This is easily one of the most common problems Evo members come to me with. So I’m going to break it down to you where you’re probably going wrong and answer the question: Why do so many people struggle to maintain a healthy diet?
You try too much too fast!
Often when people decide to turn over a new leaf and decide they are going to take more care with their diet, they seem to want to make up for the poor diet they have been keeping as quickly as possible. They will dramatically drop how much they are eating, deprive themselves of any treats whatsoever, eat only foods they would consider to be ‘healthy’ but ‘boring’ and generally feel very negative about the whole experience. This is the same as any ‘fad’ diets out there also. There is only one way this is likely to end and that’s in failure. Whenever you start with any lifestyle changes you need to ask yourself one question, Can I maintain this? If the answer is no then don’t do it. Yes with this approach if you manage to keep it up for a couple of weeks I’m sure you will get some rapid weight loss due to dropping calories but I promise you as soon as you make your first error and eat something not in the plan its all downhill from there. You will put it all on as quickly as you lost it.
Take a look at the image above. Imagine each blue block represents a week.You are much better taking small steps and building graduall. On week one you could try and focus on drinking more water eg. 2 litres a day, then week two you could combine the water goal along with trying to cut down your treats. Once you successfully accomplish each goal you can keep building this way gradually until you are following a balanced and sustainable diet. You will find it a lot more manageable and less overwelming. At the end of the day these changes being made need be long term, you want each goal to become a habit. A combination of a lot of healthy habits are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. It will also keep you in a much more positive mindset which is key when you are making changes to your lifestyle.
You don’t have the tools at your disposal
How can you expect to live a healthy lifestyle when your cupboards are filled with the junk you are trying to avoid? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Before you make any dietary changes make sure get rid of any junk, stop buying it and fill your cupboards with the right foods and ingredients.
This was my lunch this afternoon, its a Mediterranean style salad including salmon, brown rice, feta cheese and salad. Do you have these kind of ingredients at your disposal? People often ruin their diets when they feel like the ‘healthy option’ wasn’t available. You may have gone to work with nothing for lunch so you’ve had to nip to Tesco and grab a sandwich or you didn’t have the ingredients in to make the right thing so you had a ready meal instead. Know what ingredients you should have in your cupboards and know what meals can be made from them. The same goes for when you are eating away from home, at work for example. Prepare your lunch and take it with you. Don’t let poor preparation be your reason for failure. Good choices can be made when eating out too, supermarkets and restaurants have really upped their game in this area in recent years, but the best option is to prepare yourself.
When you eat badly, you eat really badly!
This is a mistake a lot of people will make, especially people who do extreme diets that allows them no treats at all. They will be doing really well eating all the right things until you decide to allow yourself a treat, lets say for example it’s a cookie. You think you deserve it as you’ve been doing so well (which is probably the case), but you have the cookie and because you’ve deprived yourself of all treats it tastes amazing and you have two, then before you know it you’ve had the whole packet, a share bag of doritos and a slice of cheesecake because you think you’ve already ruined your diet you may as well start afresh from tomorrow. You will then wake up the next day and feel guilty but justify it by saying its one bad evening out of the week, one out of seven is pretty good. You’re Wrong. What you don’t think about is you’ve just had weeks worth of junk in one evening, having two cookies or ten cookies isn’t the same, all binges aren’t made equal. If you spread that over all seven evenings you would think that was pretty bad. How do you avoid this? Plan your treats so when you do have something like a cookie, its all part of the plan and you don’t panic. Monitor what you are eating and how many and draw a line under it so it doesn’t get out of control.
These are just a few of the things I have observed along the way.
By Josh Aghdam