It would be easy to blame social media for this problem.
Like you, I find myself constantly bombarded by online personalities and marketing messages trying their best to convince me of the healthiest way to eat, the most effective fat-burning exercises and the superfood recipes that I haven’t tried which would solve all of my inflammatory internal responses that are keeping me from looking and feeling my best (*yawn*.)
But I know, as do you, that these messages existed long before social media. They were prevalent on the covers of magazines in the checkout aisle of every grocery store and people like Oprah Winfrey were the loudest cheerleaders of the “next best thing.”
And I get it.
Also like you, I have my own inherent beliefs that give me that “shiny penny syndrome.” That maybe, what I’m currently doing isn’t the best but that whatever Oprah (back then) or Facebook (in the present) offer would be exponentially better.
And the problem, is that it makes it really difficult to commit to a plan.
The people selling us these messages know that too, which is why everything promises to work fast.
So, when you think of Whole30 diets, 17-day diets, 7-day detoxes, etc. it’s all custom made for our short attention spans and relentless desires for lightning fast, instantly gratifying results.
I don’t have to tell you about their effectiveness. You already know. You’ve probably already tried them, and re-tried them, and suffered the diminishing returns of each.
And that leads into the other problem: it causes commitment issues.
That shiny penny syndrome is keeping you from staying the path for a prolonged amount of time. 14 days into your Whole 30 plan, you’re now derailed because of those exogenous ketones your Facebook friend is selling you. 6 days into your 17-day diet, you saw the messages that meat causes cancer so you need to go vegan or maybe you saw that vegetables have been over-hyped and you’re tempted to go the all-meat diet.
What I won’t do is directly slam any of those options. Options are good. Options help us find what fits FOR US.
What I will do is tell you to find a plan to stick to. It matters less that you can do it for the rest of your life. I have yet to meet a person who spent the entirety of their journey committed to Weight Watchers. At best, they started WW, followed the plan for a series of months, hit the inherent ceiling and had to recalibrate to try something else. That is okay.
What is less okay is starting Weight Watchers, trying it for two weeks, then going paleo and trying it for six days then trying keto and lasting three weeks only to look back and say “Woah, in a month and a half, I’ve bounced through three different diets and have lost and regained the same four pounds. Maybe my metabolism is damaged…”
At this point, your metabolism is the least of your concerns. It’s your commitment to the process.
I believe you need to commit to an eating plan for 2-3 months to really determine what can work. Divorce yourself from the idea that what should reasonably work can be done in 30 days or less. Sure, you can drop a few pounds in the 30 days or less (I’ve seen people drop 30lbs in that many days.) That does not mean it’s done safely, sustainably or in a way that doesn’t cause an immediate and drastic rebound.
I should also add that it’s not fair for me to just call out random diets and point a finger. Consistency has to be given to total caloric intake as well. Eating well throughout the week only to go on a food bender Saturday and Sunday is just a harmful to the process as diet hopping is.
So, let me pop the bubble now: There is no perfect diet but all diets work for certain people some of the time.
I’m reminded of my conversation with Mac Nutrition’s Martin MacDonald on my Revolutionary You podcast. Paraphrasing part of that episode, Martin reminded listeners that once you determine the estimate of your daily caloric needs, depending on your goals, you can dial in your ratios of protein/carbs/fat and at that point you have complete autonomy over your destiny. You can listen to the episode in entirety here.
And isn’t that a great thought to be reminded of?
WE have control over those results.
Of course, I’d be kidding myself if I believe that everyone needs to count calories to succeed. They don’t and many of our clients see great things happen without counting calories.
But I’ll give you a rundown of what it will take to overcome your commitment issues with your diet journey and start seeing lasting results:
1.) Get painfully candid with yourself about your food intake. Be aware of every bite that crosses your lips that has a calorie attached to it.
2.) Set a pattern of consistency with the way you eat so you can see your trends and areas of opportunity to modify. While not every day will go off without a hitch, you can string together more days if you have a system for tracking the days you were on or not.
3.) Realize that your path will have potholes and detours. Plan for them, expect them and have a workaround for when they occur (also know as “Plan B”, “In The Event Of Emergency” or “Things I Crave When It’s That Time Of The Month.”)
4.) Commit to a longer term than something which promises results in 30-days or less. No one fixed their marriage, their job or their outlook on life in less than 30 days. Your food plan will be no different.
5.) Try to have some fun along the way. Learn to experiment with different recipes, cuisines and cultures to develop a wider palette of tastes and foods.
And of course, if you’d like our help with any of these steps, you know where to find us.
“We Make Great People Greater”