Why your New Year diet is already doomed

A survey found that 48% of 2018 resolutions are to lose weight... but we see so many of these resolutions fail before the end of the month. I personally love goal setting and writing down my short and long term goals, but haven't got an 'resolutions' in particular. Maybe this is just because of their poor track record! Let's explore why your New Year diet might not work out.
1) You don’t want it enough
In the New Year, it seems like everyone vows to start dieting. Before jumping on the bandwagon, ask yourself if you truly want to diet for you, or you are just jumping on the bandwagon. Starting a diet with your head not truly in it will never end well.
If you are reading this and it sounds familiar, you can still set other goals that don’t involve weight loss! For example, aiming to hit a certain weight on squats by the end of the year or eat some sort of vegetable with every hot meal. Set a goal that will make you feel good about yourself, whatever it is.
2) You’re trying to go from 0 to 100
I see lots of people do this. If you’re completely new to dieting, don’t assume that you’re going to be able to go from being sedentary and having takeaway 3 nights a week to having the perfect diet and going to the gym 5 days out of 7 overnight. Week 1 of your ‘diet’ might just be cutting out alcohol and eating out and going for a walk in an evening. For a more experienced and trained individual, it may be possible to go straight in with something more extreme and strict.
Go at your own pace. Small changes to your habits and routine are what create a sustainable lifestyle change.
3) Lack of future planning
So… you stuck to your 8 week diet. You look and feel great. Now what? Celebrate with pizza and all of the other foods you’ve been craving?
A well planned diet deserves a just as well planned transition into a maintenance or gaining phase, for your metabolic health as well as for how you’re going to feel in yourself after gaining all of the weight back in a matter of days. Depending on the severity and length of the diet, you may want to have a reverse diet protocol in place. This is a period of gradually increasing calories and cutting cardio to control rate of weight regain among other things.
4) Poor advice
Maybe you’ve been told that the only way to lose weight is keto or vegan or intermittent fasting. In reality, the best diet is the one which you find easiest to maintain a calorie deficit on. Ensure that you are getting the correct micronutrients… and other than that, if your ideal diet means having a poptart and chocolate every day, go for it!
This can take years of experimenting, but just know that it is completely ok if you form your own diet based on what you like and makes you feel good, without having to put a label on it.
5) Giving up at the first hurdle
You’re only human and can’t be expected to be perfect 365 days a week. Perhaps you went on an all-inclusive holiday and ate everything in sight, or were ill and didn’t make it to the gym for a couple of weeks. Accept it for what it is, no guilt or upset, and get right back to your usual routine. A couple of weeks off won’t destroy your progress… but giving up for good definitely will!

About the Author

Savannah Westerby, BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition. IG:@savannahwesterby
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