Eat What You Want and Lose!
Eat What You Want and Lose!
Explaining why dieting has such a low success rate is a difficult task I undergo just about every day. If you were a mechanic, imagine would-be customers skeptically inquiring, “I understand that replacing transmissions are only successful 5% of the time, why should I let you work on my car?” Let’s face it; most of us have dieted and gained weight back and the more diets we try, the more cynical we get. Why is it so hard to keep weight off? Of all the reasons we could talk about, I believe there are two that encompass all others. The first is simply having the right plan. A cookie-cutter approach is never going to replace one-on-one work with a competent professional who will help you through the whole process just like an instructor teaching you how to play the guitar. But the other critical element that the nutrition consultant must employ is flexibility. I’m sure I use that word no less than twenty times during every consultation or class that I teach. Here’s what I mean…
If you follow a template-driven program – one that gives you a list of meals that you have to choose from or even actual days that you must follow as written out, you’re heading for disaster. I know it’s easier at first to just eat what someone tells you and the longer you’ve been attempting to lose weight, you’re more likely to tune a consultant out and be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, just tell me what to eat.” But I assure you, the odds are against you.
So what do I propose? I want you to understand your program and be able to substitute foods and meals for like items. If a plan that you’re following dictates specific amounts of certain types of foods (protein, carbs, and fat) at certain times, you should be able to make good choices for variety. If you are allowed, as I would suggest, even greater flexibility in the amounts and times of such foods, then swap meals and snacks around as you feel you need them or crave them. Be honest about the last diet that left you short of your goal. Wasn’t a very large part of that failure due to just the sheer inconvenience? What if you couldn’t get the right food at the right time or you were traveling or you encountered a holiday or… See what I mean? It’s impossible to win at dieting if you don’t get to control your food to a large degree.
Just this week I was in an initial consultation with a woman who, believe it or not, has never been on a formal diet. She kept smiling and asking the question, “I really get to pick the foods I eat? Really? That’s amazing!” At one point she even commented, “I think that’s going to be a huge advantage.” I think I just stared at her with my jaw agape. Leave it to an “uncorrupted” rookie dieter to actually get it. Everyone else wants to skip to the bottom line and be told what to do, perpetuate codependence, live in blissful ignorance, and then wonder why long-term success eludes them.
If my new client isn’t willing to dig in and learn what is in the foods she likes so she can stay within the food and macronutrient budget I provided her, the honeymoon will be over fast. If she does the mathematical gymnastics just for the sake of the numbers without embracing learning to read the physiology behind the changes in her body, she won’t necessarily set herself up for the long-term either. This may mean looking more at nutrition fact panels, rummaging through a food count book or website, tracking your food, and even planning some days around your schedule in advance. BUT, the road to that finish line is paved with the knowledge that will come from working through picking your foods, being flexible, and learning to survive and thrive in every unique situation life brings your way.
You can still lose weight eating birthday cake on your birthday, having a cheeseburger at your son’s ballgame, and nibbling on popcorn at the movies. Your diet should teach you how to do that. You really can eat what you want!
Dr. Joe is the founder of The Diet Doc and has written in the fitness industry for over a decade. His newest book (www.thedietdocs.com) is taking aim at permanent weight loss while he continues to work with clients every day via his unique online programs (www.thedietdoc.com) and fitness, figure, and bodybuilding competitors of all levels (www.perfectpeaking.com).