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Why Losing Weight Is The Hardest New Year's Resolution To Keep

Every December, millions of Americans resolve to lose weight in the new year -- almost all fail. Here's why you're better off trying something new.

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Everyone wants to lose weight.

"Losing weight and getting fit" is one of the most common New Year's resolutions -- and one of the most commonly broken. TIME chalks it up to people being lazy, but it's a bit more complicated than that.
Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock

"Losing weight and getting fit" is one of the most common New Year's resolutions -- and one of the most commonly broken. TIME chalks it up to people being lazy, but it's a bit more complicated than that.

The vast majority of diets fail.

Reports vary, but one number you'll hear often is 95 percent. That is, 95 percent of diets are unsuccessful.
Auremar/Shutterstock

Reports vary, but one number you'll hear often is 95 percent. That is, 95 percent of diets are unsuccessful.

Some studies are even more depressing.

This BBC article cites a study that puts the figure at 1 percent: only 1 in 100 people who go on a diet will lose weight and keep the weight off.
Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock

This BBC article cites a study that puts the figure at 1 percent: only 1 in 100 people who go on a diet will lose weight and keep the weight off.

Your body is literally working against you.

Dieting is stressful, and stress makes you eat. Seriously. Talk about fighting a losing battle.
Osseous/Flickr

Dieting is stressful, and stress makes you eat. Seriously. Talk about fighting a losing battle.

Food is also working against you.

Because food is delicious. And again, your body is largely to blame: we've evolved to prefer high-calorie, fatty foods. That's why you're craving a burger and not a carrot.
Stevendepolo/Flickr

Because food is delicious. And again, your body is largely to blame: we've evolved to prefer high-calorie, fatty foods. That's why you're craving a burger and not a carrot.

If you do find a successful diet, you have to make sure you're not losing weight too fast.

Losing more than a pound a week is often dangerous: there are serious health risks and complications that can arise. Plus, your body's starvation response will eventually inhibit weight loss, so your crash diet isn't sustainable in the long run.
Jayfish/Shutterstock

Losing more than a pound a week is often dangerous: there are serious health risks and complications that can arise. Plus, your body's starvation response will eventually inhibit weight loss, so your crash diet isn't sustainable in the long run.

If you find your weight seesawing, that's dangerous, too.

Yo-yo diets or seesawing weight has its own set of problems. Studies have found a link between fast weight loss/weight gain and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gallbladder disease.

Yo-yo diets or seesawing weight has its own set of problems. Studies have found a link between fast weight loss/weight gain and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gallbladder disease.

But wait, it's not all doom and gloom.

Just look at this fat cat. He seems pretty damn happy.
Trippchicago/Flickr

Just look at this fat cat. He seems pretty damn happy.

It's more important to be active than to lose weight.

Fitness is key. Losing weight may be an uphill battle, but you can always be more active and healthy. You'll feel better, even if the number on the scale isn't going down.
Peter Bernik/Shutterstock

Fitness is key. Losing weight may be an uphill battle, but you can always be more active and healthy. You'll feel better, even if the number on the scale isn't going down.

You'll be happier if you don't diet.

Diets can make you stressed, yes. They can also make you unhappy and seriously depressed. Not to mention less fun to be around -- have you ever hung out with a hardcore dieter? They tend to be grumpy.
Augustino/Shutterstock

Diets can make you stressed, yes. They can also make you unhappy and seriously depressed. Not to mention less fun to be around -- have you ever hung out with a hardcore dieter? They tend to be grumpy.

Try this resolution instead: take a yoga class.

Instead of trying a diet that won't work or getting a gym membership you won't use, why not give a yoga class a shot? You might lose weight, but there are plenty of other benefits as well.
Oblongland/Flickr

Instead of trying a diet that won't work or getting a gym membership you won't use, why not give a yoga class a shot? You might lose weight, but there are plenty of other benefits as well.

And start riding your bike places.

Again, it's about being active and getting fit. Riding a bike is also great for the environment, but you knew that already.
Mikebaird/Flickr

Again, it's about being active and getting fit. Riding a bike is also great for the environment, but you knew that already.

And find friends to exercise with.

If you make it a social activity, it won't seem like such a chore. And sure, you're more likely to lose weight that way, but what's important is you'll be more inclined to stick with it. While keeping the weight off doesn't really matter, maintaining a healthy lifestyle does.
Egolii/Shutterstock

If you make it a social activity, it won't seem like such a chore. And sure, you're more likely to lose weight that way, but what's important is you'll be more inclined to stick with it. While keeping the weight off doesn't really matter, maintaining a healthy lifestyle does.

Don't forget to enjoy life.

Make 2013 the year you don't make an impossible resolution. Don't obsess over the number on the scale. Don't stress over your waist size. And don't deny yourself dessert. Everything in moderation.
Meaning/Shutterstock

Make 2013 the year you don't make an impossible resolution. Don't obsess over the number on the scale. Don't stress over your waist size. And don't deny yourself dessert. Everything in moderation.

Seriously, don't be afraid to splurge every once in a while.

Losing weight is satisfying, but nothing beats cake.
Firepile/Flickr

Losing weight is satisfying, but nothing beats cake.

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