Are you too rigid with your diet ?

Most of the people I have worked with have an immense willpower and motivation to reach their goals, as soon as possible if it were up to them. Being motivated and disciplined can help you in the beginning but pushing it too far can do you more harm than good. 

There are people that go in the all or nothing mentality when they trying to loose weight, and they do so by:

  1. Exercising constantly although their performance is getting worse
  2. Cutting calories
  3. Eating low fat, low carb foods
  4. Eating low calories foods
  5. Avoiding any “bad, high caloric foods”
  6. Putting up with suffering, no socializing, being hungry, moody 

The idea behind it is: get this weight off as soon as possible and then…then they think they will be able to relax and enjoy life. 

However these are signs of a rigid dieter. A rigid dieter is a person who wants to loose weight in a way that is harming them, going against their preferences and lifestyle. They go to an extent even if it hurts them physically and mentally. Rigid dieters are way too focused on what and how much they eat. They avoid any food that doesn’t fit on their “approved list” and claim other foods and “bad, unclean”. They feel bad if they had any of the foods from the “forbidden list” and often times feel like a failure. They are also obsessed with numbers: macros, calories and pay attention to every single bite and whether it fits their macros and calorie intake for the day. 

There is an ending to this type of eating and it usually happens in one of the following ways:

  1. Not being able to keep up

Many reach a breaking point because physically and mentally they can’t keep up with this strict regiment. It is hard to eat the same foods, measure and be obsessed to the point of insanity with every single bite. This type of lifestyle prevents your form socializing and very often you hit a plateau because you went too far with your dieting. At one point (usually after 8 to 10 weeks of hard core dieting) your metabolism will shut down (you won’t be able to perform at the gym, no fat loss no muscle gain, your metabolism is just in protection mode at this point). If your diet is too hard to maintain, it won’t work. Losing weight and maintaining weight is a slow process and in order for you to create new healthy habits, you need to give it time for your body to adjust. Some days you will eat more, some days less, some days you will have a treat, some days you won’t. You are supposed to imitate real life when you are on a diet and see what works best for you.

If you are starving yourself, it won’t work. You won’t be able to keep up. If you make sustainable lifestyle changes one at a time, it will work in the long run and you will loose weight, just not over night.

2.   Not being able to maintain

This is even worse than the first one. In this case, you made it! You suffered and you reached your goal. And now what? After couple of weeks, your diet starts to be less and less strict. You are tired of being so “perfect” and the joy you once had from being lean doesn’t give you joy anymore because it comes with a cost: no satisfaction, no socializing, obsessive behavior around food. 

It usually starts with incorporating some of the “bad” foods but because you have been depriving yourself for too long, you enter in a food frenzy and start eating everything in site. Your body was sending you signals for weeks but you avoided them so now it’s payback time. In general with such restrictive diets, people gain back all the fat loss in less than a month!

Most people are tired of avoiding others, they get tired of being isolated and trying to convince themselves that they can put up with this lifestyle for the long haul. In the beginning there is a sense of pride that you have made it. People around you will compliment you but you know deep down that you are miserable. Once you reach a breaking point, there is usually loss in self-control around food and  very big chance that you will eat even worse foods than before. 

If you are trying to loose weight think of it as a long-term project. Changing habits that you will be able to keep up with, learn what feels best for you and your body as well as your mind not a quick fix which is usually doing you more harm than good.