People experiment with a multitude of different diets before they find one that actually works them, assuming they find one at all.
When experimenting with diets there are going to be some clear signs to watch out for that indicate this diet is not be the best approach for you.
To be clear most diets fail, and the reason for this is a lack of sustainability. When choosing a habit or approach to changing your nutrition make sure it’s something you’ll be able to stick with not another flash in the pan 30 day challenge.
In today’s blog we’re going be looking at the Top 5 Warning Signs That Your Diet Is Going To Fail.
1.) You’re Constantly Having Food Cravings
It’s a completely normal aspect of eating to crave specific foods. There’s a large difference between the occasional food craving, and constantly having a certain food on your mind.
Many times when someone is on a diet they find themselves craving the very foods that are trying to avoid.
The problem is what we focus on on grows, and as that food gets more attention the cravings only grow stronger.
If you find yourself having extreme food cravings since switching your diet it could be a sign that you diet is deficient in a specific nutrient, or the diet you’re following is overly restrictive.
An important aspect of staying on a diet for the long haul is to figure out ways to satisfy a craving while not going off the reservation with your nutrition.
You may be avoiding bread and pasta right now, but that doesn’t mean that a sweet potato with a little butter and cinnamon won’t hit the spot.
Maybe you’re not having dairy currently, and are craving something for your coffee. Using an alternative like coconut or almond milk can be a helpful substitute.
Make sure you aren’t creating unnecessary cravings, or amplifying their effects with inadequate sleep, lack of hydration or keeping foods in the house that are testing your willpower.
2.) You’re Focusing Too Much On The Scale
Scale weight with measurements and progress pictures are useful tools to measure fat loss progress.
If you don’t use measurements or pictures and gauge progress on scale weight alone, you’re missing crucial tools for gauging true progress.
What typically happens in the beginning is someone sees the number on the scale go down and they’re excited.
Fast forward a few weeks and suddenly the scale isn’t budging, and you’re not happy about it, in fact you’re downright frustrated.
The frustration transforms into thoughts of “well this isn’t working anyway I might as well eat what I want.”
The fact remains that fat loss will always go much slower than people expect. Ignore the hacks and quick fixes of the diet industry promising a shortcut to your goals.
Day to day weight fluctuations are a normal part of fat loss progress, and should be expected.
You can end up heavier on the scale due to water retention, hormonal fluctuations, muscle gain and the amount of food you ate that day.
You can be losing fat yet have the number on the scale reflect that due to the factors mentioned above. Don’t let it mess with your head and stay the course.
Use other tools to help you gauge progress like body measurements and progress pictures. Both of these can be used in conjunction with a scale to provide more information on your actual fat loss progress.
3.) You Don’t Have A Clear Goal
When you know specifically where you want to go, it is much easier to stay on the path, because you have a north star to follow.
Setting a clearly defined goal and writing it down is a powerful motivator, and provides a reminder of what you really desire.
Not any old goal will do though, goals must be specific and measurable with a date you will accomplish it by.
A very common goal that regularly falls short is I want to lose body fat. While it’s specific to losing fat it’s not measurable, and has no date. A better goal would be I want to lose 15 pounds of fat 90 days.
The next component to setting an effective goal is that it should be challenging, yet realistic for where you are currently.
If you’re 80 pounds overweight, and want to become a fitness model in 6 months you’ll need to adjust your expectations.
On the opposite side your goals should be challenging enough to keep you motivated for when you hit plateaus and experience bumps in the road.
Most people set an outcome based goal which means it is more of a finish line type of accomplishment. I want to lose 15 pounds of fat 90 days is an outcome based goal.
Outcome based goals are the byproduct of getting the right behaviors and habits in place, that over time add up to the desired outcome goal.
Unless habits and behaviors are addressed first and foremost, you won’t make it to the finish line. I prefer to have people set habit based goals that address their daily, weekly and monthly behaviors.
The benefit of behavior based goals is that you have total control over whether you hit the goal for the day or not.
You could do everything within your power to lose a certain amount of fat in certain time frame, and still not hit the mark which is discouraging, and can make people feel like they’ve failed.
Habit based goals give folks a way to celebrate the smaller victories and see progress each day on the path to their bigger goals.
A set of habit based goals for a week could be strength training 3 times a week for 1 hour. Sprinting or doing HIIT 2 times per week or eating salads for lunch 5 days a week. This person has 10 opportunities throughout their week to accomplish a goal and check it off their list!
4.) You’re Always Hungry
If you’re always hungry it’s a sign that you’re not eating enough food or you may need to adjust your meal frequency or macronutrient intake to meet your needs.
If your diet is based on under eating unintentionally or intentionally it will end in failure, and there will be a food binge in the near future.
Keep in mind you brain doesn’t care what your abs look like in the mirror it wants you to survive and pass on your genes.
When you make your brain think that times are rough and you’re starving it combats that by increasing your appetite.
Trying to starve yourself lean is a poor strategy, and can have serious health consequences along the way including sleep and hormonal disruptions, a slower metabolic rate and decreased libido.
Make sure that you’re eating enough to support your workouts and health, while losing fat.
If someone under eats for a long enough it will slow down the metabolic rate so when a binge does happen those excess calories go right into fat stores.
There are much better ways than chronically under eating to help fat loss such as lifting weights and doing some extra conditioning, getting enough sleep, or reducing carbs and calories on less active days.
5.) You’re Not Planning
When you’re starting a new nutrition plan it’s going to require some planning ahead of time to make sure you’re prepared, it’s a crazy world out there folks.
If you’re trying to go off the cuff in the beginning before you’ve developed a routine you’ll get overwhelmed and make less than ideal food choices.
Some people can eat the same foods day after day, but for the majority us we need some variety in foods to keep the taste buds guessing, and the brain happy.
When someone gets bored due to eating the same foods day in and day out, they’ll have a much greater tendency to go off plan.
With a little thought and meal planning it’s much easier to stay excited about your food choices, and be aware of how much you’re actually eating on a daily basis.
People have a tendency to dramatically underestimate the amount of calories then consume throughout the day, and overestimate the amount of calories the expend during the day regardless of what your treadmill or fitbit tells you.
I’m not saying you need to plan every meal down to the last ingredient and measure all your food, but setting some guidelines and looking up some new recipes can help avoid palate fatigue.
Setting a few hours aside each week to shop and cook can help you to avoid diet related headaches and the need to constantly start over because you fell off the wagon again, and again.
These five signs are helpful to keep in mind and be on the lookout for when it comes to adopting a new nutrition plan.
If you’re experiencing these while on a diet it’s time to make some adjustments to your routine, or try a new approach that will be more sustainable for you.
Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.
These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.