I have had so many clients over the years come with the same story. The story is one of frustration.
Trying and trying and trying but never seeing results.
Repeating through with some minor success only to be met with the same frustrations again.
The story can be outlined as follows:
Step 1. See new diet mentioned somewhere, feel encouraged and excited to try this one thing that is going to work ‘this time’.
Step 2. Try this new diet for a few weeks, lose a few kgs in the first week (mostly water weight), weight loss slows down
Step 3. Revert to old eating patters
Step 4. Repeat cycle
The trouble is, most diets don’t differ a lot in what they say.
The trick is they make you feel as though it is NEW AND EXCITING. It isn’t. The ‘new’ diet is usually just a rehash of an eating plan of the past.
The most rewarding thing to hear is when a client says to me ‘I haven’t thought about diets or dieting since I started training’. Hearing this while they also have lost weight and improved their health dramatically is the best indication that they will achieve fitness success for life.
Diets are generally focused on a few things:
The thing with diets is they mostly agree on a fundamental level. There are differences sure, but almost all of them agree on a few things:
There is not too much that is new in the nutrition world. New research happens sure, but it rarely tells us anything we didn’t already know.
Headline: ‘Drinking 3 cans of soft drink a day contributes to diabetes’.
REALLY? I think you knew that already.
What diets don’t focus on
There is the ‘what’ of your diet but then there is the ‘how’ component.
What you eat is straight-forward. Most people are clued in that eating more vegetables, less processed food, having moderate portions and moving more will be the winning combination.
The how is where most people fall down.
How are you going to maintain this diet for months or years?
How are you going to have all the food prepared each week?
How are you going to deal with cravings for foods outside of the permitted foods?
How are you going to deal with the fluctuations in weight?
How are you going to deal with going out to restaurants and not knowing what to eat?
Diets are short term
The whole idea behind diets is that they are something to be done for a few weeks or months before you can return to eating as you were before.
They will 'detox' you for a few weeks then you can return to your favourite junk foods.
If you gained weight by eating a certain way, a short-term dietary change is NOT going to give you any longer term results! You need to be sticking with a healthy eating pattern for life if you want to see these changes last.
Your 'diet' is what you eat. You either have a healthy diet or you don't. You cannot change to a healthy diet for 4 weeks out of 52 weeks in the year and expect any differences to your health or how you look.
Diets without exercise
Another major issue with all diets is the lack of exercise related intervention. They may say to start regular exercise but this is the part most people ignore completely or simply start walking a few times around the block each week.
Sorry but those 20 minute walks are not going to cut it.
Wouldn’t it be far easier to lose weight if you were able to eat more every day?
Wouldn’t it feel better to be fit, healthy, strong and capable rather than constantly depriving yourself of food and feeling hungry and out of energy?
Exercise is all about BUILDING the body. Building your strength, your muscle mass, your capability, your aerobic capacity, your bone density and so much more!
If you add 10kg of muscle to your frame you are now able to add in more food to your daily diet to maintain your body weight.
The exercise uses energy so again you can eat more if you are moving more and still maintain or lose weight.
But the bottom line is this: Most people are dieting to achieve a certain look in their body, feel a certain way or address a health issue.
A diet alone is NOT going to get you there. Even if you just want to look ‘toned’ you still need to have some muscle on your body to tone up!
Even if you just want to feel a bit better than you do now, eating better is only half the equation. The endorphins and capabilities that exercise provides you will go much further to feeling great than a diet will.
Another major reason people go on diets is to address a lifestyle issue such as diabetes, heart disease or any number of chronic long term issues.
Again, a diet is only half of the solution to these issues. A diet is not going to do all the work.
Take diabetes, a diet is only attacking it from one side; reducing sugar/carbohydrate intake in most cases. Exercise builds your bodies capability to deal with carbohydrates and allows you more room for error in your diet and diet combined with regular exercise is going to give you a much better outcome than diet alone!
How much do you value your health?
As with most things in life it comes down to what you value. If you truly value your health then don't start a 'diet'. Don't leave it to chance.
Change your lifestyle. Change your habits. Work through the tough times and you will come through it stronger and more resilient. You will get the health results you want and feel so much better for it.
Is this story familiar to you? Check out the 5-day challenge for free that will help you to get out of the trap of diets!