So many different diets to choose from…vegan, paleo, fasting, no carb, no fat, carnivore, etc etc etc. Every one of them has their benefits and also, every one of them WILL work, if done correctly. There is one underlying factor though that outweighs them all…That is, that 90% of people who fail on a particular diet don’t fail because the diet failed them, they fail because they failed to follow the diet. You need a diet you can actually follow long term.
What I’ve found from working with people on their diets is that if you want to have any chance whatsoever of having any long term success (that is, over 3-6 months) then you have to build a diet that the person #1 their schedule allows them to follow and #2 will actually want to eat. As even the most astute and motivated of us tend to fail eventually when doing something we don't really want to do. Maybe we start off and lose 5lbs in a week, this motivates us, so we grit our teeth and eat the bland food and push even harder. We lose another 5 pounds, now 5 more....and now we are almost three months into the diet and we love the way we look! But now, we no longer have anything to strive for, no longer have any motivation to not be fat, because we aren’t fat anymore. Now we are in a position where we are trying just to push ourselves to stay where we are. This, from a psychological standpoint, is not going to keep up for long in 99% of cases. The status quo is boring!
So, what’s the answer? How do we keep motivated to diet after 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years? T..long after we have gotten the results we wanted. The answer is, you don’t….or in other words, you try to rely on motivation as little as possible. Let's be honest, and i've seen it first hand hundreds of times, the chances someone is going to stay motivated for a year to diet is virtually zero.. So, we are better off using a different strategy. That is, creating a diet that doesn’t feel like we are dieting. For instance, if someone is eating Mcdonalds for breakfast, snacking on chips at 2pm for lunch, then eating mac n’ cheese for dinner, and we try to switch them to eating boiled chicken and broccoli 6 times per day at 2.5 hour intervals…..I put the over/under at 2 weeks until they stop following their new diet our of sheer boredom and disinterest.
I’ll explain….when I create a diet for someone, someone even who has never dieted before. The first thing I do is have them write out, in detail, everything they eat now. What they eat, how much they eat, and when they eat it. This is their default, if you will. In other words, they aren’t trying to diet, they are just eating whatever the hell they want to, whenever the hell they want to. They aren’t motivated at all, so in essence, this is the easiest possible diet for them to follow. So what better of a starting point can their be than zero effort.
So what I’ll do next, is base their “diet” off of their horrible default eating patterns as much as possible. In 95% of the cases, most of the food is ok, its all the extra stuff they are dong that is causing the problem. So I’ll keep half their diet, take out the things that won’t work, replace with sensible choices and also try my best to match the times of day they are eating. So in the end, their new diet isn't a whole lot different than their old diet, but it is in some key areas.
So when you are creating your own diet, be realistic about it. Pick foods that you like to eat. If you know you are going to have trouble eating in the afternoon because of work, try to work around that. You are better off following a diet that is less than perfect than a perfect diet you can’t follow. As what good is the diet if you don’t follow it?