Working with as many clients as I have for the past 35 years, I have noticed certain patterns of sabotage that can destroy physique goals. My goal is to help clients recognize and problem solve.
Problem: All or nothing attitude.
“Well.. I just blew my diet so I may as well eat everything I want then start back tomorrow.”
Does that sound at all like you? So many clients tell me they are either hardcore dieting or propelling into a buffet, face first at warp speed. The “all or nothing attitude” can be created by habitual on again off again diets.
What you should know. Consistency not perfection is how you make progress in your physique goals. No one is perfect and we don’t need to pretend to be.
Solution: What we need is a plan that will allow us to eat things that make us happy so we can follow through on that 7 days a week. Falling off a diet is not a fail. It’s a learning experience. Why did you derail? Was it lack of preparation? Was it a certain food triggered your hunger? Each time you notice a concern, problem solve it. Fix it the same way you would fix a leaky faucet. It’s not personal. If you need to plan ahead more.. do it.
Even when we derail, remember tomorrow’s tracker is empty! We keep trying again and again. Soon you have strung together weeks and months of successes and those blips won’t matter.
Problem: Diet ADHD
“I blew my diet so I will just go on the Whole 30, or HGH or Dr. Oz’s new total starvation plan”
You need another style diet like a hole in the head. Switching gears to, yet another diet isn’t the solution when the diet isn’t really the problem at all. Diet fails aren’t really fails. They are learning opportunities. No one is perfect at their diet but we can get better by problem solving.
I call out the Whole 30 because basically you get a whole lot of nothing to eat. Food group elimination seems like the perfect reaction from someone who has just felt that they failed their current plan. It’s super OCD, restrictive and straight up punishment for your screw up!
What you should know: Thinking that one diet works better than another because it is more restrictive is setting you up to fail. Studies show that 80% of restrictive dieters will rebound.
Solution: Consistency wins over perfection. The diet you should do is the one you see yourself doing a year from now. Not half ass doing but for reals. How about, while you are at it, stop punishing yourself with food or lack of!! That would be great.
Problem: Detox Debby
“If I do a juice cleanse, detox, detox teas, zero carbs, 24 hour fast, I’ll lose weight so I’ll do that.”
Again, you are switching gears and how has that worked for you in the past. This client is throwing things at the problem to see what sticks.
What you should know: You don’t need a detox diet because you have a liver.
“Your liver detoxifies harmful substances in two steps. The first step uses enzymes and oxygen to burn toxins, especially fatty ones, so they are more water soluble, making them easier for the body to eliminate.”
When you do a juice cleanse, you are still ingesting calories and carbs and well.. macros. These are things should be eating anyway! Juicing removes much of the fiber!
If you take out all the fiber.. why is that a good thing? You could add juicing to your IIFYM plan if you like it but restricting food other than veggies still leaves you with a restricted diet. And where will your protein come from? You still need protein. Remember?
Now.. if you are juicing for weight loss.. remember science. To lose body fat you must be in a caloric deficit. Basically starving on really healthy food is still starving.
If you are doing the low carb/no carb plan, you are going to see the scale move because you are losing water. Carbs draw water into the muscle so once you get off your plan and eat again.. scale will go back up. Did you lose fat.. .. though? It was water. WATER.
If your detox tea makes you pee or poop, you could really start with some dandelion root tea and eat fiber each day! Dandelion tea is at the grocery store and is a natural diuretic. It is in a lot of products with the word “shred” on it. Good info, Yes?
Solution: Stop wasting your hard earned money on magic potions and solutions. You are smart enough to know that these protocols are very temporary. Being honest with yourself , can you see yourself living on this plan for the next full year? What is going to happen when you stop this restriction? Will you find yourself in a binge?
Sustainability wins over perfection.
Problem: I eat great during the week then blow it out of the water on the weekends.
Well.. this is really just about everyone I know and this is a big one! Being “good” during the week is somewhat easy because it’s more routine. The weekends are social or off routine.
Let’s talk about Mary: She’s on a fat loss plan and she’s doing great Monday-Friday because she has a routine. Weekends she finds herself at the ball game, bbq, having a few drinks .. well you get the picture she’s in a surplus of calories from her plan. (Binge)
Monday rolls around and she’s upset because she didn’t lose any weight. She might be heavier on Monday and begins a plan to “really get it together”. This week she tells herself she will not have any sugar, dairy, or carbs. (Restrict) That lasts for a bit until she derails again. (Binge)
Several months pass for her and she’s steadily gaining weight and highly frustrated!
What you need to know: Consistency wins over perfection.
Mary needs to be in a deficit for the the entire 7 days for fat loss. The 5 day a week deficit was great but the weekend put her calories into a surplus for the whole week! Those numbers would be super bulking numbers!! Her body is now set to store not lose fat.
Solutions: Mary is great at her work week and a simple weekend plan would be one thing she could do. Mary could go to her tracker and put the macros in for the food she is going to eat on her date this weekend. She could plan the amounts of food she can eat that will fit her plan and stick to that.
She could also save some carbs from her week and use them for her event on Saturday. She would still need to eat her nutrition/macro goals but she will eat what she likes and be accountable . Since she is consistent with her total calories for the week, she will be remain in a deficit and continue her fat loss.
Problem: End around the plan so you can continue to “do what you want”.
“I saved all my carbs and fats for the whole week so I could go to Craft Beer Fest 2016.”
“I ate no carbs and fat all week and had 300 g fat so I could eat at the buffet and drink all weekend.”
“I save all my carbs all day long so I can eat what I want on the couch and watch movies.”
What you need to know: These things just chap my hide.So let me start this one by saying, this attitude/behavior is never going to help you ever get the physique you want.
We all need to eat for our health, and we have macro nutrient needs that we must meet daily. Our bodies need macro nutrients, protein, fats and carbs especially if we are training or body building! We must not eliminate them in attempt to save calories for binges!!
Our brains require certain nutrients and we certainly don’t want to mess up our hormones!
Eating on our macros daily is good for our physique but also good for our health. We all need a balanced diet.
Solutions: One thing a person could do is carb cycling. Carb Cycliing is basically taking your carbs for the whole week and eating more on some days and less on others. If you like that idea, that’s fine as long as you are fueling your workouts. Fat cycling is not a thing. We all need our Essential Fatty Acids and fats daily for proper nutrition.
Carb hording is becoming a problem because clients are seeing an opportunity to binge.
This is not an example of problem solving an issue with your physique.
It is way to “cheat” your plan and do what you want.
Saving carbs for your evening movie night, isn’t wrong as long as you are accountable and have met your nutrtional goals for the day. Carb hoarding is a slippery slope.Clients not reaching their protein goals but overeating carbs can also find themselves in a surplus of calories or eating too much discretionary food.
Solution: Make a plan. If you are looking forward to movie night, pick something that fits your macros and put it in your tracker ahead of time. Be consistent throughout the day with your nutritional requirements of fruits, veggies, fiber.
If you are solidly committed to drinking a lot on a fat loss plan, you will be disappointed in your results. Unless your macros are high and you have room for discretionary calories, finding room to fit booze is tough. Frankly, I have yet to find a weight loss plan that allows you lots of booze.Personally I don’t think you should drink while you are cutting . You can read more about alcohol and macro tracking here. if you want to know why I’m such a hard ass on that subject.
These issues are not essentially diet related issues but non commitment.
1. Stop trying to be perfect.
2. Consistency wins in this game
3. Consider your health as well as your physique
4. Notice concerns and don’t personalize them.
5. Work on solutions one day at a time.
6. Stop doing things that don’t work.
7. Don’t try to end around your plan.
8. Problem solve for success
I know you are working hard. I hope this helps you in your journey.