Working with both online and face-to-face clients, I’ve learned a painful lesson:
Most people can’t follow a diet plan.
Let me clarify that statement.
It’s not that they are physically unable to do so. And it’s definitely not because they’re ignorant, lazy or have broken metabolism.
I have the honor of working with some of the smartest, wittiest, funniest, most inspiring people I’ve ever met. Many of whom actually spout off great dietary wisdom to me. It’s amazing the things that I hear my clients say and I think “Wow, if you just followed your own advice you would have already reached your goal!”
And the problem is two-fold:
ONE) We don’t listen to the words we say regarding what we know about nutrition.
TWO) We don’t stay focused enough to see the plan through.
Part Two is actually more of a problem than Part One.
Recently, I was speaking with an online client (let’s call him Joe) and we outlined a plan for him to follow. We agreed that embarking on this plan would be easy to implement, practical for his lifestyle and required little overwhelming change in his life.
Joe was thrilled.
Over the next couple of days, I got feedback from him like “This is really working!”, “I’m already down “X” pounds!” “Thank you so much for supporting me with this change!”
And then, this “I was online reading about certain superfoods and I think I need to start eating those too. What do you think?”
*Cue the palm to the forehead*
Call it boredom, call it “I need something more exciting in my life”, call it “I’ve just been wooed by Diet Guru Fra-La-La about the toxins and the blah and the blah and the blah.”
I call it “You just lost your focus.”
Dieting, in and of itself, is a simple (not easy) process. Eat below your body’s required maintenance, sustain that level consistently over time and you WILL LOSE WEIGHT.
However, that funny piece of matter in between our ears likes distractions. I mean, just by reading this article, you’ve been distracted from something else, right? Either that, or you just like me. Thanks! I like you too. (Wait, weren’t we just talking about focus?)
The nastiest problem I see rear it’s head time and time again is hopping from one plan to another EVEN WHEN the one you’ve been on is working OR when you haven’t locked the consistency part down long enough to elicit the results you wanted.
Here’s some really valuable totally free advice: You Have To Be Consistent AND You Have To Follow The Plan.
It doesn’t matter WHAT the plan is. Walk into any bookstore, walk up to any magazine stand, peruse all the diet bestsellers on Amazon, pick ANY diet system and FOLLOW IT. You will succeed. They are all built on the same premise of calorie restriction even if they tell you it’s not about calories. It’s ALWAYS about calories because no diet author in their right mind will deny laws of physics. They might deny Santa Claus though (bastards!)
The variances between diet programs will be in how the authors care to approach the calorie conversation. Weight Watchers uses a point system because counting 25 points is WAY easier than 1300 calories.
Diets based on food elimination work because they assume by removing these massive areas of potential overabundance, you’ll automatically be forced under your required maintenance and then…wait for it…the magic happens!! *pat on the back, high five*
Years ago, I was in a forum where a member asked the author of a diet program “Hey, I’ve read your diet book and I was wondering if it would be okay to switch this part with that part and do this instead of this?” To which the author replied “If you do that, you are NO LONGER FOLLOWING THE DIET.”
Harsh words perhaps, but the reality is what it is.
Social media, print media and any other source of influence in your life is going to shine a beautiful shiny penny in your face at any possible moment. You can be swayed and disappear down a Google vortex hoping that you will stumble across the weight loss solution that has eluded everyone else. But that third world supplement allegedly used for centuries that has been reduced to a powdered form and has been touting every possible benefit from curing cancer to allowing you to never feel hungry again is probably a joke. And you’ll pay for that joke. (Don’t feel bad, I’ve wasted money on supplements too, I’m not immune.)
What I can say is this: You know what works and chances are, if you’ve followed a diet for any reasonable amount of time, you’ve seen what works. If you are still hopping from one new idea to the next, there is a good chance that your results are less than what you’d like them to be.
A more realistic approach would be to give yourself 30, 60, even 90 days to go all-in on ONE program. I’m less concerned with which program that might be and more concerned that you just stay the course and follow the guidelines.
Because the moment you hop onto the next thing without full commitment to the initial path, you’re probably not going to like the outcome.
So, realign your compass, focus on the plan, put the work in.
Below is a picture of our Anthony, who’s down 15lbs in one month from making a few small changes to his diet and (so far) not having to count calories. I’d say he’s focused.
“We Make Great People Greater”