Looking for “the best diet” for 2014?
I know exactly what it is.
It’s the thing you can do effortlessly, maintain your weight and feel amazing.
The caveat? It takes trying things a new way. And it means giving up all your previously-held notions about weight loss.
Why? Because learning how to eat for our unique metabolism, personal preferences and psychological sensitivities is the only way that we can ever hope to lose fat and keep it off.
But this is a process.
And that process takes time, introspection, listening to your own body and its responses to food and exercise and playing the part of the Body Change Detective.
All of that is really, really hard.
And when faced with that challenge, and knowing that it could take literally years to figure it out fully, it will make anyone want to crawl headfirst into a package of Oreos and give up all hope.
I get that, totally, and I don’t blame you.
But! But, let’s look at the alternative options:
- Jumping on board with the latest dieting trend, hoping that THIS ONE will finally be “the one”
- Looking out into the industry and seeing a fitness model or competitor we admire, and asking them to write us a 12- week meal plan and then hoping to hell we can be compliant
- Reading the newest book about a special cleanse, detox or elimination diet, vowing to follow it to the letter and get the results we’ve always wanted, and assume, against all odds, that those results will last forever
- Following the same quirky diet that your neighbor or family member did and lost 50 pounds (Hello, Grapefruit Diet! G-Free! Cookie Diet! Starbucks Diet! Chew this coconut oil for 30 minutes a day! Drink a liter of apple cider vinegar daily!)
- Or—my personal favorite—sign up for a fitness competition because what better motivator to get you in shape than the sheer terror of embarrassment on stage :)
THESE are the other options.
These are the short-term solutions that we keep trying to convince ourselves will work, when in the end, we end up miserable, rebound like crazy, fatter than when we started and now our metabolism is also less responsive for future endeavors.
I yo-yo dieted for years, and that’s exactly how I felt. Every time I gained the weight back (because I always did when opting for short-term Magic Meal Plans) I felt that much more discouraged, disappointed and defeated.
Until I started to think about my nutrition as an education into myself.
This was a mental switch. I stopped thinking that if I could just “get the right coach” or “afford to hire the best expert” or “stick to this frigging meal plan for once in my life!” that I would miraculously get lean.
There are a few major differences between people who stay struggling and those who master the Fat Loss Lifestyle:
Crash Dieter: Thinks results lie “out there” and getting those results is just a matter of a) finding that one special Magic Meal Plan put together by that one special guru, and b) being strong enough to just FRIGGING DO IT. They think that fat loss has to do with simply being strong-willed enough to just be compliant. And when they are inevitably not compliant, they reinforce the feedback that they suck, are weak or undisciplined. They often use negative self-talk and compare their inability to “just do it” to that of others, not understanding that whenever someone besides you creates a plan FOR YOU, you’ll never be able to do it fully, because it’s not 100% what will work with your unique metabolism personal preferences and psychological sensitivities.
Fat Loss Lifestyler: Understands that no one (including “the best” coaches) can ever know your bodies better than you can. The solution is not out there somewhere hiding. It’s found through looking inward, evaluating how food and exercising specific ways affects your body. Do you get more or less hungry? Do you have more or fewer cravings? Is your energy balanced during the day or do you crash? Does what you eat and how we exercise get us results? Fat Loss Lifestylers take 100% responsibility for everything—actions, attitude, results and outcomes. They know that if they want a forever-solution, it’s on them.
Crash Dieter: Sees a point at which they can stop doing the diet. There’s an end point or a goal in sight—like a race, or fitness competition, or photo shoot or vacation. Because they see eating this way, they hunker down and white-knuckle their way through a super-strict plan, only to completely drain willpower and deprive to the point that the only eventual solution becomes binging. This is the beginning of the deprive-then-binge cycle.
Fat Loss Lifestyler: Realizes that the “best” diet will be the one that never ends. They are constantly asking themselves, “Could I see myself still eating like this next year? In 10 years? Forever?” Their first criteria is sustainability, because they know once they have something that balances hunger, energy and cravings, they can always adjust slowly to get the results they seek. Which brings me to the next difference…
Crash Dieter: Attaches a deadline by which they must see results or else they chalk up the program to being “another failure” and start searching for the next one they’ll try. Crash dieters are often searching for programs rather than putting in the time to actually work them. They give it a go 100%, then exhaust every bit of willpower trying to maintain total compliance, only to inevitably fall off the wagon. They say things like, “I need to lose 20 lbs by April,” or “I’ll lose 60 lbs this year!” or “2014 will be MY year!” And I hope it is :) But my question then becomes, what do you do when you don’t lose that 20 by April? Or come next New Years, you’re only down 10? Crash dieters throw in the towel way, waaaaaaaaay to early in the fat loss game.
Fat Loss Lifestyler: They’re in it for the long haul. They have zero expectations of when things will happen and they understand that in the fat loss game, there are no guaranteed outcomes. In fact, they don’t focus on outcomes at all; they instead focus on ACTIONS. Because they understand that daily actions taken over time leads to desired outcomes. They see fat loss as a spectrum. The more smart choices they make, the more they move up the spectrum toward fat loss. The more poor choices they make, the more they move down the spectrum toward fat gain. Thus, it’s about actions, not outcomes. Fat Loss Lifestylers realize that they are never “on” or “off” a program. They are just “onf.” They know that every meal is another chance to get right back into fat-burning mode and they jump right back in immediately.
Only unsuccessful people wait until Monday.
Bottom line, people who are living a healthy lifestyle realize that the best “diet” for them is the one they can do forever, that they created as a result of time, practice, introspection and understanding their own bodies, and they don’t give up when the going gets tough.
Fat Loss Lifestylers weather the ups and downs of the process. They surf the urges. They build resiliency.
Fat Loss Lifestylers understand that fat loss is not linear nor predicatble, and they don’t beat themselves up when they mess up here and there. They stay 90% clean 100% of the time and never expect perfection.
How do you transition from a crash dieter to a Fat Loss Lifestyler? You start with an education. In you. You start looking inward with the guidance (not crutch!) of a knowledgeable coach or program. You start learning about your own tendencies, preferences, metabolism. You take the time to really dig in. Own the process, not blindly follow some random protocol.
Because we know what the alternatives are (review the list of them above). And if you still think those will work, then be my guest.