose weight without giving up the foods they love or exercising. Heck, I want to lose weight without putting in the effort everyday, but I know my body isn’t magical. So, why do so many of us fall for the quick-fixes Dr. Oz feeds us or click on the baiting YouTube videos with titles “How to lose weight FAST”?

Don’t confuse efficiency for not having to do the work.

We live in an age of life-hacking. We want to get more done in less time, get to our destination faster, and become our best selves sooner. The problem is, when it comes to losing weight, there’s a big difference between doing something more efficiently and not putting in the work. When we watch someone we see as a dieting expert make claims that we can make our journey to getting fit more efficient by trying to replace work with no work, that isn’t a method you should believe in. I mean, you wouldn’t accept a solution suggesting that you can get to work faster by not starting up your car, right? There needs to be some effort involved.

We’re put-off by the awful truth.

When it comes down to it, losing weight is a constant effort. “Diet” actually comes from the Latin, diaeta, meaning “way of life.” We often approach diets with the thought that once we lose weight, we can go back to doing what we did before. The truth is dieting is about making a lifestyle change—it’s about finding a healthy regimen and sticking with it. It’s why so many people opt for the quick-fix. They aren’t ready to take that leap and make such a huge change.

[Here’s a great article explaining why dieting is the worst way to lose weight]

Confusion about how weight loss works.

“Any diet that’s promoting more than a one- or two-pound weight loss a week, most of that’s going to be fluid,” Martha McKittrick, RD, a dietician at the New York Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center, told WebMD. “It’s almost impossible, unless you weigh like 500 pounds, to lose more than one or two pounds a week of fat.”

If you want more reasons why dieting shortcuts don’t work, as well as a guaranteed way to lose weight, I would suggest watching this video from the PictureFit YouTube channel:


Up Next