Why diets suck (and what to do instead)

It’s that time of year again!

You know what I’m talking about. Television adverts for turkey and mince pies have been replaced with ones for weight loss DVDs and diet meal plans. Gym memberships are at an all-time high, and as a nation we tell ourselves: “this will be our year.

In January, we’re full of good intentions and a thirst for improvement. So why do so many of us fail to even get out of the starting blocks?

Maybe it’s because we’re making the exact same mistakes over and over again.

Let me explain a little bit more.

Why ‘dieting’ isn’t the answer

You probably over-indulged this Christmas. I know I did. And now you want to get back to feeling like the healthier, more vibrant you that you were before the sugar-coated monster of December rolled into town.

That’s awesome. But where do you start?

Let’s face it; there’s no shortage of information out there these days. As you trundle through the archives of the internet or wander the fitness isles of the library, you’re hit with those all too familiar promises.

“Lose weight in 3 weeks! Tone up in 28 days!”

The problem with these programmes is that they are all chasing after the short term fix. The magic bullet. The panacea that will get us into shape faster than ever before.

Having a health and fitness goal is great and everyone likes a challenge. But once you’ve achieved it – then what happens?

9 times out of 10: You slip back into the same old habits, and end up as unhealthy and out of shape as before.

If anything is going to deliver long term results – in whatever aspect of life – it has to be sustainable. This means something that you can stick at. Not just this month, or even this year. My challenge to you is to create something that you can maintain for life.

The fundamental dieting mistake

In my opinion, the reason that most diets don’t work is because they focus too much on restriction. Restricting calories, restricting carbs, restricting sugars, restricting fats.

But healthy eating isn’t about restricting at all.

The problem is, when we focus on what we can’t have, we’re already setting ourselves up for failure. It’s basic human psychology. If someone tells us something is forbidden, it automatically makes us want it even more.

If there’s no room for flexibility and enjoyment, sooner rather than later we’re going to fall off the wagon. It’s inevitable.

In order for a diet to be sustainable, it must first be enjoyable. Which probably means you need to ditch the word ‘diet’ altogether. Instead of going on a diet, you’re creating a lifestyle.

The Paradigm Shift

Traditional dieting views food as the enemy. As soon as we change this mentality, things start to fall into place.

Instead of depriving your body, nourish it!

Instead of restricting food groups, start embracing others! It’s a simple change in mind-set, but one that I promise will make the world of difference.

You already know the basics of a healthy lifestyle, so let’s not try and overcomplicate things. Eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits and veggies. Be sure to get a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fats. Avoid processed food wherever possible. Drink your H20, move often, sleep deeply. Enjoy life.

We created our Ultimate Diet Blueprint to make this process even easier.

But if you’re at a party or out for dinner with friends? Treat yourself. Relax, enjoy the company, and don’t stress out about making the ‘perfect’ food choice. What does that even mean, anyway?

In fact, obsessively worrying and stressing about food choices is going to be much worse for you than treating yourself in the first place!

The lifestyle effect

Remember, food is not your enemy.

The meal in front of you is not defined by it’s calorie content or macronutrient breakdown. It’s there to nourish your body, fuel your cells, to energise you and to make you feel good.

Most importantly of all, it’s there to be enjoyed.

The traditional method of ‘dieting’ leaves you feeling miserable, deprived, and ultimately on a path destined for failure.

Creating a lifestyle allows you the flexibility to live healthily, whilst at the same time maintaining balance and enjoying life.

Don’t start a diet with an end date. Create something sustainable: for 2016 and beyond.