21 Oct Why 99% Of Diets Don’t Work And What You Can Do Instead
Diets promise a lot of things. They promise you’ll lose a certain number of kilos in a certain number of weeks. They promise you’ll love the food, your skin will be glowing, you’ll have more energy, and that you’ll never return to your old ways.
There seems to be a new diet coming out every month. Celebrities, fitness ‘experts’, and wellness warriors are regularly claiming they’ve found the magic solution to the world-wide problem that is weight gain. If diets worked, then why are we still trying to re-invent the wheel? Why are some of the top books being published and selling online about diets?
That’s because 99% of diets don’t work!
There are a few simple reasons why most diets don’t work and ultimately lead to failure. Most diets have unrealistic expectations and lack any flexibility. Think about the last diet you were on…did it help you withstand temptation? Did it accommodate the day you wanted to off training? Was it cost effective for you?
In most cases, the answers to these would be no. That’s because diets are based on you conforming to the plan, remaining consistent and not letting anything stand in your way. Let’s face it, life isn’t like that and long term it’s simply not sustainable. Maybe this is a gross generalisation, but of course a particular celebrity makes his/her diet look easy – no doubt they have deep pockets, probably have a personal trainer, a chef and maybe even someone who does their food shopping. How they look has a drastic effect on their career, so it is something they tend to become nonnegotiable about. And that’s okay, but does it doesn’t necessarily translate to the ordinary folks.
Also, since when did being healthy mean you have to obsess about what’s going in your mouth, spend up big on supplements and superfoods, and exercise in whatever spare time you have? Why does being healthy translate into simply an internal struggle with how you look or feel? Instead what you choose to eat should be food that works for your body and makes you thrive. This isn’t black or white as we are all different and hence why there is no one perfect diet for all of humanity.
A diet plan that works isn’t about superfoods and restrictions
I’m guessing most of you who have been on a diet would have felt guilty if you indulged in ‘bad’ food, had a blow out on the weekend, or simple ate when you weren’t supposed to. This is because diets are traditionally designed to be inflexible, and therefore you begin to feel you need to take extreme measures in order to lose weight and get healthy.
A healthy diet plan is one of balance, enjoyment and commitment. It’s about not worrying that you didn’t go to the gym that day, and instead choose to catch up with friends. It’s about indulging in the foods you love in those right situations, like when you’re on holidays or at your birthday dinner. Healthy is about feeling good about yourself, and not trying to compare yourself to others or meet the requirements of an author of a diet book.
A healthy diet for me has a few key components:
1. Drink plenty of water
2. Get a good night’s sleep (every night)
3. Eat whole, natural foods including protein, veggies and good fats
4. Get moving
5. Laugh out loud
6. Enjoy intimacy
7. Work on your mind as well as your body
8. Reduce stress
9. Find acceptance for imperfection
10. Be kind to others
11. And last of all, save your money on diets, cleanses and those magic pills
If you’re on a diet that makes you feel restricted, sends you poor, or consumes you, then ditch it. When it takes over your life and makes you become fitness and health obsessed, it’s simply not worth it. Sure you may have dropped some kilos, but what does the rest of your world look like? And what happens when you stop the diet, because you simply can’t sustain that lifestyle forever?
I’m not saying keep continuing on the road you are if your diet looks like a MacDonald’s menu and your trainers are collecting dust. I’m saying you need to correct your mindset and find enjoyment in what you’re are doing. You need to eat foods that make YOU thrive and foods that create energy and wellbeing. This balance will lead to you wanting to workout, to enjoying healthy food and to gaining better results. There may be times and for some particularly myself certain foods like gluten and lactose are a no go, but this is because my body reacts to them, not because of some diet.
A healthy lifestyle of real food and exercise should be everyone’s priority, whether they’re overweight or simply want to stay fit. But it shouldn’t be the top priority if it means other important aspects of your life are compromised.
Want my advice? Happiness should be at the top of your list, and then everything else will follow when you pay attention to what makes you truley happy.