I'd like to think I'm the world's worst dieters. For years, my weight yo-yoed as I tried every new diet plan out there. Though none of them truly worked for me, I learned something each time a diet plan crashed and burned. Here's why your diet may not be working, and what you can do about it.
1. You're thinking in terms of all or nothing.
The famous "I'll start tomorrow" mentality used to get me every time. Believing that a diet starts or ends on a certain day usually isn't wise plan of attack. If a diet isn't something you can adapt to your life in the long term, it's likely not going to stick. Sure, I can stay away from chocolate for a week but let's be real: give me a month and there's bound to be some sort of chocolate-induced breakdown looming in my future.
Whenever we make something "off-limits," its appeal automatically rises. Telling me I can't ever have bread again is like telling a child (or an adult for that matter) not to push the proverbially button. Normal eating, the kind we engage in during a normal, healthy diet, doesn't place certain foods off limits. There's no start and finish. There really are no rules.
2. You're following a cookie cutter plan that doesn't take your individual needs into account.
No diet knows exactly how your body is going to react to it. Something we often forget is that there's no "one size fits" all plan that's going to work for every body. Analyze what is and isn't working with your diet, make changes as needed, experiment with new things and remember that just because something works for one person doesn't mean it's going to do anything for you.
We're all individuals with unique needs, backgrounds and lifestyles. So many factors can contribute to what is and isn't working that it's always necessary to take an individualized approach.
3. You're a "counter."
Calories, macros, points — whatever it is, you're counting them and filling them with your favorite, not-so-healthy foods. I'm a big believer in moderation at all costs, but in the case of a diet filled with sugar-laden cereals that fit your "macros," I'm not a fan.
Health should be a priority over weight loss, quality over quantity, finding a healthy balance that works for you. This may mean sometimes eating sugar, but just make sure you're consuming that sugar alongside your leafy greens. When it comes down to it, eating the right foods for your body is when you'll see the most change.
4. You're eating based on labels.
Low fat, sugar-free, gluten-free. There's nothing wrong with any of these terms when they're taken into account for serious health reasons, but if your motives are solely for the purpose of weight loss, you might have a bigger problem. Foods that are labeled with promises are usually far from healthy; they're typically heavily processed and very removed from their natural counterpart.
Sure, there may be fewer calories, fats or sugars, but when those are replaced with fillers (things like trans fats, fake sugars and sugar), it's not worth the sacrifice. Typically, anything labeled as a "diet" food is likely something you'll want to steer clear of.
So there you have it. If you're guilty of one of the following, it might be time to start making some changes.