By Nick Bateman
If dieting were the solution do you think the U.S.A. would be on the list of one of the most obese countries in the world?
Go do a google search for diets and you will find hundreds of different diets. Do you know what the incredible thing is? They all promise the same thing. The all promise to be easy, non depriving and fast. Do you know what is even more amazing? We believe them, again and again.
Maybe these “this is the last diet you will ever need” diet salespeople are right. Maybe their diets are fast and easy. Maybe losing weight isn’t all that hard. After all, the only thing you need to do to lose weight is burn more calories than you eat.
Easy just like budgeting and saving money is right?
It really is that simple, really.
Why then do the statistics show that 95% of all diets fail? Here is the deal, pay attention to this: Dieting, eating fewer calories than you burn, never fails. Dieting works 100% of the time! That’s right. Diets do not fail. They work great.
The problem isn’t losing weight. That is the easy part. The problem is the dieting mindset. The mindset that you go on a diet to lose weight and go off your diet once the weight is lost.
When you go off the diet you gain all the weight back.
Why would you go back to eating the way that made you fat in the first place? Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result. The way you were eating pre-diet made you fat, the diet made you skinny.
Why go off the diet then?
Here is a better question: Why diet at all?
Well here’s an example of how people usually wind up once they start a diet…
The hunger was debilitating. I’d been on the diet for three days now, my mind was a haze. All I was doing was dreaming of Chinese take-out food, pizza, chips and washing everything down with a chocolate milk shake! I couldn’t stop thinking about crunchy spring rolls, cupcakes and French fries! Foods I didn’t even normally eat! This process wasn’t just punishing, it was ridiculous! “How on earth am I expected to live like this?” I said to myself. Reconfirming to myself that my mind was taken over by a thick, hunger-induced smog.
It was only my third day on a protein-shake diet, and I was cracking.
In the hour that followed, I consumed one bag of chips, one stir-fried Noodles, one large portion of sweet and sour chicken, and no fewer than ten large spring rolls. Oh, I also followed that with a whole tub of cookie-dough ice cream.
This was a cumulative total of around 3000 calories. It was a sorry end to my experiment with a ‘protein-shake only’ diet.
I should of known better.
Another end to another ‘fad’ diet. I was young and naive, and had only been reading about nutrition for a few months. I’d made good progress and lost some fat. I was actually starting to see some real progress in the gym. Then I found an easy route, or so I thought at the time. I’d read the article, it seemed too good to be true. ‘Drop up to 15lbs of fat in a week!’, I thought this was exactly what I needed. This diet would get me not just to my target weight, but below it. I’d be freekin’ ripped, I thought.
The next day I reverted back to my usual diet, the one that had given me steady progress. It was far more manageable, and I wasn’t hungry all the time, unlike on the protein shake diet. In the next few days I seemed to ‘balloon’ in front of my own eyes. How could a diet that was previously working well for me now be making me fat?
In the years that followed, I studied the science behind nutrition. I read pretty much all the popular diet plans out there, I read a bunch of the not so popular ones too, I read nutrition journals, science journals, I experimented.
I figured out what worked for me. In my mind, it’s important that you experiment with different nutrition systems. Find a moderation – find what works for you. It’s diets like the ‘protein shake only’ diet, that result in wild binges and excess weight gain when you return to eating something like a ‘normal diet’.
You’re also severely limiting food groups with many fad diets, which in the long term is at best unsustainable, and at worst downright dangerous.
It’s possible to eat right long-term, and it’s also possible to enjoy eating this way. It just requires realistic goal-setting and a sensible nutrition plan. This means you do get cheat days, holiday periods in which you just eat whatever the hell you like, and up to month-long hiatuses from the gym.
This is the mindset problem people have with dieting. People looking for a quick fix to lose weight and then to rush off the ‘diet’ only to revert backwards and gain the weight.
With the above in mind, and based upon things I’ve seen people do countless times…I present to you the top 5 ways to fail on a diet:
1. You don’t track anything.
You think you only swayed from your nutrition plan ‘a few times’ this week, then you had that cheat day, and you still haven’t lost weight! What went wrong?
When we keep a food journal, and actually update it with everything we eat and drink, we can see how far from our original plan we were. You might discover that you didn’t really deserve that cheat day on Saturday after cheating all week.
2. You’re being too strict, too soon.
Perhaps the opposite of #1, you’re cutting too many calories, you’ve cut out all that coffee and soda you drank religiously for years, and you’ve taken up a new 2 hour per-day exercise regime.
It can be very hard to go ‘cold turkey’ on a lifetime of bad habits. Sometimes it’s okay to ease yourself into a new healthy lifestyle, opposed to jumping in at the deep-end when you don’t know how to swim.
3. You don’t have enough energy to do the things you need to do.
Your body needs a certain amount of calories to operate and keep itself from ‘starvation mode’. This isn’t what we’re aiming for with any diet. When it comes to cutting calories it’s far better to make reduction a gradual process, sometimes we need patience to get results.
4. You’ve changed the diet, not the lifestyle.
If you think eating well is a chore, healthy food is horrible, and going to the gym is a waste of time you’re probably not going to succeed. It’s important to do the things you enjoy, but for weight loss to be permanent, you have to stop viewing ‘diets’ as a short-term fix. People with this attitude often swing wildly between super-strict fad diets, and crazy binges.
I mean sure J Lo and A Rod are rockin’ their hot abs now on Instagram after their 10 day no carb, no sugar diet but how long do you really think this is going to last? A Rod already can’t wait to sink his teeth into a pepperoni pie!
A.Rod also shared his difficulties on the diet in his Instagram Stories: “I’m on the second day of this 10-day challenge, it seemed like a great idea when I challenged all of you,” he said. “I have had eggs and avocado today. I’m dying,” he added.
5. You don’t set yourself any goals.
You know you want to lose weight but its not target specific. How much weight do you want to lose? When do you want to lose it by? What’s the next step after you’ve lost this weight? What do you have to gain from losing weight? Set yourself tough, but realistic goals. Don’t have one goal, but a series of smaller goals you can reach for. This will illustrate for you the progress you’ve made. It’s also a great way to increase motivation as you’ll have a series of ‘mini-victories’.
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