The other day I got a text from a good friend of mine who has struggled with her weight for a while. It was Monday at 7 am.
Friend: Do you know anything about the “Latest Diet?” A lady at work is doing it and lost 20 pounds.
Me: Nope. Never heard of it.
Friend: It looks pretty simple. Veggies and protein.
I quickly google it and see that yes, the concept does sound pretty simple. Restrict a large portion of many food groups, eat WAY under your caloric needs and lose a lot of weight (not fat) in two weeks. I have no idea what happens after two weeks.
I nicely tell my friend that, in my opinion, it’s not worth her time and effort.
Why do intelligent women (and men) get sucked into the belief that some new “diet” will be the key to them unlocking the weight-loss so desperately wanted?
Why try what appears to have worked for a friend, only to wind up frustrated when it fails to work for you?
The answer lies in the “Diet Cycle.” The vicious cycle that ALWAYS ends in feeling bad, guilty and desperate. And it’s this desperation that leads to the worst step in the cycle:
“That’s it! My co-worker/relative/friend is on another diet and they lost 20 pounds — I’m going to start that diet on Monday!”
I think it’s great that people are becoming more aware of their health and are looking for ways to eat that will result in weight loss and improved health. I really do. Where I believe they go wrong is thinking what works for someone they know HAS to work for them.
Most of us pride ourselves in being individuals, right? We have our own likes and dislikes, our own health issues or lack of health issues. Some of us need to work full time, others don’t. We are married, single, widowed. We all have different foods that we love and foods we loathe. The thought of running to the mailbox is torture for one person while another is planning to run their fifth ultra marathon.
You get the point.
WHY do we believe what works for our friends WILL work for us?
Want to know a secret? I believe we don’t really think that. I believe the decision to follow your friend’s diet involves little to no thinking — only feelings.
Those feelings cause us to make abrupt decisions based on emotions and not on reality. The choice to follow diet x, y or z is made in a time where we feel terrible about ourselves. It’s made on the heels of a weekend or month of binge eating foods with little to no nutritional value. We grasp at whatever we read on the internet, see on Instagram, hear our friend talk about or read in the grocery checkout line.
I’m not saying that the “Latest Diet” is bad. It might very well have helped your sister lose 50 pounds and keep it off. What I’m saying is that all of these diets are doing the same thing — reducing calories. Each one is doing it in a different way.
The Keto diet is no different that the Mediterranean diet which is no different that the Atkins diet and no different to the Intermittent Fasting Diet. Sure, they each have their “rules” but they all do one thing — reduce your caloric intake. That ALWAYS results in weight loss. I know many people will disagree with me and that fine.
The secret lies in which one YOU can maintain.
If the thought of never eating bread again is appalling to you, then maybe the Keto diet isn’t for you. If you can’t go a day without thinking about bacon, then a plant based diet isn’t the best idea. If the thought of counting every macro (proteins, fats and carbs) you put in your mouth is torture then you probably shouldn’t try the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) Diet. Fasting for 16 – 20 hours each day unthinkable? Don’t try Intermittent Fasting.
You get the idea.
We need to insert a step in the cycle right before we make the decision to follow our friend’s diet. Take time to do real research on what works for YOU — based on YOUR body.
That’s the way to start down a path of healthy eating.
Listen, I’m not saying losing weight is easy — it isn’t. But why set yourself up for failure before you even begin? It’s like the analogy of using a map of Fernandina Beach to find Key West — You aren’t going to find your way there very easily, right?
Weight loss isn’t impossible. Take the time to figure out what works for your body and mind. Do you have very little time in the day to count calories? Does too much dietary fat bother your stomach? Do processed carbs make you feel sluggish? These are a few of the questions I ask my clients to help them determine what will work best for them.
If you are looking for some help to break out of the Diet Cycle, click here and let me know which step in the cycle you struggle with the most! Let’s get started on figuring out what works for YOU!