It is a fact that a lot of diets are rarely successful. Why? The biggest factor is that most people do not stick with their diets for long enough or with enough commitment to see any positive results.
Most struggle with their own willpower when it comes to food. This is because they miss certain foods too much, they are often hungry, or just get bored. As a result, they just cave to the huge desire they have to be full and nourished.
Therefore, this article is here to identify a few key signs that your diet is not ideal and give you tips on how to correct it.
1. Consistency is the KEY
If there is one point to take from this article, then it is that remaining consistent throughout your diet is imperative for you to have any chance of seeing any results.
Most people when they want to lose fat are looking for fast results and consequently make drastic changes to do it. However, losing fat is hard-work and so it is not a process that is completed within a short two-week process. It is very challenging physically, mentally and emotionally and so it calls for your nutrition to be as easy and normal as possible.
Making new habits take around 21 days to make them seem like normal, but it is very common that people give up before the 21 day mark. Thus if you can make your nutritional changes robust to any slip-ups and can allow progressive changes in habits, then it will be a lot easier to get beyond that 21 day mark. From then on it will be much easier to remain consistent with your diet as you will have those new healthy habits ingrained in you.
Best habits to start with:
- Eat whole foods
- Plan meals in advance
- Pay attention to portion sizes
2. You’re Always Starving
It is very unlikely that you will come across someone who wants to remain hungry all the time. After a while it will start to get annoying and cravings for certain foods will start to creep in, thus making any diet much harder to remain consistent with.
At first it may feel like a sense of accomplishment when we resist the hunger for a couple of days, but then after a while we start to rationalize certain eating habits. Then we start to crave the foods we want and not necessarily need. These foods we want are often foods make us feel good and enjoy the most, which tend to be higher in sugar, fat and are often avoided when dieting.
Consequently, it is key that we avoid hunger whilst dieting and here are a few tips on how to:
- Higher protein foods, as they are naturally filling and will lead to us eating fewer calories.
- Avoids highly refined carbs as they stimulate pleasure and therefore further food intake of similar products.
- Drink enough water as dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger.
3. You’re Fighting The Cravings
When we get food cravings it is rarely for something like broccoli or spinach, but rather off-limits calorie laden treats. The trigger for these cravings of ten comes from when the stress hormone cortisol is at an elevated level.
Most of the time we want to keep our cortisol levels down as it can increase our appetite and calorie intake of sugar and fat laden junk food, whilst also shutting off our goal-oriented part of our brain. This can then mean we lose all thought of what we are trying to achieve and leaves us susceptible to nailing loads of junk food just to satisfy some cravings. After which, we then look back and feel disappointed with ourselves for sabotaging our own fat loss efforts.
Another reason for cravings may be that your diet is too restrictive. For example, if we are having no carbs or very little fat in our diet then that can trigger certain cravings. Why? Because these foods are the main sources that provide us with the building blocks for our bodies to produce hormones and brain transmitters that keep us satisfied.
A few tips to kick the cravings:
- Try glutamine, as this helps stop obsessive thoughts about food that we so desperately crave. It is very effective and is used to help with drug and alcohol addiction.
- Use cheat meals. Have a meal of your own choice once a week, as this will help out you in control and give you a bit of freedom to have foods that you enjoy the most.
4. You Don’t Enjoy The Food You Eat
We all know losing weight and body fat is no easy task, but it is by no stretch of the imagination meant to be a gut wrenching struggle of willpower, guilt and deprivation. To be successful you need to be comfortable with the food you are eating and enjoy it, otherwise there is no way you will be able to sustain such a lifestyle for very long.
Those that have done it and successfully kept it off have consequently become comfortable with eating vegetables and found ways to make it tasty and interesting for themselves. They have also been willing to try out new foods or new cooking methods to see what they like and how to maybe enjoy things they previously didn’t enjoy but know would be beneficial for them. Before you know it you will actually start enjoying the taste and experience of cooking and eating REAL food.
How to enjoy your food:
- Plan your meals to include protein, fat and vegetables.
- Avoid sugar, trans-fats and processed fats.
- Try a new protein or veggie source each week to get yourself used to new flavours.
5. You’re Justifying Your Intake Through Exercising
Resistance exercise is one of the most effective ways to lose body fat, as it triggers certain hormonal responses that help build muscle, increase metabolic rate and improve hormone balance. But it is hard to keep up a string work ethic when it comes to exercise if the enjoyment is lacking. When people do it for the sole purpose of losing fat, then they are susceptible to trying to justify certain food choices because they have done some exercise beforehand.
On the other hand, those who exercise for a bit of fun and enjoyment don’t tend to think about adjusting their diet or justifying any different food choices following exercise.
How do we solve this:
- Set Performance related goals. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and focus solely on fat loss. Try and see if you can improve your performance along the way also.
- Be aware of you nutritional habits and how your workouts influence it. Be honest with yourself, as we are very good at coming up with a rationale for behaviour that goes against the goals we are aiming for.
6. Not Taking Responsibility For Your Results
Any coach, personal trainer, doctor, friend or family member can guide and support you to develop the physique you are looking for, but you MUST be honest with yourself about your habits and behaviour.
When you take responsibility for what you eat and exercise levels throughout the day, then you make yourself accountable for the mistakes you make. How can you blame someone else for you eating something you probably shouldn’t have done? This puts all the blame on them for any action that you make and relieves you of any responsibility. How is that going to help you achieve your goals?
How to fix it?
- Plan and prepare your meals. This is critical in stopping you from making poor food choices when you are stuck without food.
- Keep a track of everything with a food diary. This will keep you honest when it comes to what you put in your mouth each day.
- Believe and commit to the process. The magic ingredient for making any diet work, is believing that it will. If you believe that the diet will work you will stick at it and make it work for you with minor adjustments along the way.