If you’re struggling to stick to your diet, take a deep breath. I’m 100% certain that it has nothing to do with your willpower and determination. In fact, most people have had this experience. And by “Diet” I mean a nutritional approach with an end goal. That end goal may be to improve the environment and go vegan or to lose weight and go keto or to want to eat cleaner and go Whole30. And of course, those are just examples, there are probably thousands of “diets” to consider and just as many reasons to try them.
If you’re struggling to stick to your chosen nutritional approach or diet, there are likely 3 reasons why. Let’s take a look at them individually.
#1 Your Changes are Too Big.
Habit change is hard. REALLY hard. You not only have to shift your mindset, but you also have to shift your life and they way you’ve been doing things. When you work to change a habit, everything needs to support you and sometimes (quite often) it’s too much.
Let’s take Keto for example. I know many people who have tried to go keto and ultimately say it doesn’t work for them. And while that may be true, the changes they made may have been too much initially.
Keto is a diet where you burn fat for energy. To burn fat, you have to reduce your carb consumption to really low levels so that your body starts looking for an alternate fuel source, i.e., stored fat. Most folks dive right in and go from say 150 grams of carbs a day to 50 or fewer. This is a HUGE change. Not only do you have to shift everything you eat, but you also have to change your shopping, meal prep, and eating habits. AND your body has to adapt to this change. It often results in headaches, insomnia, mood issues, digestion issues and more.
None of this means that keto is the wrong approach for someone. What it does mean is that the changes are too big. Wouldn’t it make more sense to taper your carbs down week by week? Or to reduce carb intake at specific meals? For a habit change to actually stick, it has to be both simple and doable. You have to KNOW you can accomplish it and it can’t be hard. So, reducing your carbs by 10 grams is doable. That’s like a piece of toast, literally.
#2 You Don’t Have a Solid Reason Why You Want to Make the Change
It’s critically important when creating new habits that you have a reason. Now this reason doesn’t have to be impressive or life changing. I’ve created new habits just to see if I could and how the new habit would feel. For example, I did Whole30 for almost 3 months once just to see what it felt like.
I also decided that I needed to exercise daily to reduce my risk of dementia. It runs in my family and scares the shit out of me. So that motivation is much different from the “let’s see what happens” motivation. Neither are more impactful or impressive, they are simple reasons why and they help you stay motivated.
So, when you’re looking at a diet that you’ve chosen, ask yourself why you’re doing it and how important that reason is for you.
#3 You Don’t Have Support Systems in Place
When you change a habit or create a new habit, there’s a need to put systems into place to support you. You have to set yourself up for success. So, let’s say that you’re trying to quit drinking sugar drinks and your motivation is that you’re pre-diabetic and you don’t want the chronic health problems that come with this diagnosis, and you definitely don’t want diabetes.
So, you decide to taper your sugary drinks down until you’re no longer drinking any. So far so good, right? You’re taking small steps and you’re absolutely motivated. But you haven’t created any support systems. So, you don’t plan for what you’re going to drink when your energy gets low mid-day.
You don’t research viable alternatives and try as you might, black coffee tastes awful to you. You’re thirsty, you have a headache, you need a nap, and nothing tastes good. Problem, right?
See how this can set you up for failure? You have to spend some time not only thinking about the What and the Why but also the How?
- What small steps can you take?
- Why are you taking them?
- What do you need to do to succeed?
Answer these three questions before any lifestyle change and you stand a much better chance at success!
And if you want some help working through this process, drop me an email. I’m happy to work through it with you.