Trying to lose weight is frustrating. For the overwhelming majority, it’s just unequivocally discouraging. After so many attempts, you give up. You lose hope. You accept your ultimate and imminent defeat. But you don’t have to.
Diets are a joke. And if you think that trying the latest and greatest fad diet will finally be the answer to your weight loss journey, you’re wrong. Every diet does work to a certain degree, for a little while. They force you to monitor your food, your calorie intake, your macros, and even limit the types of food you can eat. In the short term, yes you’ll lose some weight. But there are reasons why you’ve failed, and why you keep failing.
Diets Are Unrealistic
You’re excited. You’ve decided that today is the day. You’re going on a diet. You’re going to prep all your meals so that instead of having cravings and hitting up the drive-thru on the way home from work you can start eating healthy well-balanced meals and finally start losing weight. This may last for a few days, maybe even a week, but what happens when you forget your lunch and Janet from HR brings in donuts? You’ve got to eat, right? I’m guessing that this new diet of yours, probably doesn’t include donuts as a preferred food choice. And now that you’ve eaten three of them, you feel awful and BOOM! Your diet is dead. The point – is that things happen. You get busy, you get stuck in traffic, you miss meals, you end up eating your kids' mac and cheese instead of your dinner, etc. Not to mention the birthdays, weekend pizza parties, and vacations. Diets are made for fantasyland, and unfortunately, life happens. And unless you’re a billionaire who has a personal chef and gets to eat organic chicken farm to table every day, with a side of garden fresh organic kale then you’re stuck figuring out whether or not you want to eat left over spaghetti, or a frozen pizza like the rest of us.
Diets Turn Into Binge Eating
The first step to an unsuccessful diet is creating a lifestyle you and your body is not used to. For example, if you don’t regularly workout and eat healthily, then going from grabbing the most convenient food when you’re hungry, to having to cook all your meals, and hitting the gym after work when you don’t know what you’re doing is doomed. Breaking bad habits can be hard. And breaking them all at once can be extremely overwhelming. Read more on how to stay on track. That’s why participating in diets that have heavy calorie restriction like the HCG diet (500 calories per day) can work for a short period of time, but are unrealistic and set you up for failure. If your body is accustomed to ingesting 4,000 – 5,000 calories per day, extreme calorie restriction, will just cause you starve, eventually leading to overeating and ultimately giving up.
There Are No Quick Fixes
Calorie deficits or the exclusion of certain foods is how the majority of fad diets typically work. Restricting yourself to eating specific foods, and restricting others, can work, of course, however that will never work in the long run if you’re trying to live a well-balanced healthy life that’s actually sustainable. Even plans like Flexible Dieting and IIFYM (If It fits Your Macros) are set up for failure. By restricting certain types of foods like carbs, fat, sodium, chest, milk, or trying to keep track of everything you eat and replacing it with unhealthy alternatives, you’re putting a band-aid on a problem, that stems much deeper and that requires a multi-faceted solution.
There are no shortcuts! Weight loss techniques like Weight Watchers and pharmaceutical alternatives like Phentermine will not work. It’s proven, that the only thing you can do to lose weight and stay healthy, is through a well-balanced healthy and sustainable diet, paired with exercise. And I don’t mean going outside and walking your dog as great as that is. Exercise means getting your heart rate up for a prolonged period of time, whatever that may be.
Taking small steps and hitting realistic milestones in your health and fitness, is the only way you can change your lifestyle and avoid making the mistakes you’ve made in the past. New years resolutions fail (almost always) because the expectations to change overnight are unrealistic. Whole, grains, good fats, complex carbs, and lean proteins will create a diet that’s natural, healthy, and sustainable. Make a commitment to your health, and most of all be consistent.
- Thomas, Samantha L et al. “‘They All Work...when You Stick to Them’: A Qualitative Investigation of Dieting, Weight Loss, and Physical Exercise, in Obese Individuals.” Nutrition Journal7 (2008): 34. PMC. Web. 15 Dec. 2017.
- Webber, Joel, and Mike Zimmerman. The Men's Health Big Book of Food & Nutrition: Your completely delicious guide to eating well, looking great, and staying lean for life! Rodale, 2012