With the immense amount of information out there, it can sometimes become difficult to believe anything you read. Not only this, but you do not know which route to go due to every different zealot, diet "cult", and enthusiast promoting that their way is the only way that works. I understand marketing and promoting what gives results, but if everyone's way is the best way to go....who's actually right? This is where we end up in a bind and try to stick to only one way of thinking. The solution is not spending time trying to find which way of thinking is best when it comes to dieting. The solution is finding and implementing three of the most important concepts to dieting. These concepts include mentality, progression, and optimization. I will discuss this further below.
The biggest aspect to dieting that I find most people have the hardest time with is their mentality towards food. I do not know when we started revolving our life around food, but that is where we are at to this day. The reason why people make dieting harder than it really is is by having a need for instant gratification. Something I noticed with many people (and myself in the past) is that people tend to use food as a reward. A buffet after a big game, candy or ice cream as a treat, even cooking a meal for your partner a a sign of gratitude. There's nothing wrong with this....but used excessively produces bad habits (and a bad relationship with food). We mentally visualize tasty foods as a reward, versus it being.....food. We treat ourselves to food when we feel we "deserve it". Simply, we look forward to food. The problem is we look forward to food more than we look forward to the actions needing to be carried out during the day. Don't believe me? How many people do you know that started a full-time job (or are extremely busy) and started to lose a lot of weight? Probably quite a few. This is because these individuals are so focused on their job and the tasks needing to be done throughout the day. They could easily binge eat when they get off work or bring food to work, but work is on their mind (and sleep when they get home). I myself do the same thing and find myself forgetting to eat when I am at work or school. On the opposite side, how many people you know (or you yourself) look forward to a "cheat meal" at the end of the week as a form of reward? Quite a few I am sure, as food rewards have gained quite a bit of popularity among those new to dieting.
The problem is not that dieting requires an immense amount of motivation and intense mental training, but rather it requires us to focus on our life and quit letting food be something we work towards. Food should be fuel to move on and continue conquering our day, not something we literally revolve our world around.
I have heard it a million times. A new company comes out with the BEST WAY TO DIET and sells your diet plans that are not only restrictive, but also extremely low in calories. People see results short term, but there's more to the picture that no one talks about. Over time more comes into play such as hormonal damage, malnutrition, and most important....misery and quitting. We make dieting harder than it really is by forgetting what ALL DIETS revolve around. You use progression in your work outs and track your weight, repetitions, and sets....why would you not use progression in your diet? Every LONG TERM SUCCESSFUL diet has the same progression. You slowly taper calories week to week, while monitoring your weight. So, instead of making your diet restrictive, make your diet work for you.
You have all heard the phrase "our body is like a machine, it runs as good as the fuel you put in it", or something similar. This holds true in every aspect, day to day, and meal to meal. We tend to take more care of what we put into our cars than ourselves. We can even take this a step further and compare what your intake to brake fluid, gasoline, oil, etc. Everything has a purpose and the car cannot run efficiently if missing ANY of these. Your nutrient intake is the exact same way. Just like stated above, we become extremely restrictive in our diets in order to try and make dieting easier for ourselves. On the contrary, we just make it more difficult. The most common example out there are low-carbohydrate diets. Too many people follow these diets blindly, without ever really getting the concept. Believe it or not, but the people who run these diets successfully actually still get their nutrient intake from enough carbohydrates. The goal is to JUST GET ENOUGH carbohydrates to provide you with the nutrients you NEED. We still have people who are trying to consume almost ZERO grams of carbohydrates a day. This can be miserably in many different ways. Energy plummits, you start lacking in fiber intake (good luck with your digestive system), and you don't get the vitamins and minerals many GOOD sources of carbohydrates provide. I mean, when did we start becoming scared of consuming fruits and vegetables?! This should be a part of your every day diet. I am not saying ditch the low carbohydrate diet and consume all the fruits and vegetables that you can consume. Rather, I am stating that enough fruits and vegetables should be a part of your diet regardless of what kind of diet you are doing. We are doing our body an injustice by not giving it the vitamins and minerals it needs. How? With working less efficiently, your body has less energy to perform (perform in the gym) and can actually burn fat in a less efficient way (metabolism and fat oxidation). So, by lacking in nutrients your body needs, you are making your weight loss journey MUCH harder. You can make your weight loss journey easier by treating it like a machine needing fuel. Give the body what it needs, and it will work for you.....not against you.
Everyone tends to make dieting harder than it really is. We focus too make on food, stay blind to the progression needed, and forget the purpose of food. In order to make dieting easier for yourself you can change your perception of food, use the basic progression needed for weight loss, and use food to work for you (not against you). Dieting is easier than we make it out to be. It is just a matter of how you approach it.