Why Fitness and Diet Fads Fail

 In Fitness, Nutrition Tips

So, you’ve tried all of the hottest fitness and diet trends.  You’ve gone to Zumba classes, tried the Paleo Diet or thrown yourself into the Insanity program.  Did it work for you?

Chances are that if you tried to throw yourself into any sort of diet or fitness fad it probably didn’t go according to plan.  Most people fail to lose weight or get in better shape because they don’t start small. Instead, they just throw themselves into the deep end before they’ve even learned to swim.  You try to change everything at once only to find that this doesn’t actually change a thing.

That’s because going all in rarely works.  Of course, the temptation to do so is strong, because you want that quick fix.  Unfortunately, this leads you to believe that the only way to succeed is to adopt a complicated, comprehensive program of diet and exercise that requires significant lifestyle changes to be made overnight.  And then what happens? Most of us, within a day or two, start to feel oppressed by these programs, and sticking to the changes becomes impossible. Then, we start slipping.

The missteps start small at first.  You work late one night, so you don’t make it to the gym.  You sleep in in the morning, so you don’t have time to cook a healthy breakfast.  But, then you start to brush over the slips, saying you’ll just get to it next week, until eventually you’ve stopped altogether, and you’re back to where you started, feeling guilty about failing.   

If this sounds familiar, don’t feel bad.  We’ve all been there. While comprehensive fitness and weight-loss programs do work, the fact is they won’t work for the majority of people out there simply because they demand such major lifestyle changes.  But, it’s impossible to just throw out our daily activities and lifestyles overnight. That’s why so many end up quitting and even give up on trying to achieve new health goals altogether.

Fortunately, there’s a better approach, and it’s simple.  You have to learn to make diet and fitness rational. In other words, do the things that you actually enjoy.  If you hate jogging, don’t force yourself to go for a run on the treadmill. If you can’t stand the sight of avocado, don’t eat it.  Instead, commit to doing more of the things that you do like that will put you on the right track toward your overall health goals.  

It’s also really important to remember to take things slow.  There’s just no point in trying to adopt the latest trendy programs and fads; you’ll just end up in the same cycle of slipping and quitting as so many always do.  Instead, start with just a few simple changes that you know you can stick to. You will start to notice positive changes, and then you’ll be motivated to make a few more changes, and then a few more, and so on until you’re happily living a healthier lifestyle that you don’t even have to think twice about.      

This slow build will painlessly help you create a lifestyle that you’re proud of and will stick with.  So, if you’re ready to make some changes, but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few suggestions for an easy transition into your daily routine:  

  • Eat one really healthy meal each day.  Instead of a drastic, full-on dietary change, start by changing just one meal.  Make that one meal healthy and well balanced, and don’t forget to pay attention to the portion size.    
  • Drink a glass of water before every meal.  This will help you feel more full, so you won’t be tempted to eat past the point of hunger.   
  • Get active on your lunch break.  Instead of sitting at your desk to eat lunch, do a little activity, like going for a walk or stretching.  You’ll burn a few calories as well as stress.
  • Give yourself a fun, physical challenge.  Instead of forcing yourself into a gym every day of the week, pick a fun activity to participate in.  Walk to your favorite coffee shop instead of driving. Take a long bike ride with some friends or family.  Go on a beautiful hike, and explore nature. Whatever you do, make it challenging but realistic so that you really feel like you’ve accomplished something. 

You are capable of doing so many things.  Just don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting unrealistic expectations through fad diets and fitness programs.  By making a few small changes at a time, you’ll find all the motivation you need to achieve a healthier lifestyle, and you won’t even notice.  

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