Most people will attempt to diet at some point in their life. The reasons behind this could be aesthetic, health-related, performance based, or a variety of other reasons. What we eat is a huge determinant of how we look, feel, act, think, and function as humans, so it only makes sense that changing what and how we eat can create such big changes in our bodies. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to talk about how food plans relate to physique changes, and more specifically fat loss.
Food plans are floating around EVERYWHERE. Any health magazine will tote the latest trend in what you should/shouldn’t eat. There are dieting ads all over the internet and on TV. Basically at every corner you turn, you’re likely to see some type of food/diet related advice.
The problem with most of these food plans? THEY FAIL.
In fact, most people who lose weight effectively with a food plan end up gaining the weight back and many times they end up gaining more weight than what they started. It can be incredibly deflating to someone who worked so hard to see results, and even worse, they typically end up blaming themselves for being a “failure”. Sound familiar?
Here’s why most food plans FAIL:
- They require you to cut out major food groups. We’ve talked about this a few times in some of our Facebook Live videos, but juice cleanses and detoxes are among some of the most popular food plans being marketed to people every day. They make raving claims about weight loss, “detoxifying” your body, and “rejuvenating” your skin. While you may see some of those effects while doing such cleanses, this will also force you to miss out on many vital nutrients that your body needs to function. Juice cleanses are mostly devoid of proteins and fats, and are very carb heavy. Many will argue that they’re the “good” carbohydrates since you’re getting them from fruits and vegetables, but regardless, it is a high carb, low calorie diet. Being in a caloric deficit will likely make you lose weight, but you’ll never be able to sustain this since your body needs more than just fruits and vegetables. You’ll most likely lose some water weight and muscle, only to gain it back within a few weeks. NOT SUSTAINABLE.
- They require you to eat too little. This is very common. Magazines will put a food plan in a magazine that gives you a variety of foods, but has you eating 1200 calories per day. First off, everybody is different. The amount of calories an individual needs is going to vary based on the rate of their metabolism, their activity level, dieting history, height, weight, and more. Once again, a very low calorie diet may work in the beginning, but over time your metabolism will actually slow down since your body will assume it is being starved (which, IT IS). Low calorie diets often lead to binge eating and other disordered eating habits since your body begins to crave the food it needs. NOT SUSTAINABLE.
- They’re boring. Chicken and broccoli. Fish and green beans. Egg whites and oatmeal. There are many food plans out there that require you to eat the same foods day in and day out. These are typically considered “clean” foods with little to no flexibility in what you’re eating. You can only do this for so long before the foods start to get not only boring, but almost gag-inducing. Eventually, you’ll start craving anything and everything outside of these foods and you’ll be sure to blow your diet and undo the hard work you put in. NOT SUSTAINABLE.
- They don’t allow you to enjoy social events. Life is about the fun you have, the memories you make, and the people you spend your time with. One of the greatest ways that we spend time with others and have fun is surrounded by meals. Sure, you don’t HAVE to eat to enjoy time with others, but realistically nobody wants to be the only person at the barbecue who’s either eating chicken and broccoli (see above) out of a tupperware or lying to their friends and saying they’re “not hungry” just so they don’t have to answer 25 questions about their new food plan. NOT SUSTAINABLE.
- They have an expiration date. Sometimes you’ll make the commitment to eat a certain way for 30 days, 6 weeks, 12 weeks or what have you. Maybe the food plan is decent, but what happens after that time period? Do you go back to eating the way you were before? NOT SUSTAINABLE.
The common denominator between all of these reasons is that they are NOT SUSTAINABLE. A food plan is only as good as the consistency that goes with it and so for a food plan to be effective, it MUST be sustainable in the long run. Yes, dieting for fat loss will require that you give up some of your favorite foods at times (but not always), it WILL require that you are hungry at times (but not always), it WILL require that you skip out on social events occasionally (but not always), however it will yield long-term results that you can continue to build upon throughout your life.
This is EXACTLY what we teach in our Fit in 42 program. While the program may only last 42 days (and you’ll be sure to see CRAZY awesome results in that time), the principles are meant to last you far beyond those 42 days. We teach you how to exercise safely, how to eat for a physique change in a sustainable way (that you actually ENJOY), and you get to do it all with other people who have similar goals as you, under the watchful eyes of some amazing coaches.
Our next program begins April 3rd. Stop with the crash diets, and let’s make a plan for life.