It seems that every week there’s a new miracle diet, making huge grand promises of how it’s going to revolutionise your health and help you finally shed those excess pounds.
But what they don’t tell you is that in the grand scheme of things any diet that you stick to will get you results. And that right there is the exact reason why dieting simply doesn’t work.
Think about it…If you look at it properly, dieting is all about restriction, where we have been convinced we need to starve ourselves or give up all our favourite foods if we want to lose weight.
That in itself is a huge problem, as from a basic psychology point of view as soon as you tell yourself you can’t have something, you simply want it more.
Cue the instant cravings and battles with willpower. It’s only a matter of time till we crack, often leading to an all-out binge and quitting the diet all together.
Dieting doesn’t work
Yet we do it anyway, hoping that by some miracle this time will yield different results.
We even go into it already hating the entire process, making ourselves miserable and that’s one of the reasons why we always put it off and promise ourselves that from (next) Monday we will (hopefully) get started. We are dreading it before it even begins.
So what’s the answer?
The reality is there is no good or bad food.
I know that sounds crazy to say, as obviously certain items are better for us than others, but at the end of the day, food is just food.
As soon as we view or label something in a negative light, it causes us to feel guilty or have self-doubt every time we have it, which in itself is an unhealthy mindset to have, and continuously adds a tremendous amount of pressure onto our already stressful lives.
The truth is there’s room for everything in a balanced diet, that’s why in my book Become a Better You and with my clients, one of the first philosophy’s I teach is the 80/20 rule.
With this approach we should be aiming for 80% of our intake to revolve around healthy nutritious wholefoods, such as vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, complex carbs and lean proteins, with the other 20% comprising of whatever we want.
That’s right. Whatever we want!
Our body needs a range of nutrients each and every day to properly function, which is why our first point of call should be to focus on what we need to ADD to our diet to fuel our bodies, rather than what we need to take out.
This is a drastically different approach to how people tend to view dieting, and completely flips it on its head.
This method will allow you to focus on the positives of the situation and what you have to gain, rather than simply obsessing over what you have to give up.
This means that nothing is ever off limits, and will be a huge step forward in stopping food from controlling your life.
Next you need to become more mindful of your actions and work out why you act and respond the way you do.
This is essential, as the reason why dieting doesn’t work long-term is it fails to tackle the core of the problem, which in essence is our habits, behaviours and relationships with food.
We all have foods we associate with certain feelings, events or emotions, which is why often we will turn to certain items when we are stressed, depressed, bored or even happy. These are called trigger points.
These decisions are often ingrained within us, and can go right back to our childhood and experiences we’ve been through in life, meaning we subconsciously seek to regain that comfort or security whenever we feel a certain way.
By recognising your own trigger points, you can then start to understand why you behave the way you do. For instance; it could be a trip to the vending machine after a stressful meeting, or some biscuits with that afternoon cup of tea after rushing around with the kids.
Once you recognise what they are, you can actively focus on recognising when they are approaching and changing how you respond.
One of my favourite strategies I use with clients is to say they can have that ‘treat’, but they have to have a glass of water first then wait 15 minutes before having it.
This alone will stop you acting on impulse, and make you decide as to whether or not you actually want it, or if it was just because it was in front of you.
And finally… you need to quit trying to be perfect.
Losing weight and improving your health is all about consistency, not perfection, and telling yourself you need to be perfect all the time is setting yourself up to fail right from the start.
Yes, we should be doing everything we can to improve our health, but life is short, and we also need to make the most of the time that we have.
In my view it is all about balance, doing the best that you can and trying to enjoy the journey, instead of fixating on the end result.
So, stop overthinking it and putting so much pressure on yourself, the weight loss will come as a result of your positive actions.
Tailored Lifestyles was created by Byron Morrison with one simple mission: To help as many people as possible live healthier happier lives, by taking a holistic approach to improving their wellbeing.
Byron helps ladies aged 35 to 55 take control of their weight loss journey, showing them how to make time for themselves and that they don’t need to feel so lost, overwhelmed and carrying the world on their shoulders.