If you’ve ever attempted a weight loss diet before, you know just how hard it can be to stick with it.
Fortunately, if this is an area that you’re struggling with, there are things you can do to make it easier on yourself.
In this article, we’re going to talk all about why dieting is so challenging, as well as three strategies you can use to stack the odds of success in your favour.
Why Sticking To A Diet Is So Hard
If you’ve ever tried (and failed) at a diet before, the important thing to remember is this- you’re not alone.
In fact, you’re not even atypical.
Adopting and sticking to a weight loss diet (or even just a healthier diet) is something that most of us struggle with.
So, what’s the deal? Why, if so many of us want to get lean and healthy, is it so hard for us to get it together?
The main reason is simple- biology.
Let’s get one thing straight- mother nature does not give two shits about your fitness goals.
She doesn’t care that beach season is right around the corner, and she certainly does not care about your abs.
For most of human history, we evolved in an environment where resources were scarce. Your biology is designed to get you through the next famine- not the next spring break.
The processes that drive you to continually seek out food are complex, and many of them are built right into your brain.
As if that’s not bad enough, many of these impulses are regulated by the supply of food in our environment.
We (or at least most of us) live in a modern, developed world where, not only are we probably not going to encounter a famine, but we now have a constant, never ending supply of cheap, high-calorie, highly palatable foods.
Bottom line- if you want to lose weight and get healthy, you’re fighting an uphill battle with hundreds of thousands of years of biology which wants you to get calories and get them NOW.
How To Set Yourself Up For Dietary Success
So, given that we have all of this working against us, what can we do to shift the odds of losing weight and sticking to the diet in our favour?
Tip #1: Don’t Be So Restrictive
Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you…
You decide to go on a diet. Maybe you’ve been overweight for a while and you’ve finally decided to do something about it. Maybe you just need to lose 10 pounds to get nice and cut for your next vacation.
Whatever the reason, you decide you’re going on a diet…and you’re going to diet HARD.
So you double and triple down- from now on, you’re eating a high protein, high fibre, low carb, low fat, zero “junk food”, clean-as-a-babies-ass diet.
What usually happens after that? Well, if you’re like most people, you probably make it a few days. Maybe if you’re REAL lucky you make it a few weeks.
But eventually, it starts to get to you. You start day dreaming about pizza, ice cream, tacos and WHATEVER else you haven’t been able to eat for the last few weeks.
And unless you happen to be blessed with super human willpower, at some point, you finally break (and if you’re like most people, you end up worse off than you were before).
The way around this is to adopt a much more flexible approach. Because at the end of the day, losing weight comes down to calories in verses calories out.
And that’s GOOD NEWS because it means that you can have all the different kinds of foods you want…you just need to eat less of them.
Paradoxically, what you’ll find is that you’ll not only have an easier time sticking to the diet, but by allowing yourself the freedom to eat the foods you want, you’ll actually want them less.
Tip #2: Set Realistic Goals
I’ve got news for you- you’re NOT going to lose 15 kilograms in a month.
I don’t care what the magazine told you, I don’t care what special diet that a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend allegedly went on. You’re not going to be able to stick with these kind of dietary herculean feats.
In fact, not only are you NOT going to be able to do it, but on the odd chance that you DO pull it off, your willpower will be so drained and depleted by the end that you’ll probably end up gaining it all back.
What you want to do instead is to set REALISTIC goals. Aim to lose between 1-2 pounds per week, and take it nice and slow.
If you do that, not only will you not lose your mind, but you’ll actually end up reaching your goal FASTER because you won’t be dealing with all of that horrible rebounding.
Tip #3: Set A Firm Timeline
One of the biggest reasons people fail to stick with a diet is the fact that they see it as a permanent lifestyle change.
And when you view something unpleasant (and let’s be real, trying to lose weight ain’t exactly fun) as permanent, you end up running into all kinds of resistance.
So, when you do decide to diet, make sure you have a firm cutoff date- and make sure that it’s not too far into the future.
For most people, this means weight loss diets of anywhere from a month to two months TOPS. Just the fact that the end is in sight will make things a lot easier on you.
In conclusion- dieting sucks. It’s something that NONE of us enjoy doing.
But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to fail.
You just need to approach things a little more strategically.
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