Why Certain Diets Work for Certain People...or Not!

Sarah Pritzker
Some diets will work for some people while they simply won’t work for others
Thanks to an almost billion dollar research project from the National Institutes of Health, the truth has finally been confirmed: dieting is not a science. The same diet program, meal plans, workout regimen, and external factors will frequently produce different results for different people.

So, what gives? Well, it’s like we said: there are presently hundreds of millions of dollars being spent in an attempt to explain this all-too-frustrating phenomenon. Until all the results are in, though, there are some factors that are already known to affect change in the results that different people get from the same diet plan. Here are a few reasons why you and your gal pal, best bud, or mortal enemy across the treadmill are showing varying outcomes from the sale diets.

1. The Personality Factor

Some personalities lend themselves more to one kind of diet over another. For example, skipping meals for some people is a commonplace thing. Often, they don’t even get hungry until around 3 in the afternoon, so intermittent fasting is a no-brainer for them. The same calorie deficiency will send a different personality into starvation mode, as their nutrient-starved system starts to shut down, they just get crankier and crankier. You can just imagine how long it takes for that diet to go out the window.

Solution: Change it up! There are so many diets out there. If the keto diet isn’t working for you, try the South Beach diet. There’s definitely a system that’ll work with your personality type.

2. The Physical Factor

How can 2 people eat the same exact food, take the same portions, have the same exercise routine, and run their lives in the same way, yet one will gain, and one will lose weight? Well, one factor could be physiological. For example, maybe you have a thyroid condition that is preventing your body from processing calories the same way. Or maybe you have a genetic disposition that affects your metabolism.

Solution: Speak to your doctor. Though it’s not always the case, often there are ways to work with your biology, so you can still lose weight and live a healthy life with your specific physiology.

3. The Stress & Fatigue Factors

These 2 are really big. When your body is stressed, dieting is more than an uphill battle. It's almost impossible. What's worse, when you are tired, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that actually makes you store fat instead of helping you get rid of it. So Skinny Sally might be getting more sleep or feel less stressed at work, so she sees the results and you don't, even though you’re both doing the same thing.

Solution: Get more sleep at night, and try to use healthy outlets to relieve stress. Yoga, taking a walk, and going out with a friend (for a coffee, not a pizza!) are great ways to alleviate health-damaging stress.

4. The Lifestyle Factor

When you’re living life in the fast lane, it’s hard to carve out time to make a diet plan work. Between work, meetings, friends, and after-hours requirements, who has time to sit and cook a healthy meal? If your friend is having an easier time sticking to the diet plan, it might just be a simple matter of timing.

Solution: If you find yourself slipping off the diet bandwagon, sign up for a meal delivery service. Companies like Diet-to-Go or Green Chef will bring you healthy, delicious meals that meet your nutritional requirements and take the work out of meal prep.

 5. The Other Lifestyle Factor

Interestingly enough, it's not always the working folk that find it hard to fit healthy living into their lifestyle. Some people might find it harder to stick to a diet when they're home all day around food, in their comfort zone, without anything external distracting them. There are plenty of people who don't find it hard to stick to a diet because they're too busy at work to eat more than the prepared meals they bring in with them. If you're a stay-at-home mom, a telecommuter, or someone whose life revolves around the house, this might be your diet dilemma.

Solution: If this sounds kind of like you, then you need a more rigorous diet plan to keep your weight loss goals on track. Opting for a plan like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers will help you a lot. These programs give you a full diet lineup complete with menu plans, recipes, and workout schedule. What’s more, diet plans like these give you professional nutritionists, dieticians, and doctors to consult with, community members to share your struggles with, and online tools to help keep you motivated and stay organized.

6. The Emotional Factor

Eric Edmeades said that there are 6 hunger sources that drive us to eat. They are:

  1. Nutritional hunger: You’re actually hungry for food

  2. Thirst: You aren’t actually hungry, you just need a drink

  3. Variety: You might be full from your meal, but you’re craving something different (this is actually a built-in physiological mechanism for ensuring we get a variety of nutrients)

  4. Low blood sugar: Eating the wrong kinds of sugar can cause this type of hunger pang

  5. Emotional: We are eating because we’re sad, reminiscing, anxious, etc.

  6. Empty stomach survival instinct: We aren’t actually hungry whenever we feel the empty stomach sensation. Sometimes, we just feel like it is!

Solution: Figure out which it is, and you’ll be able to address it more efficiently and in a healthier way. One thing that frequently drives a person to the kitchen is an emotional reaction. Whether you’re proud of yourself and feel like you deserve the “reward” of a bowl of ice cream, or you’re depressed and turn to your comfort food of choice, emotions are often steering the ship.

7. The Reality Factor

Finally, here’s one that most people don't consider but actually has a huge relevance, particularly when it comes to dieting. The old adage says "the grass is always greener on the other side.” Our friends look so happy in their Instagram photos. The girl in the office next to ours seems like she has no trouble staying away from those devilish donuts that appear at the office parties every week. And that guy in the gym is constantly upping his reps, weights, and stamina.

What gives? The reality factor is that what we see on the surface isn’t always the reality, and if we could see the whole picture, we might get an entirely different story. In reality, that girl who isn’t struggling with the donuts might be genetically disposed to not notice donuts (in fact, when we are in diet mode, our body sends out new, different neurological signals that make us notice food more, makes food taste better, and delivers a bigger helping of that happy drug dopamine!). That guy in the gym is definitely upping his reps, but he's also slipping in some steroids that are going to do serious damage to his body later on.

Solution: Realize that you might not be seeing the whole picture when you notice someone else’s results. That’s not to say that people can’t have success in areas where we struggle. But don’t look at everyone else and assume that you’re failing where they’re succeeding because you just don’t know the whole story.

Diet Not Working? Take Control!

The bottom line is that some diets will work for some people while they simply won’t work for others. The good news is that if your diet isn’t working for you, then it might be a simple case of switching things up. Trying a healthy carb diet plan like Nutrisystem instead of the low or no carb alternative you’ve been suffering through might be just the tweak you need to see results.

Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker is a content writer with years of experience and a keen interest in the vast world of online consumer products. She enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market in a variety of fields.

The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.