3 Things to Know Before Beginning Your Next Diet

How many of you are looking for your “next diet”? Stop. Before you decide on one of those fad/crash diets/”lifestyles”, PLEASE read this!

Will THIS Diet Work?

The short answer? Probably. Diets work by having you take in less calories (ahem, energy) than you put out. So, IF this is your first time on a diet, or even your second time, yes. It probably will work. The thing to ask yourself though is this… are you willing to continue this diet for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? Because that’s what it will take. And that’s the reason your diet WON’T work. It may help you lose some initial weight. But after that, you’re screwed tbh. Because you’re human. And life is messy.

3 Things to Know

1. Energy In Vs Energy Out: This one SOUNDS simple. Taking in less calories than you put out = weight loss. Right? Yes. BUT HERE’S WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW! When you take in too few calories for a period of time, or you restrict and then binge over and over, your energy out PLUMMETS. Now, even though you’re eating SO LITTLE, you’re STILL not putting out more than you’re taking in. Please re-read that, and let it sink in. 1.

Remember, your actual physical activity is only a FRACTION of your energy out for the day. The rest of your energy out is your basal metabolic rate and activities of daily living. The basal metabolic rate is the energy it takes for our bodies to function (our hearts, brains, kidneys, respiratory system, circulatory system, and a ton of others) and it makes up MOST of your calories out. This means that if your body isn’t taking in enough energy to help all of those systems function, your body will SIGNIFICANTLY slow down its energy burn in order to save your life.

Bottom Line: You need to take in enough calories in order to sustain and even increase your energy out.

2. Most Diets Are Not Life Long. You need to really think about the rest of your life. What do you want it to look like? Maybe while you’re feeling motivated currently, you’re like hell yea, I can go without carbs forever if it means I can still eat bacon. But you need to realize that this will not be sustainable forever. You need to be truly honest with yourself and don’t tell yourself what you want to hear. You may WANT to be able to do it for the rest of your life because that means never gaining weight back. But that doesn’t mean it’s doable. It’s not actually doable. Because you’re human. And life is messy.

Back to the above question: What do you want the rest of your life to look like? I’m guessing this vision includes fun and laughter, and less stress and not feeling guilty every time you eat and not worrying every time you eat or plan a meal that it fits exactly what the diet says it should. But that’s what it will look like if you choose a fad diet.

Bottom line: Whatever you choose to do to lose weight is what the rest of your life will look like. So choose wisely.

3. Focusing on the scale is a mistake. Most people (myself included) love numbers. They like to SEE that what they’re working towards is paying off. But this is not the best way to measure progress. I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to lose weight or change your habits so that your lifestyle is healthier. I’m saying that these things are not motivation enough to make anything lifelong. You have to dig deeper.

Ask yourself the hard questions- WHY do I want to lose weight? If your answers have only to do with self esteem- looking at instagram makes you feel bad, you feel you should be skinnier or more toned, or you feel that instagram is what people “should” look like, then you’re either not digging deep enough, or your issue is not your weight, but with your body image. Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to make changes. I’m simply saying that your focus should be on feeling good about yourself, and NOT what the scale says. This requires many changes in your lifestyle and self care routines, and may or may not have to do with your diet.

If your answers are things like: you have knee pain, you want to be around for your kids longer, you want to be able to keep up with your kids and one day grandkids, your health is in serious jeopardy, then THESE are your real core values, and THESE are your motivation. The scale doesn’t matter- these things do.

Bottom Line: Your core values are what’s going to be truly motivating for you in the long term. Numbers will not keep you going, even if you like to measure your progress, it won’t keep you going long term. It will only make you obsess over something less controllable.  What you CAN control is your lifestyle and how you live it.

What to Do Instead

Look, if you’re going to choose a fad diet, you’re going to choose it. If you really feel it’s in your best interest, I am not here to tell you otherwise. I am just here to help you think it through first. Regardless of what you choose- fad diet or not, You can do these 3 things to help make it stick longer:

  1. Set core values that have nothing to do with your scale.
  2. Instead of taking a big giant belly flop all in at once, make small changes in your behavior, lifestyle, or routine, and slowly build on those changes until you get to where you want to be.
  3. Find a balance between holding yourself accountable and giving yourself some grace. Just because you slipped today, doesn’t mean the diet is ruined. Simply pick up where you left off tomorrow, without trying to compensate.

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