Why Diets Fail and How To Succeed

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We live in  an information rich world that allows people to read and know what needs to be done in terms nutrition and sleep to reach their goals.

A free top notch weight training and nutrition plan is only a google search away. It will tell you specifically  what to eat  and how to exercise. There is no real guesswork.  

Many folks will go a step further and pay to have a nutritionist develop personalized meal plans for them.These people are paying money to  be told exactly what to eat, and in what portions.

Regardless most people will  not be able to stick to the meal plan. The only thing easier would be if the nutritionist cooked the food and fed it to you with a fork.

If you know exactly what needs to be done in terms of exercise and nutrition to reach your goals, why is there a  struggle to follow the plan time and time again ?

In this blog post I am going to discuss why your diet isn’t working, why diets create a vicious cycle and how to escape it all to engineer a healthier life.    

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Habits That Stick

A large part of the reason  most people are not  able to follow a plan is they have not developed  habits that stick.

When I say habits that stick I am referring to the default habits that contribute to long term success.

These sticky habits become the new default to fall back on. With continued growth new set points will be achieved closer to the goal.

There are going to be steps backwards, but the person continues moving forward  because they have a new setpoint to work from. They know their goal is only met by moving forward each day.

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Everyone these days is on a diet or doing a thirty day challenge, but what happens after that diet or thirty day challenge ends ?

They have reached the top of the mountain after thirty days, but have not built the habits to support this way of life for an extended period of time. Because the habits have not been built people typically return to their default habits.

This is typically where the wheels come off the wagon and there is a binge. The binge results in a return to the old default habits, and weight gain happens again.

After feeling guilty for going back to their old habits the person goes on another diet or thirty day challenge and cycle is repeated.

Each time a person goes through this weight loss and gain cycle they become more metabolism adapts better making fat loss more difficult.

Naturally the person thinks they need to restrict calories further and exercise more, but that is only digging a deeper hole. This cycle is  dangerous  mentally and physically.

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When The Perfect Ruins The Good 

If the only thing you have been for the past twenty fives days is perfect and suddenly you slip up. That air of perfection is out the window, and your hashtag privileges are revoked on instagram I hear.

Short term goals should be easy right ?  why couldn’t I be perfect for a month ? insert the other common negative self talk here.This   fosters a very negative mindset, and can create unnecessary stress around food.

I always tell my nutrition clients, we aiming for progress not perfection. Think of achieving  a goal like a run,  it is a marathon not a sprint. You learn a lot from the journey to your goal.

Managing small setbacks allows you to handle larger setbacks with a positive mindset to keep moving forward.

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Evolutionary Software

Biologically  humans are not hardwired for long term goals. Our survival from an evolutionary standpoint was regulated moment to moment.

Your physiology is only concerned with keeping you breathing and living until the next moment, hoping you will procreate if you are healthy enough.  

You body only cares about the short term because as hunter gatherers you could  potentially die at any moment. The system that regulates this is the fight or flight stress response.

It is responsible for making sure you get out of that stressful situation alive at any cost necessary to the body. To make the stress hormones needed to ensure your survival your body steals the precursors to all the other hormones. Sorry but low testosterone doesn’t matter if you are dead.

This short term hard wiring is also why you crave sweet foods.The sweet foods provide the feedback to your primal brain that this is a safe, dense source of energy.

We get the signal to eat as much of this food as possible , because it won’t be around for very long once the seasons change.

These are the kind of short term hard wiring that helped our species evolve, however this is not the best system for managing long term goals.

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A Better Approach

Make sure that the habit you are adopting is small enough that you can not fail. It should almost be insulting how simple it is.

Instead of trying to complete the habit seven days a week start with  three days a week, think marathon not sprint. Build up over time and work your way up to seven days. Don’t try to start the race the race at the finish line.

The beauty of this approach is that  there is no end date or  abrupt ending. When these challenges and diets end they leave people without another path to follow except another thirty day challenge or diet.

The habit based approach to  health is focused on compacting all the small changes into something much bigger, and learning from the journey along the way. The longer path may be windy and difficult to stay on at times, but it will take you much further if you stay on it.

There is no judgement or perfection prioritized. It is about progress pure and simple. People experiencing smaller struggles and setbacks along the way helps to develop a stronger constitution and an ability to  handle larger challenges.

Keep  yourself accountable to someone else. Enlist a friend to help keep you on track or have them complete the habits with you.

Things such as sending picture messages or making a facebook group can be great for accountability. There are also habit tracking apps as well.

Once you have a habit down and it becomes autopilot, it is time to adopt  a new habit. With my clients I have noticed that most people do very well with a new habit every two weeks.

If a habit is more challenging, lay the groundwork for an extra week to make sure it is solidified before moving forward.

To make sure the habits stay interesting and things don’t get boring  cycle between nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress management. If every habit you adopt is related to nutrition it is much easier to burn out and lose interest. Make improvement to all areas of your life to reap the health benefits.

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.

 

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