Since I’ve started doing nutrition plans professionally I would have to say that the one other thing on par with creating confusion and anxiety, like the misinformation of carbohydrates (see my last post) is the concept of dieting.
I would say that about 90% of my clients had a negative association with dieting and even though I knew part of my job would involve coaching, I didn’t anticipate that it would turn into about 80% of what I do now because of the general lack of knowledge and the appalling amount of nonsense on social media that basically set people up to fail at dieting.
I’ve never been one for too much small talk to let’s get down to business shall we. Here’s why you’re failing or failed at dieting;
You don’t actually know what dieting is. Energy in. Energy out. Calories consumed. Calories burned. A calorie is a unit of energy. What does this have to do with dieting? This is dieting; a game of calories. This is why most labels tell us how much calories is in a product; it’s stating how much energy that product has and how much you’re about to consume. If we’re consuming too much calories re: we have a high intake of energy and we’re not doing enough to burn those calories re: release that energy then we begin to store it. If you’re overweight think of your not-so-flat tummy right now; this is basically stored energy waiting to be released. If you’ve maintained a certain weight for a long period of time then that means that your energy in and energy out is equal. If you’re losing weight, it means that you have a negative energy balance; your energy out is more than your energy in re: you’re burning more calories than you are consuming. When you’re overweight, you have a positive energy balance; you’re consuming too much calories and not burning enough. With that being said, there are stages to dieting.
Stage 1: For fat loss, you have to go on a calorie deficit re: you have to consume less calories. When you eat less calories your body has less energy and it will begin to grab that energy from your storage. This is how you start to burn fat.
Stage 2: When you start to burn this fat, your body composition (re: your muscle to fat ratio) will change and you can proceed to exercise then if you choose to, to go into a greater calorie deficit and to re-shape your body. FYI: Dieting helps you lose fat and exercise help to re-shape your body to give it a leaner look. You do not need to exercise to lose fat. This can be done purely with diet. You should exercise though because of the other benefits like better regulation of hormones, heart function, improved mental health etc. Now you can choose to stop at stage 2 but if you really want to see better and faster body composition changes you will have to go to Stage 3.
Stage 3 is where you will have to pay a lot more attention to your diet. This is where you will actively have to eat more veggies and less fries and watch things like your sodium intake etc. You will also have to ever so often switch up your workouts so that your body doesn’t plateau quickly. Here’s what a lot of people do wrong when they first begin dieting; they go straight to Stage 3. I see people make this big jump all the time and it’s like watching an accident about to happen where you’re yelling for the next person to stop and they continue driving. It baffles me as to why you would want attempt to change your diet, exercise, meal prep and watch labels etc all at once when you haven’t even gained self-control of what you put into your own mouth. This, my friends, will be harder than doing any workout, trust me. My advice for safeguarding against failure; don’t rush the process.
You’re trying to follow someone else’s diet. What fails to register with a lot of people is that they already have a diet. What you eat and drink for breakfast to dinner time and everything in between is your diet. However, if you’re gaining too much fat or not putting on any weight and you want to do either, it means that your diet is crap, sorry to say. BUT, that doesn’t mean that you should discard your diet totally and go use someone else’s. Do you throw away a lamp because the bulb needs changing? No, you simply change the bulb. The same mindset goes to your diet; make adjustments. If you know you eat too much junk food then just eat less of it and make a commitment to get more veggies and fruits in at least two meals per day. If you know you drink a lot of sugary drinks then commit to drinking more water instead. If you know you eat too much refined carb foods then try to consume more protein rich ones. Notice that I didn’t say give up; I said adjust. Small adjustments like these make a huge difference in the long run in terms of adherence to dieting. The success of any diet is measured on whether a person can sustain that diet for a long period of time while still maintaining results. Ask yourself, could you really eat broccoli and fish every day for a year because another person did so and lost 100lbs even though you don’t like broccoli or fish? You know what would happen to you if you tried to follow that person’s diet. You’d fail. Why? Because it’s not YOUR diet. The reason I’ve had a lot of success with my clients and my nutrition plans is because it’s NOT my diet plan. I simply made THEIR diet work for them, junk food inclusive as well. Feel free to message me about a free consultation call if you’re interested in making YOUR diet work for you.
You have no structure in your daily life. A typical day for some is where you get off your bed in the morning and just go. You don’t eat anything of sustenance for breakfast and when you do eat it’s a pie or doubles or something from the closest Starbucks or Rituals and then in two hours you’re hungry again, so you go have a juice or a soda or a snack to hold you off till lunch time. For lunch you grab some KFC or something else that’s mainly a refined carb or because you’re so busy, you don’t eat all. By dinner time you’re starving and because you didn’t have lunch you overeat or because you had that chicken and fries for lunch you decide to eat some crix and cheese and go to bed. And then you do it all over again, except on weekends you might have a drink or three with friends and then binge eat at the burger joint. You end up doing this for a couple of years and before you know it age and a slowing metabolism catches up on you and your clothes get tighter and you proceed to do all the wrongs things highlighted in the first point above and you get frustrated thinking you’re never going to get back the body you had unless you starve yourself or exercise for 10 hours a week which causes you to stress eat; and the vicious cycle seems never ending. If you’re a woman, add some babies in the midst of all that and it feels like you’re going to be carrying around the baby weight forever. I used to be like you, until my hormones went unbalanced and I had no choice but to put some much needed structure into my life. I did the gym thing too and saw some results but only when I took control of my diet did my hormones return to some normalcy and my body composition changed into what I always had in mind when I joined the gym. I’ve been meal prepping my lunch for over three years now and I would never say it’s the easiest thing to do in the beginning because you have to put aside the time to cook but more importantly you have to put aside the time to plan what you want to eat during the week, which to me can be more difficult. If you’ve never cooked before as well it makes it a bit tougher to be honest, but after consistently doing it for as long as I have it takes me about fifteen minutes to decide what I want to eat every week and less than that to plan my daily workouts. I’m by no means saying that meal prepping is the way to go for you but if you can’t commit to cooking your own meals then I would suggest that you make a habit of buying healthier options when purchasing food ; one carb, one protein and a good serving of veggies. This again will involve some form of pre-planning like actively locating food outlets that sell healthier foods in your work area for example. My simple point is that some type of planning needs to occur. I might add though that one of the many advantages of meal prepping is that you begin to intuitively make smarter choices when buying food on the outside as well. If you would like to get tips on how to meal prep check out one of my earlier posts on ‘how to meal prep successfully’. If you think you will still need some guidance on how to begin planning your meals then feel free to message me about a free consultation call so I can give you some tips.
You give up too easily. When people talk about diet and exercise being a lifestyle change it’s because it isn’t meant to be something short term. Losing fat and building muscle takes time. Gaining fat is quite easy and losing muscle is even easier. We all wish it were the other way around but it isn’t unfortunately. Unless you spend a considerable amount of time in the gym or go on a very restrictive diet or do both (which by the way you won’t be able to do for very long because your body will begin to view both of these dramatic changes as stressors and react negatively), the fact is that you are going to have to make consistent adjustments to your daily life either with your diet or exercise or both in order to see lasting results. Case in point: have you ever watched an interview with an actor that had to gain muscle or lose weight for a movie role? You’d hear them talk about the months of training and changes to their diet that they had to make in order to do so. A reminder as well that these are people that have trainers and chefs and the time to dedicate hours to exercise. Why the reference? The word months; not three weeks, not one month but months. So why do you (the average human being) get demotivated and quit when you don’t see results in two weeks? Stop being unrealistic and start holding yourself accountable for the changes you are not making for the results you want. My advice is to set a timeline and a realistic weight goal. For example: I want to lose 10 pounds of fat in three months (this is completely doable with just diet by the way). Start off with Stage 1 of dieting that I listed in the first point and gradually move to stage 3 if you wish and I guarantee that you will drop those pounds in no time. If you need more help and guidance in doing so then feel free to reach out to me for some tips or if you’re completely fed up and ready for a change then sign up for my program today!
“Eat for the body you want, not for the body you have.” – Unknown