Have you ever been on a strict diet, followed it religiously for months, and then suddenly some external circumstances prompted you to quit prematurely?
How did that make you feel?
Did you feel like a total failure?
Did the voice in your head tell you that you suck, that your will is too weak, and that you’ll never reach your goal weight or your desired shape?
Did you blame yourself for always coming up with excuses for not eating the way you believe you should eat?
And once you quit, did you go back to eating a balanced, yet more liberal, less stressful, and generally more enjoyable diet, or did you start binging on all kinds of junk foods all the time, overeating regularly, and succumbing to every single temptation that came your way?
If you believe that it’s either all or nothing, that the world is black and white only, that you must either control your every bite and count your every calorie, or go nuts and eat all the unhealthiest foods all the time, chances are your relationship with food is not helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be.
Here is the thing about diets: they work as long as you stick to them, as long as you’re disciplined, as long as you’re focused. But the problem is that we don’t live in a vacuum. Life happens and we get overwhelmed by so many distractions, responsibilities, and moving parts in our daily lives that we just can’t keep up.
In 2017 the global wellness industry was estimated at 4.2 trillion US dollars. The Weight Loss and Healthy Eating industry was 702 billion US dollars. At the same time, the amount of overweight people globally has almost tripled between 1975 and 2018. And when we draw the line, 98% of all diets attempted annually fail.
Because we want quick results and are eager to pay for quick solutions.
The main problem with that?
Quick solutions have short-lived results.
If you’ve been conditioned to believe that the only way to be in shape is to suffer through constant diets or to forget about ever enjoying food again, this strategy may work for you if you’re OK with living in eternal deprivation and feeling stressed out about every meal and every bite.
If, on the other hand, you want to have your cake and eat it too, and want to enjoy delicious and nutritious food while taking care of your body, this desire actually isn’t as Utopian as it may seem at first glance. But there’s good and bad news here.
The good news is that it’s not mission impossible. It’s doable for every single person, regardless of individual preferences, needs, goals, budget, time availability, and cooking skills.
The bad news is that it takes time. And I don’t mean time in terms of how long you need to eat a certain way in order to reach a certain goal. I mean that you need to invest a good amount of time to first and foremost reprogram your brain and transform your mechanics of thinking about what healthy eating means and what it entails and requires from you.
Then and only then can you actually start focusing on slowly, patiently, and gradually cultivating sustainable, universally applicable, and flexible healthy eating habits.
The bottom line – take your time. You can use all the help you can get, but there’s nothing more important than getting the right kind of help. And buying a generic regime or following a fad diet may not exactly be the help that you need when trying to play the long game.
Failing at dieting may not be your fault. The faulty element may actually be that trying to diet doesn’t even have the potential to reach your long-term goal by design.
I am the CEO & Founder of Foodie Boulevard – a disruptive organization that explores the role of food beyond the plate as foundational long-term strategy for personalized healthcare and wellness.
Our mission is to develop solutions that help our audience use food as an interactive educational tool, a powerful epigenetic factor, and a healing mechanism for people struggling with eating disorders.
I am a published author, blogger, lecturer, and workshop organizer. I am a certified Eating Psychology Coach by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in Colorado and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassador.