You want to diet and diet right. You want to lose that fat once and for all. You’ve tried everything (or so you think) and you are growing increasingly frustrated. You are growing more resentment.
“I’m eating healthy!”
“I cut out all my carbs!”
“I lost the first 5lbs fast and now nothing!”
“I cut out sugar!”
“I stopped eating dairy!”
Off the bat, this is where you’re going wrong but I’ll get into that a bit later.
First, I’ll tell you what doesn’t make a successful dieter.
- Giving yourself a hard date to drop XX lbs by. (Unrealistic expectations)
- Strict dietary restrictions & using a dieting practice that doesn’t fit your life, likes, needs, and wants.
- Making everyone around you miserable and becoming anti-social.
Yea, that’s a pretty solid list. I’m sure you could find something else to add but if you want to be a successful dieter, this is what you need to avoid.
I’m sure you and I can appreciate setting goals that give you something to work towards. I hear it all the time, “I need a goal to hit otherwise I feel like I’m doing this for nothing” and while I loathe that statement (I mean really, if you’re not doing it for your own health and well-being like to prevent a heart attack, God-forbid, or some disease that runs in your family, then you’re missing the whole point of dieting and training, to begin with), I know what you mean.
The problem with setting a hard date to drop XX lbs by is the fact that, for starters, these are estimates at best. If I estimated you would lose 6lbs/month for 6 months, that would be 36lbs in 6 months.
Now that seems AWESOME, right?
Well, life doesn’t work like that for you or me. Let’s be brutally honest. You won’t hit your nutrition every single day. If you are a woman reading this, you have your period that doesn’t help (and let’s be honest: while I don’t excuse it as a reason to overeat, it’s usually that time you have your hormonal cravings and that’s understandable if you don’t ALWAYS stand strong against them. Again, control yourself, though. Still not much of an excuse).
You don’t live in a lab. You have external factors and influences that play a role in missing gym & cardio sessions. You may just want to go to dinner with your partner or friends.
That’s ok. You can still live your life, and should.
If there is anything you should do, focus on actionable goals that you can act on that do help you lose the fat a bit easier.
Still, I know you want to know what to “kind of” expect. Well the heavier you are, the more you can afford to lose. Let’s say you weigh 225lbs, losing 1% on average per week might be nice. This would be around 2lbs/week. The leaner you are, the less %/week you can expect to lose.
You need to set realistic expectations and these expectations shouldn’t come from scale weight.
You should be expecting yourself to be better with your nutrition and meal prep.
You should be telling people “no” when they offer you food.
You should be taking control of your situation as best you can.
But again, you don’t live in a perfect world nor will you lose this consistently even if you do things right all the time. Your body doesn’t care that you’re trying to diet so just stick to the things that you can control like eating your protein, carbs, and fat, and not exceeding your calories.
This leads me to my next point.
You don’t need to have these strict dietary restrictions unless you have a medical necessity (and no, for the love of the deity of choice, self-diagnosis is not valid).
It’s not the carbs (this includes sugar! sugar is a carb! say it with me!). It’s not the fats. It’s not the protein. It’s you. It’s you.
I’ll say it again: It is you.
If you aren’t losing weight, it’s not the food, it’s you eating too much.
Food is energy. That’s it. It’s tasty energy.
You need to be in an energy deficit to lose fat.
There’s nothing special or voodoo about it.
Yes, you don’t want to be eating a lot of processed foods all the time. You want to be eating your fruits and veggies and minimally-processed foods but you can enjoy your Snickers. You can eat your Oreos. You can eat whatever you want so long as you vary the diet, get your protein, carbs (including fiber), and fats.
It shouldn’t be this hard but people make it so damn complex.
Enough is enough.
You don’t need Keto. It’s such bull****. You don’t need low-carb. You don’t need low-fat. You don’t need intermittent fasting. You don’t need vegan. You don’t need vegetarian. You don’t need Zone. You don’t need Atkins. You don’t need any of this stuff.
It’s purely choice.
Restricting yourself because you think you have to not only leads to a crap relationship with food, it can lead to disordered eating or even worse, an eating disorder.
Binging is a huge problem with dieting while having a ton of restrictions.
Sure, if something causes you to trigger and binge (like if you can’t just have a couple Skittles and next thing you know you end up eating 3 bags worth, it’s wise not to buy it, eat it, and/or have it in the house), don’t eat it.
My thing is if you never had issues with certain foods then you just go into insane restriction without cause, you’ll create a crap habit.
Make sure when you choose something, it’s what you want and need.
None of these work better than the other. #FactsNotFeelings
Your dieting preference is geared towards what you enjoy, what you can stick to, and what allows you to perform and feel great.
Don’t start a diet, do it for 2 weeks, stop, then wonder why it doesn’t work. Whatever you do/choose, you need to do for quite some time.
This is why I never recommend a particular diet and it is why I let you pick the food you love to eat then teach you to create a meal plan you can stick to that allows you to reach your goals while not hating life.
Doing something that you don’t want to do not only makes you miserable, it makes everyone else around you miserable.
You chose this dieting life, it didn’t choose you.
You need to choose something that still makes you a [relatively] pleasant human.
You should still be able to go out and enjoy time with friends and family.
You should be able to break away from the rigidity of dieting once in a while.
Sure, there are plenty of strategies you can do even while dieting that allows you to make your cake and eat it, too.
For instance, wanna go out with the girls? Do you only have 1300kcals for the day to eat?
An option is to have a calories-only day. Perhaps fast through the day so when you go to dinner, you can have your burger and fries without thinking about too much since that meal will probably be around 1500kcals (which is still ok for 1 night).
I only give that example to show you that you can diet and still have a life.
At the end of the day, this is all a choice.
If you’re going to make choices for your life especially on the dieting front, make sure the choices you make will make your life a bit easier and not a person no one wants to deal with.
When you are dieting, it does require sacrifice and there’s going to be times you have to say no and you’re going to have to wait until you get home to eat. Perhaps it does mean limiting your drinking. Sure, it does mean keeping the less nutritious food to a minimum.
That said, a successful dieter puts their short-term wants at bay for long-term gain, fat loss, and feeling more confident and happy with themselves. A successful dieter gives themselves grace and focuses on the actions that lead to the goal, not focusing on the goal the entire time. A successful dieter understands it takes time and that the “dream body” doesn’t occur in just a few weeks. A successful dieter doesn’t rely on supplements and unwarranted dietary restrictions. A successful dieter accepts where they are now, even if they aren’t happy with it, so they can take the right steps to change their situation for the better.
Being a successful dieter is pretty easy.
I say that truly and whole-heartedly.
What it does require, like anything else in life, is a “can do” attitude.
Repeatedly telling yourself you cannot do it is already setting yourself for failure.
Like I say over and over again, keep it simple.
Set up your home for success. Eat the foods you want. Get your protein in. Don’t overeat your calories. Stick to something and stop changing it all the time.
Enjoy your process.
If you have been trying to do this simply and consistently and having no luck, I want to hear from you. With the summer coming up and knowing this is the “time to get to work”, I want you to learn how to do this the right way.
I’m taking several clients for both training & nutrition coaching as well as nutrition-only coaching (yes, Crossfitters and people who love classes, this is what you need).