This is a deep look at the one reason diets fail for most of us.
This picture is me NOT failing at any diet by the way. Its me enjoying a nice Ale while in Cornwall.
Anyway, lets start with accepting the fact that most diets fail. Like epic face plant fail.
We think the reason diets fail because there is something wrong with the diet itself, its suitability or most likely the person doing it just failed.
“The 3 pints of beer jumped into my mouth, I couldn’t help it!
“Too hard to track calories!”
“The scales don’t show fat loss in the magic ‘6 week’ plan I purchased!”
What is the real reason diets fail? Because there is no follow-through…
The Diet Is Not Sustainable
In other words there is no consistency and perseverance . It does not matter how ‘full proof’ the marketing says a particular diet is, if you do not consistently do it then it will not work. It has been shown through scientific method (here) that different diets do in fact work!
Don’t even just take this science as proof. Look at every piece of marketing for any particular diet and you’ll see awesome examples of magical transformations with before and after photos to prove it. So diets do work IF we follow-through!
Hold on, so you are now telling me they do work… confused.
Yes, diets work IF you follow-through, but most will not persevere or be consistent.
Despite science showing diets work and despite the transformation photos it is a fact that, for most people there is no success or if there is, it is short lived. Normally reverting back to the old body and old health.
I tried to go low carb a while ago. I literally lasted two days before approximately 10.39:06 am on the 3rd day I sat down and ate a packet of chocolate biscuits. If you’ve not done something similar then your’ve read about it in some magazine. Its a binge eating cliché. But after trying out diets (and having kids) I know clichés exist for a reason.
How could I have fallen victim to a cliché binge eating episode?!… in the past I’ve downed a whole tub of ice-cream or 3 snickers bars but I’ve never done it because of a diet before. Through my self-experimentation and research I know that dieting can actually exasperate cravings. When you fall off the bandwagon you fall harder.
So, nothing you probably don’t know already maybe. Then why do we all still try the same old thing that wasn’t sustainable last time… like lemmings (going crazy on gifs today).
Why Diets Are Not Sustainable?
Digging into the ‘why’ is where it gets a little tricky as it is dependent on the situation and person. Of course covering this subject there could be any number of health or genetic related issues going on so obviously I am generalising here.
- Vague reason: The ‘Real Why’
- Lack of understanding: Confusion of Information
- Doesn’t fit to lifestyle: Diet Choice
= Failure… and Repeat
1. The ‘Real Why’ Question
Take a look at yourself physically and mentally. Why do you want to do some diet? Maybe for abs, BUT why do you want abs? Maybe to look better, BUT why do you want to look better? Maybe for health, BUT why do you want to be healthy?
So there could be a million different reasons diets fail. I encourage you to get deep down asking why why why. Find the underlying reasons. These will be the ones that make you realise who you want to be as a person. Who you want to be as a person should become who you are as a person.
This makes each choice easier if you have identified yourself as a type of person who… doesn’t want to eat meat, carbs, sugar or whatever. Great video explaining this here (watch it all or go to 0:19 for specific advice on dieting).
What a healthy life and healthy diet mean to you? And how can you sustain this by adjusting your identity?
I want to live longer to see my kids grow up, be a role model for them, to stay active and to not be sick while I’m still alive.
2. Confusion of Information
Finding good information out there (or a coach) to apply knowledge to you is a must if you are interested in understanding what is going to fit into your lifestyle. At the end of the day your choice of any eating plan is all important for follow-through. Relying on glossy magazines, preachy diet evangelists or non-scientific information is not going to give you a good understanding. It will probably point you in the wrong direction so you will be doomed to failure.
3. Diet Choice
I think that you don’t even need to jump on any diet bandwagon if you don’t want to. Find your own simple ‘rules of thumb’ to live by. Find what works for you and stick to it. Incorporate it into your life. Experiment with it. Also, a buffer of sorts is often helpful so that when your eating doesn’t go perfectly to plan you don’t freak out and give up.
Some diets fit certain people very well but most don’t. In the long run, if you haven’t figured our your ‘real why’ and become the person who identifies as a vegetarian, paleo, low-carb or whatever then some shiny diet plan is not going to succeed. If you do want to jump onto a strict diet I would advise to incorporate some planned flexibility so that you put yourself under less hardship, increasing likelihood of follow-through.
It comes in the moments before failure.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face” Mike Tyson.
For 99% of us we must avoid hardship to ensure follow-through. Here is a list of stuff that might trigger hardship and failure…
Stress: The biggie! Whether it is work, family or sleep related this will lead to trigger foods like sugar or booze or plain laziness. At least take one breath a day.
Taste: Often foods are imposed upon you that you haven’t grown up eating, you are not used to and you don’t like. Maybe they are bland or just different. Not good for sustainability.
Restriction: Key in the definition of the word ‘diet’! Restrict calories, carbs, meat, etc. Makes it a very negative process with rules just waiting to be broken. Always having to restrict what you eat is hard work. A good solution sometimes is to do the opposite and only add foods without stressing so much about what you can’t have. In adding ‘good’ food you’ll correspondingly be reducing ‘bad’ food.
Society Pressure: This will grind you down until you are on your knees begging to conform. As soon as you step out the door, turn on the TV or talk to anyone. The pressures we face through friends, family and marketing are immense and most of the time un-noticeable. We need new and different role models in society. Whats hardest in changing our identity is that we’ve been brought up to be a certain way. New nutritional knowledge to fight the obesity cycle will go against some key tenants of our upbringing.
Eating Planning and Preparation: It is not only the actual diet which is tough, but the apparent extra work to follow it. Diets will encourage planning and preparation but in reality how long will this (even if perceived) extra work be sustainable?
Exercise: A random insertion but we know nutrition and fitness (ideally outdoors) go together for health. If we are not fit in body then we will not be fit in mind. Not being fit, will cause hardship. Health is not only diet related, we have to keep the body active and get out the door even if you do live in the city.
… remember Hardship = Failure
If you want to make change to your health through eating better, sustainability is all important. Figure out why your eating plan is not sustainable to understand what will work for a healthy life.
It would be awesome to know why your diet or eating plan failed or if it worked, what made it work for you?