December 2, 2011 Leave a comment
Recently a friend of mine decided they needed to go on a diet. This reminded me of a topic I wanted to cover/rant about at some stage and hence, this post.
Diets annoy me. Not because there’s anything intrinsically wrong with them, but because people seem to think about them the wrong way around.
The problem with diets is that people ‘go on’ them. That’s the phrase you hear most regularly; “I’m going on a diet”. The problem with this statement is that it instantly implies that at some point you will ‘go off’ said diet. And this is where the problem arises.
The mindset when people ‘go on’ a diet is that it will be a temporary thing; just long enough to lose weight or put on muscle or whatever the chosen diet claims it will achieve, and then at some point (hopefully not too far in the future) you will go off the specialised diet and return to regular eating. At this point the dieter puts on all the weight they lost, or loses the muscle they gained and they’re right back at square one.
And presumably, this is exactly what a company selling diets wants. You see when selling a diet plan the idea should be that once successful you’ll never see that client again. But this means you need to find new customers all the time and eventually (assuming your business was successful) you’d run yourself out of business. Make everyone fit and healthy and you’ve got no more customers.
What is the best kind of client? One that comes back of course!
And that’s exactly what these specialised diets are designed to do. You go on them for a brief period, only to return to it at a later date and play the whole game over again. It’s stupid.
Here’s the truth of the matter; a diet isn’t something you ‘go on’. It’s something you live, every single day of your life. As long as you’re eating, you have a diet. You already have a diet. I have a diet. Mine consists of far too much salty food and carbohydrates, but it’s still a diet damn it.
If you truly want to lose weight, gain muscle and get healthier you need to break the mindset of ‘going on’ a diet. That’s only going to bring you heartache when you inevitably come off it and start eating crap again. No, if you want to really make a difference to your health going on a diet isn’t the way to do things. The correct order of business is to change your diet. Change your lifestyle.
This is vastly more difficult and more importantly, scary. It’s not a temporary change that can be abandoned at a later date once the work is done. It’s a permanent commitment to yourself and one that should last you for the rest of your life (or at least until you find the next good thing to change).
This requires you to suck it up and say “I’m going to work out every second day/eat healthier/stop smoking/go to the gym/eat vegetables every day/eat fruit every day…for the rest of my life“.
And that’s the hard part. Making not just a month long commitment, but a lifelong commitment. Those kinds of commitments don’t come along often in life and they’re very hard to make. But if you’re serious about becoming a healthier person, it’s the only true way to go about it.
So please, don’t sign yourself up for something temporary and unattainable. It’s relatively easy to hit the gym for a month or two, but a fuckload harder to do it for the next 20 years. If you’re changing your diet make sure it’s something sustainable. That means it still needs to include foods you like, just likely in smaller proportions.
Likewise if you’re taking up a new fitness schedule it needs to be something you can bring yourself to do on a regular basis. That means it needs to be fun and enjoyable. If you’re sitting on the coach saying to yourself “man I don’t want to do this” then it’s not going to work. You will inevitably fail.
Whatever changes you intend to implement they need to be something you’re happy doing. You need to enjoy the food you’re eating and enjoy going out for that exercise. If not, then you need to try something different until you do enjoy it, because it’s only a matter of time before you repeat the cycle, and odds are you’ll feel all the more miserable for failing the first time round.
Change your lifestyle to something you love. It’s the only way to diet.
– Ignorance is not bliss. Stay inquisitive.