Why diets fail

No stupid introductions. I’ll jump right to the point which is ‘why most dieters fail to achieve their fat loss goals’.

Thinking about food constantly:

If your diet is making you think about food all the time, you’re on the wrong diet. Constantly thinking about food induces cravings (and even releases insulin in some folks) which results in frustration and dissatisfaction and an overall crappy feeling which results in binge eating or breaking the diet with smart statements like “F*ck dieting! Life is short I’m going to enjoy it!”

A good diet is one which gives you the physical and mental freedom to get shit done. Life is not all about food. So stop obsessing about food and direct your attention and energy towards something more productive.

Obsessing about food quantity:

Calories matter. Sure. But not to the extent you think they do. Realize that the number of calories you are trying to hit is just a number. Your body doesn’t say “Oh crap! This is calorie number 1901 and my daily limit was 1900. Every calorie from now I should store as fat!”. Sorry. Doesn’t work that way. The number of calories you put in your mouth is not the same as the number of calories your body receives. Why? That’s a topic for another day.

Calculating calories precisely is impossible. An apple provides 75 calories. Or does it? What if the apple is bigger? Or smaller? A pizza slice has 200 calories per slice. Really? What if the random guy who made the pizza put some extra cheese? Or what if he cut the slice a little too big? Or small? Or put more dough in the crust? The point here is that trying to eat an exact number of calories is a sure shot way to failure.

A good diet will give you the flexibility to eat a little more or a little less. Portion control is all that is required. Simple math will go a long way in helping you stay in the bandwagon. Complex calorie counting will kick you out of the bandwagon faster than you can ever imagine.

Obsessing about food quality:

We live in the 21st century. A time where more than 1/4th of your meals are prepared by some guy who you never knew and will never ever know. You can’t expect all your meals to be cooked with the best quality ingredients. Wild caught fish is better than farmed ones. Sure. Organic is better than chemical filled. Sure. Extra virgin is better than regular olive oil. Sure. But are you going to get these every time you eat out? No freakin way! Are you going to end up obsessing about the quality of food and lose sleep? Are you going to stop eating out forever? Neither.

Realize… your body can handle these occasional hits of sub-par ingredients. Living stress free has a better effect on your overall health (including lipid profile) than any awesome food ingredient will ever have. So chill the crap out! Shit happens… take it easy and move on.

Fearing social occasions:

If you could go on a diet and not attend a single social breakfast/lunch/dinner or happy hour, you’d definitely do well in the diet. Guaranteed. But you’d also need a psychologist, a snake for a pet and a gun to eventually blow your brains out. Social occasions are just that. An occasion to be social, to meet folks, to chat, to catch up and to have fun. Fearing such occasions just because you are on a diet is ridiculous.

A diet that doesn’t allow you to eat at social occasions belongs in the trash and a trainer who can’t advice on how and what to eat at such times is pure incapable.

If you know about the occasion in advance be ready for it by eating appropriately throughout the day or by fasting until the event if it is an event based on food (most festivals). Once at the table, go for the protein first. Then the salad and vegetables. If you’re still hungry or tempted after this eat the grain or the dessert… but feel good about it!

If the occasion just crept up upon you, firstly, don’t freak out. Then, do the same thing. Order/choose protein and vegetables first. If it is some dumb working lunch, order a salad and, well, work as you eat!

Now knowing when to make compromises:

I’ve seen this happen too many times – One awesome Sunday evening your wife and daughter bake a special blueberry pie. But you’re on a diet. You can’t eat that! That’s not healthy… it’s not on your diet! Holy stinkin crap! Life sucks!

The next day, you’re at work and at about 4pm you’re fat colleagues are all having a coffee and cookie break. It’s just store bought cookies, but it looks so awesome right now. And you even forwent the blueberry pie! You say screw it and you indulge. Awesome!

A bite of  that blueberry pie would’ve made your 12 yr old feel like the queen of the world and you’d have had one of the best Sunday evenings ever. Instead you chose to eat cardboard like cookies with a bunch of fat fools who don’t give a pair of rat’s ass cheeks about you? Ridonkulous!

Get your priorities right! There is always a place for mom’s special dessert or your niece’s birthday cake or any form of bacon or a shot of tequila to celebrate a friend’s success. You might have huge guns and an awesome six pack… but without the little pleasures and special moments… life is meaningless!

– Peace.

10 responses to “Why diets fail

  1. Ziga January 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    True, true…

  2. Lavanya January 7, 2011 at 2:17 am

    I agree totally with the bit about fearing social occasions. One of the main reasons my forays into slimming club world crashed and burned. Despite being family-friendly, they came to a screeching halt when faced with a birthday cake or a helping of ghee-laden kesari.

    But that bit about worrying about food? Man I do that! It is a mum thing, always planning meals for the kids – esp when I eat stuff that is different from the rest of the family’s. And the week I didn’t plan my weekly menu is the one that will drive me nuts.

  3. malpaz January 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

    hahahah the pics made me almost spit out my coffee

  4. stephanielosesit January 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Great post. I shared it with the folks who read my blog: http://stephanielosesit.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/learning-from-others/
    I’m new to thinking about paleo, and have found your blog very helpful.

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  7. TMW Fitness July 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Excellent post. Down to earth and rational, there aren’t enough blogs like this 😉

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