I often hear people say they’re starting their diet again.
Years of dieting on and off has us thinking we know how to lose those 10-15 (or more) pounds every so often.
I’m genuinely excited to hear when someone is ready for change, because they deserve to be happy with their bodies. I’m also sad because they’re not seeing the big picture.
There’s something I’d like to say to them… but I can’t.
Stories from Friends, Lessons for Everyone
I’m going to be blunt for a moment. I’ve lost count of the number of my friends who’ve said:
“I’m on this diet. I lost X pounds last time I did it. I’m doing it again so I can lose weight.”
Translation: I gained it all back again after I lost the weight.
This is called yo-yo dieting. It’s exhausting, unhealthy, and ultimately doesn’t work.
I almost didn’t want to write this article because I have so many friends and family members who might think this is personally aimed at them.
That’s the problem.
It’s such a common scenario, almost everyone has dealt with it. Yet we don’t realize it shouldn’t be this way.
And we blame ourselves instead of thinking there might be another solution.
So when someone says they’re starting their diet again, I become full of mixed emotions.
I usually celebrate their excitement and decision with them. “Yay for you! You can totally do this and you’re so capable of whatever you set your mind to!” But I also have a hard time not telling them what I see.
What I want to say is this:
“If it doesn’t work for you all the time, it doesn’t work for you.”
Something to Think About
Before you start a diet (again), there are 3 questions you should ask yourself.
1. Can You Do It?
Whatever “your” diet is, are you capable of giving up what it’s asking forever, or is this temporary?
Whether it’s cream in your coffee, pizza night once a week, or eating out with friends and family — how much is this diet asking you to change your lifestyle and not just what you eat?
My online coaching clients learn how to build a diet that can become like second nature. When you’re done losing weight, you still know what and how to eat because your lifestyle hasn’t changed drastically.
Instead of a one size fits all plan, you become more aware of how to make better choices for your body.
2. For How Long?
If your diet is temporary, how long, realistically, will you stick with it?
2 weeks? 3 months? How long can you go without eating out, or putting creamer in your coffee, or having pizza night?
Even if it’s not super restrictive, you can only be in a calorie deficit so long before you plateau. How long can you stay with your diet even if the weight loss slows down?
My plans teach habits that are manageable for the rest of your life. Where most diets usually have strict rules about what you can and can’t do, my plans are adaptable to the natural ebb and flow of the seasons.
3. What Happens When You’re Done?
If you can’t tell by now, I prefer a plan that doesn’t have to end (check out my free ebook “Forever Fat Loss”). But if you’re trying something else, something more temporary, what comes next after you’re done?
If your diet hasn’t taught you anything about how to eat outside of that diet, you have nothing to carry over when it ends.
Will you be able to find some sort of balance between the diet and real life? Or will you go back to your old habits only to gain weight again? (Unfortunately, this seems to be the most common conclusion.)
Why I Don’t Say It
Before you think I’m just negating all your hard work – hold on.
I’m not trashing your diet.
Let’s acknowledge that you did lose that weight! Let’s also not forget the fact that you took action. You learned the diet, knew the rules and played by them.
That is to be celebrated and not overlooked!
Also, please don’t think your time is wasted — these diets can be used as a catalyst for a healthier lifestyle.
If starting with something more drastic is motivating for you, that’s fine.
What I want for you is to not have to fight so hard every time you’re unhappy with yourself. I’m all about being happy with your body. But I also want you to find a balance that suits you.
You don’t deserve to suffer through the frustrations of losing weight, only to gain it back again on a diet that is all or nothing. There is a middle ground.
And if you’re ready, you can get in touch with me here about working on that now.