This is Why Your Diet Keeps Failing

This post is going to cover some serious psychological stuff, but I will try to keep it as light and straight to the point as possible. Let’s discuss the #1 reason why so many (and possibly you) continue to fail when dieting.

We, as fitness professionals, hear it all of the time, “I ate perfectly during the week, but I just had to have pizza during the game on Sunday.” (Or something along those lines).

Why is compliance so hard?

Is it an addiction to food? Maybe.

Is it because we rationalize our actions because that is how those around us are eating? Maybe.

Is it because we are on a diet that isn’t right for our blood type? F*ck no.

Is it because of fruit? Double F*uck No.

Here is the reason why:

Ready for it?

It is going to blow your mind… Seriously… Sit down. Oh…you already were…

We as humans have a major problem with the passage of time. Specifically our perception of the present and it’s effects on the future (hence the Doctor Who picture above).

Now let me explain this.

We want everything now. Be it results, or that hot piece of pizza on the table.

Instant gratification.

Or in this case, an immediate reaction to the actions that you took. What’s more gratifying, a grilled chicken breast or some Chinese take out?

When you eat a bunch of junk food, you don’t immediately add a new roll of fat or love handles moments later. Therefore the result of your actions are not immediate. Trust me, if you knew you were going to add 3-5 pounds of body fat overnight, you would have made a different decision.

You need to give yourself a good (valid) reason why you are not going to eat that junk food. Not, “Oh, wouldn’t it be swell to be able to fit into those old jeans.” It doesn’t work like that. That is just a dream, not a clear, vivid image. We lie to ourselves all the time. Stop bargaining with yourself so you can eat what you want when you want it.

You need to clearly understand the consequences of your actions (good or bad), even if they are not immediate. For example, if you eat a dozen donuts, you will put on two pounds of fat you didn’t have before you ate them. That could set you back another week to reaching your goal. Before you put it in your mouth, think about how future you is going to feel later that week. Another example of this conundrum are smokers. They figure that they won’t really have to deal with the consequences of their smoking until they are much older. Sacrificing tomorrow for today.

This is why mini diets like losing 10-15 pounds for a wedding or a vacation are usually successful. But when you return, you don’t have that immediate reason to continue eating clean and you are back to where you were again.

(Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are kicking so much shell they can eat tons of pizza and stay lean. They are also mutants…)

Photoshops Aren’t just for Making Fun of Your Boss

One thing that can help you literally visualize the future you want to come to pass is a photoshop of what you want to look like. Leigh Peele uses this to great success with her clients. Find a friend that is good with photoshop and have them modify your body for the end result you want to see. Keep it realistic though, don’t put your head on Yvonne Strahovski’s or Arnold’s body. That is unless you have great genetics (or have a personal chef and trainer on you 24/7) or drugs (Arnold wasn’t just drinking whole milk).

A great reason to watch Chuck. She also kicks quite a bit of ass.

Goal Setting:

I have talked about this before, but it is still important. Just take 15 minutes right now, sit down, and write out exactly what your fitness and physique goals are. STOP READING AND DO IT NOW OR YOU WILL NEVER DO IT! Again, this is the excuses thing popping up.

Start with a goals over the next four weeks.

Week 1: No cheat meals. Lose 2 lbs. Reassess and review results.

Week 2: Calculate resting metabolic rate and a 10-25% deficit. Comply. Lose 2 lbs. Reassess and review results.

Week 3: Comply with deficit. Lose 2 lbs. Reassess and review results.

Week 4: Comply, increase cardio (steady state or intervals, whatever floats your boat). Reassess and review results.

Week 5: Reassess and review results. What worked, what didn’t What Obstacles did you run into? How did you overcome them? Did you fail? Make a goal for the next 4 weeks.

When it comes to the goals, keep it simple. Don’t micro manage everything. That is why I wouldn’t even count calories for the first week. You know what’s excessive. Keep your meals small and nutritious. Get lean protein and vegetables at most of your meals Cover your bases with the proven supplements:

  • Fish Oil
  • Multivitamin
  • Vitamin-D
  • Creatine (if you want to be jacked like Vin Diesel in the upcoming Blockbuster, “Fast Five.”

So What Do I Do Now?

Decide right now:

How much you really want to be lean?

You might not care that much. Honestly, if you cared so much wouldn’t you have already done it? Let me put it this way, now you know that you want it, you just need to convince yourself of that. Prove it to yourself. Prove it to those around you. Instead of getting the pizza, get the grilled chicken Caesar with no dressing. Will they call you out for eating healthy? Yeah, but take a look at their ass and remind yourself that you don’t want your ass to look like a half deflated kick ball.



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12 Responses

  1. Kevin says:

    Exactly. Many people are driven down by those around them unintentionally picking fun of them for working towards their goals – because they are never going to look as good as you will if you keep consistent, steady effort and reach your physique goals..!

  2. Robert Stanley says:

    Good stuff! I love being able to give my clients simple guidelines they can follow!

  3. Glad you guys liked it.

  4. Lynda says:

    Love how you whittled it down to the Weeks 1 through 5. That always helps me focus!

  5. Excellent KevLar. Excellent.

    I’m going to print this off and give it to some clients who are having trouble with getting their head around things, you’ve said it better than I could.

  6. Great post Kevlar!!!

  7. R. Smith says:

    Great post. Really enjoyed it and putting it into action this second.


  8. Daniel says:

    Did you say something?

    Great picture of Ivonne Strahovski!

  9. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the tip on Chuck. I have been watching it online since I saw this post. Great show!

  10. Jorel says:

    great article but what’s with Pond and the Tardis ?

  11. Bret says:

    Good article. On the delaying present gratification stuff, you might want to look at the book “The Time Paradox” by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd. It’s a great study on past, present, future orientations mixed with negative and positive perspectives. Good authors@google talk by Zimbardo on youtube that skims the book ideas well. Think there was a RSA Animate youtube on the book as well.