We don’t want to believe it, but it’s true:
The more we try to be perfect with our diets, the less compliant we are overall, and the less likely we are to see results.
I am SO guilty of chasing perfection with my diet and exercise, only to end up feeling frustrated; gaining MORE weight; and remaining further from my goals.
To give you an idea of what I mean, here’s how a typical week would play out for me; let me know if any of this resonates with you:
I’d wake up Monday morning with all the willpower and conviction in the world. I’d be on top of the world, and 100% committed to my diet.
I’d eat my perfectly portioned Tupperware meals, get to the gym and crush, and go to bed motivated to do it all over again.
Then Tuesday would go just as well, and I’d be like, “THIS is it!” But then Wednesday rolls around, and things suddenly wouldn’t seem so easy…
Maybe I didn’t sleep so well on Tuesday night so I’d reach for a candy bar on Wednesday afternoon, figuring “Well, I earned it. And I can just go to the gym later and do extra cardio.”
But after my gym session, I’d be feeling so good that I’d want to reward myself with an indulgent dinner. “No big deal; I’ll just work it off tomorrow,” I’d tell myself (albeit with much less conviction than I possessed on Monday!)
Thursday’d roll around, and I’d often skip the gym because I was bone tired. Instead of going straight to bed with a good book when I got home, however, I’d park myself in front of the tv and mindlessly eat several servings of frozen yogurt (which I don’t even like, but bought because it’s “healthier” than ice cream).
I’d go to bed cranky and full.
On Friday, I’d skip breakfast because that’s “healthy,” and prepare a healthy lunch. “Awesome,” I’d say to myself. “I’m back on track! No more binges this weekend!”
I’d vow to get home early to prep food for the weekend, only to be invited to happy hour. I’d tell myself that I would only have a drink or two and no bar food…but we know how that story ends!
And thus, another weekend-long binge that would leave me feeling bitter, resentful and bloated come Sunday evening when I would unquestioningly and dutifully prepare my meals for another week, ready to crush but really end up repeating the same pattern over…and over…and over again.
Again, I’d make excuses for why it didn’t work before, and tell myself, “This is it, Hilary; you’ve got this.”
But no; no, I didn’t, #sorrynotsorry. The common binge-restrict scenario I described above is why I struggled FOR SO LONG to see results and why you probably are, too, despite how much effort it feels like you’re already putting into eating healthy and exercising.
This pattern is the most effective method of self-sabotage I know of, and yet many of us continue to repeat it week after week, month after month, year after year.
Restrictive diets that pit certain foods against others, labeling them good or bad, are not sustainable. They exacerbate cravings and make it harder for us to avoid binging, even though we really don’t want to do it.
These “rules” we cling to make us feel less–not more–in control, and make results that much more elusive.
The “rules” don’t work because the rules don’t apply to us...or at least not to more than a very select few. Most people do not thrive when they’re trying to fit themselves into a mold made by someone else, using someone else’s “rules.”
Dieting is conformity: it’s taking someone else’s word for it that “this” will work for you, despite all the evidence to the contrary that we are each unique and therefore have separate and distinct likes/dislikes, triggers, mental associations with foods, cravings, habits, etc.
The diet that will work for you is the diet that you’re going to be able to stick to over the long term, period. Obviously, my “diets” weren’t working for me because I couldn’t control the urge to “cheat.”
The best diet for you is the one the doesn’t make you feel like you have to cheat because it’s a little less perfect and a little more rebellious. But rebels get results because they 1) don’t follows others’ rules; rather, 2) they make up their own.
Here are three ways to rebel for better results today!
Re-think diet foods:
Remember the frozen yogurt debacle?! I would frequently buy “diet” desserts because I thought they were better for me.
Weight Watchers brownies and fat-free frozen yogurt were aligned with the “rules” I was following because they had a seal of approval from a franchise or “fitpro” that I trusted. Big mistake!
Buying into this idea that “diet” desserts are a better alternative to the “real thing” would only 1) make my cravings for the “real thing” that much stronger; and 2) make me end up eating more calories worth of the “diet” dessert when I could have been satisfied on much less had I chosen the thing I *really* wanted.
Rebels are aware of the fact that “diet” foods have the opposite effect on them than that which is intended, meaning they crank up their cravings and make it harder to stop at just a few bites.
Rebels don’t bother with the diet foods because they realize they’re not worth it.
Rebels practice having a little bit of the foods they truly enjoy a couple times a day so they 1) stay satisfied; and 2) aren’t constantly battling cravings because they’re trying to convince themselves that the 100-calorie version is “just as good” as the real thing…
Reject the rules
Start your new diet on a Monday! Make a New Year’s resolution! Shape up for Summer! Get Your Bikini Body by May!
Never eat carbs at night! Fast until 12 noon! Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day! Never work out at night!
Never work out in the morning! Never work out mid-day! I could go on…and on…and on!
There are so many fitness and diet “rules” out there that, when you really break it down, make no sense because there is always some study or evidence that suggests the exact opposite.
What are we supposed to do with that information?! If you’re anything like I was, you nearly go crazy trying to keep it all straight.
Once I became a rebel, I rejected allllll of that. I spent way too much time, energy and money chasing the latest and greatest diets, protocols, and gadgets that promised me all the results in the world only to fail me yet again.
And yet, I felt like the failure. I felt like I just wasn’t looking hard enough, that if I was just a better researcher, I would find what I was looking for.
This was probably my biggest mistake! I kept looking despite the fact that I already had all the information I would ever need: my knowledge of my own body; my intuition; and my instincts.
Rebels reject the rules they’re “supposed” to follow and rely on their fine-tuned ability to figure out what rules do and don’t work for them.
They don’t follow rules; they re-write them!
This is a strategy that I started using to rebel against what we’re “told” is the proper amount of a food to consume.
For example, one of my favorite foods is nut butter, and I would often overeat it because a serving is 2 tablespoons. Rarely would I feel satisfied by that amount, and I would almost always eat more regardless…
And so I experimented: I purposely served myself a little bit more than a serving to see if it would help me eat less nut butter overall.
Placing myself in a position to control my portion–rather than relying on what was arbitrarily determined by the someone else–helped me control the urge to overeat.
Also, it was kind of like a reverse psychology trick: the more permission I gave myself to eat the extra, the less I realized I wanted it.
In other words, I learned that I could be satisfied by less than a serving somedays, whereas other times, I preferred more.
I hope these tips roused your inner rebel to action!
If you want to see more tips for diet rebels, plus nutrition hacks, recipes, free workouts, and more, add yourself to my *FREE* Health-usiast Insiders wait list!