Everyone has heard of the seven deadly sins (Pride, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth, and Greed) or have at least seen the film Seven. But that got me thinking, what are the seven deadly sins of dieting?
Millions of us go on diets every year and yet obesity is on the rise, somewhere along the line dieting is failing. So here are my seven deadly sins of dieting that you are to avoid if you actually want to succeed next time you decide that you want to drop a dress size.
The term "Diet starts Monday" is so overused that it has become a cliché. Ask yourself how many times you've made the decision to start a diet, but not until next week. And that weekend you proceed to eat all the food. "Better eat up all the bad food so that I can start fresh Monday" you tell yourself between bites, and you know what in itself having a starting date is a good idea.
Sticking to that starting date is an even better idea! And as is often the case, something occurs on Monday that pushes the diet to the back of your mind. Work gets busy, one of the kids has escaped through the garden fence, the dog needs help with its homework. You get the idea!
There will always be an excuse not to diet, always. Stop avoiding this diet and get started today. It's not difficult, just decide that you will eat one less chocolate bar or skip dessert.
So you've decided to lose weight, and you're going to hit it HARD! No bread, no pasta, no alcohol, you will be eating 12 different vegetables every day, and starting a brand new training program in the gym. You've spent $400 on supplements and bought yourself some new running shoes. You're now overwhelmed and sitting in a corner surrounded by products you will probably never get round to using. In short you have over reached, and this approach is guaranteed to fail.
Okay so maybe 1% of the population will succeed long-term following this approach, but that is the demographic that would succeed with any approach! The rest of us need to take it slow, instead of turning your life upside down why not try making one or two small changes?
Add extra vegetables to every dinner for a week, then make it two weeks in a row. Take a protein shake once per day. Only have dessert twice a week instead of three times. Making these changes are nice and simple and your brain likes completing small tasks much more than it likes failing big ones.
Some trainers will tell you that it doesn't matter what you weigh, or that you shouldn't count calories. But let me ask you something "If you aren't tracking your calories, and you don't know how much you weigh how will you know if your diet is even working?". Weight loss is a very simple process. Be in a calorific deficit = lose weight. You need to know your starting weight, how many calories are in your diet, and what calories you need to consume to lose weight safely.
What if I told you that you could lose weight without banning a single item of food from your diet? It is entirely possible, what's more it is the sensible and effective approach. As mentioned in the previous point, being in a calorific deficit is the most important factor, next is getting enough protein, and from a health point of view getting micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals etc) is also important.
Other than that, eating whatever you want so long as you hit those targets! Your body won't care, so neither should you.
Using a racing analogy this would be the equivalent of starting a race without any idea of when it finished, do you sprint 100m for the fastest time? Or is this race a marathon? There needs to be some sort of plan or end goal here, otherwise you will not be able to say whether it was successful or not. Choose an outcome, and set a difficult but realistic timeframe. 1lb (0.5kg) per week is a good fat-loss goal so work out how many weeks it will take to reach your ideal weight.
Stop trusting your friends' advice on fat loss (unless your friend is a fitness professional). They have no idea what they are talking about. Most personal trainers have no idea what they are talking about! Question everything, do your own research. Pick a couple of industry experts, and find out what they are saying. Don't even trust my advice blindly, research anything that you disagree with.
This was touched upon earlier in the article, when we talked about giving up early, and overwhelming yourself. Long term weight management is a never-ending goal, weight loss can take months to achieve. You need to be planning for the future, not just for 6 weeks away. Don't give up if results aren't instantaneous, I have never seen a client who transformed their physique in one month. But I have seen clients transform their physique in 3 months, and stay in the same shape for the following 12 months.
Instant results are a bad idea, consistent results over a lifetime are always going to be the answer.