Let's face it, we have all been guilty of wanting results so bad that we try going on a diet to get those results faster. But as one statistic pointed out, a woman in her mid-40's has most likely tried and failed at over 65 diets in her life. That number is astounding, but I bet you are thinking right now, "Yeah, I believe it." Before that next diet pops up and promises you a bunch of success in and out of the gym, read our top 11 reasons it is going to fail. I don't want to be a Negative Nancy here, but perhaps this list will remind you to ditch the diets and just start focusing on eating a variety of real foods.
You will never stay on it long enough to actually see results.
The sad truth is we all get a bit antsy and want to see results now. However, any nutrition plan worth its salt is a process that takes time. If there was a diet that instantly worked for everyone, we would all be using it and the diet founder would be very rich.
It is too overwhelming.
We see this all of the time when we give nutrition coaching to athletes. Their current plan basically says to quit everything they love because it is all bad and replace it with a ton of food they might have never even tasted, never mind cooked. Usually, our clients tell us they were 100% committed for about a week or two, saw no results (see reason #1) and just couldn’t handle how tough the transition would be. Instead, we suggest starting any nutrition plan with basic concepts like beginning to eat more real foods and introducing variety to your meals.
The person in the gym you want to look like isn’t following a diet.
We all have somebody in our gym or online that we would like to look a bit more like. Maybe they have defined abs or great looking shoulders and you would like those too. Except, a diet can’t get you there. At least not permanently. If you are curious, don’t ask them about what they eat. Instead, ask them about their overall nutrition lifestyle. I bet you will find their nutrition choices go far beyond just what they put on their plate. In fact, they probably wouldn’t use the word “diet” at all. To them, it is just the way they live.
You are stressed out and killing your gains.
We are all dealing with various amounts of stress in our professional and personal life. So throwing a stressful diet on top of that heaping pile of frayed nerves isn’t exactly helping the situation. If you really want to see success, you have to implement a new nutrition plan slowly and in a way that doesn’t cause you a ton of stress.
You aren’t eating enough calories.
Believe it or not, this is more common than you would think. One of our box owner friends runs a boot camp and she is constantly having to remind her new athletes to eat more calories each day. They walk in the door wanting change so bad that they falsely believe that if a little calorie deficit is good then a lot of calorie deficit is great. The reality is eating too few calories can actually lead to more stored fat, not less. Your body is primitive in many ways and if a starvation event seems to be coming, the natural response is to slow your metabolism and store more fat to help survive. Instead, forget about calories for the time being. Simply eating three solid meals a day that consist of a variety of real foods will do more to help you reach your goals than anything else.
It is expensive.
Sure, diets like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem have built in costs, but many other diets have CrossFitters believing they need to go all organic or make expensive smoothies twice a day. While eating organic is preferred, it will not make or break your diet. Instead focus on the overall quality of your proteins, carbs, and fats by making more of your meals at home and even cooking in bulk and freezing the extras. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive, but we meet people all of the time that equate expensive with more effective. It simply doesn’t work that way.
Your diet has cheat meals built in.
At Nutrition WOD, there isn’t a phrase that makes us cringe more than “cheat meal.” Why? Because it automatically implies that you are doing something wrong or bad and there is no way that can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Here is an example: Your diet subscribes to the 80/20 rule which sounds promising at first. You eat really healthy 80% of the time and then you back off that other 20%. The idea is that you are doing great much more often than bad and that will work in your favor. Except, when you define something as 80/20, most people don’t focus on the 80%, only what they will eat during the 20%. It becomes consuming and more of the week is about what you can’t eat instead of all of the great healthy food you can eat whenever you want. It is actually twisted when you think about it. You put a rule in place that gives you “permission” to throw caution to the wind and mess with all of your progress. This often leads to whole pizzas being eaten at one sitting and entirely too much ice cream or alcohol. Instead, try just focusing on doing the best you can day in and day out and being completely OK with the times you just aren’t perfect. It is going to happen. You should not only prepare for these instances but embrace them as part of your new nutrition lifestyle. Finding success with losing body fat and getting lean isn’t about the 20% at all. It is about trying to do your best 100% of the time and being fine with the times you weren’t.
Your diet has an end date.
7 Day Detox. 30 Day Belly Buster. 21 Day No Sugar Challenge. While there is nothing wrong with jump starting a diet with smaller achievable goals, you should be suspicious of any diet telling you it can change your life in a specific period of time. Life doesn’t work that way and there are plenty of reasons you may not see lasting results beyond the end date. So unless your next diet is just part of a larger nutrition strategy that will change your life, just resist the urge to throw your body into chaos for such a short term gain.
It promises flexibility.
OK, this doesn’t sound like a bad thing. I know. But here is the problem we see as professional nutrition coaches all of the time. CrossFitters tend to take the flexible aspect to the extreme with concepts like If It Fits Your Macros. This diet basically says you can eat what you want as long as the overall macros for your day total up. We actually believe any healthy nutrition lifestyle should be based on your actual life, not some predetermined set of rules. So yes, be flexible and ready with healthy alternative meals when life happens and work has you staying late. Be flexible about whether you eat frozen chicken patties tonight or tomorrow. But don’t be so flexible with your diet that basically anything goes as long as your big overall goal is met. Meal timing is important and saving up all of your calories for one big blowout meal at dinner isn’t really a long-term plan at all.
You don’t have faith it will actually work.
Think about it. How many new diets have you tried with the expectation that it probably won’t work and you will again fail to get lean? You are starting a new way of eating and deep down you don’t even believe it will work. And not because the diet is faulty. No, that is too easy. Because you must not have been dedicated enough, or strong enough, or wanted it enough to actually make it work. That is B.S. The cards were already stacked against you when you started, but don’t believe for a second that you failed because of your desire to change. Instead, try starting off from a very healthy and positive state of mind. Think about all of the reasons you already know choosing real foods over processed foods will make an impact on your life. Then begin slowly making those changes for the rest of your life. You have to have faith in what you are doing for it to actually work. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and failing before you even started.
It requires you to eat food you don’t like.
This one should be pretty obvious, but I am always amazed at how many times I hear somebody say, “I don’t like broccoli, but my diet says I need two cups of it daily.” Wow. And how long are you expecting that to continue for? After the 10th cup, are you going to magically start liking broccoli? Yeah, probably not. So why even start a diet that insists on foods that you already know you don’t like and probably never will? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve prepared certain foods a different way and ended up liking them after all. But those are the exceptions to the rule, not the typical result. The reality is unless you are a very picky eater, there are plenty of nutritious foods out there for you to choose from that have equal or better nutrients.
OK, so there you go. 11 great reasons to just skip the next diet and start focusing on what really makes a difference: Eating a variety of real foods as often as possible.