A couple of weeks ago I discovered La-Croix-styled swim shorts. Naturally, I snagged a pair immediately.
Maybe it’s my love of sparkling water. Maybe it’s my inner Californian and the upcoming beach season. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t help but laugh that I’m now repping my most basic brand of sparkling water on the beach.
Regardless, I did something I never do—I impulsively shopped. Which, honestly, was a bit of a rite-of-passage moment for me. Brimming with excitement, I confirmed my order and completed the checkout.
Boom. Just like that, branded and bright pink swimwear was on its way.
Within just a few minutes, I went from not knowing these things even existed to ordering my very own pair. Thanks, Internet.
But then things got interesting.
See, we’re all so used to the fast-paced nature of modern life. A few quick clicks and swift swipes give us access to literally anything and everything—instantly. We live in a time of seemingly simultaneous cause and effect.
That’s why I was thrown when I saw how long it’d take to ship my shorts: two weeks.
Two. Full. Weeks. In the world of two-day shipping, this felt like forever. Which, if you think about it, is ridiculous. I realize that. But in the impulsive excitement of the moment, my mind echoed Veruca Salt’s, “I want it now.”
I know, it was being snobby and impatient. But the fact of the matter is this: We’re all impatient. We’ve all been conditioned to expect immediate returns and instant results because that’s how things work on the web.
But it’s not how things work in real life.
And it’s definitely not how they work in nutritional science.
No, Nutrition Doesn’t Work That Fast.
“I started _____ and dropped 7 pounds in the first couple days. Just like that.”
You can fill in that blank with whatever diet fad or fat burner you want. It doesn’t make a difference because the fact of the matter is this:
Nutrition doesn’t work that fast. Ever.
The unfortunate reality is that the change in weight has very little to do with actual fat loss. It takes time to lose fat. This concept is one most people don’t truly realize or understand. And it can be one of the most discouraging things about any diet.
Because like we’ve already covered, we’re impatient. All of us. We want to make meaningful progress. Like, yesterday.
We’re so accustomed to immediate results and simultaneous cause and effect, we expect the same from our bodies when we start a nutrition plan. From there, our confirmation bias takes over.
Confirmation Bias, n. – The tendency to interpret new
evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.
We start a new nutrition plan and see the results right away.
Our confirmation bias:
Any changes we see after starting a new nutrition plan are in direct result of that plan.
Our reality? Results take time and a lengthy list of factors—most of which have nothing to do with your new plan—have led to whatever day-to-day changes you’re seeing.
Nutritional science just doesn’t work in an instant. And when you expect two-day shipping on the body of your dreams, you’ll usually wind up doing one of these three dieting don’ts:
1. Don’t Be Too Quick to Thank Your New Nutrition Plan.
This is a lot like leading someone on. Except that someone is yourself. You start a new program, see immediate change, and chalk it up to the plan.
You finally found it: The One. The diet that’s going to work once and for all. Sure it’s only been a week, but that’s okay because it’s different this time. You’re in love—with the plan, the results, with everything. It’s a match made in health heaven.
Or so it seems…
But I guarantee the love story won’t end well because you’ve led yourself on. You were too quick to thank your new nutrition plan, giving it more credit than it deserved. Don’t get me wrong, any well-designed program will immediately contribute to progress. But progress is a long game. If your results seem unbelievable, don’t believe it.
Fluctuations in weight can seemingly inflate progress. If we’re not careful, we can mistake water weight for fat loss, quickly thanking our new plan for fantastic results.
It’s a dangerous game to play. Because, inevitably, fluctuations average themselves out. And your skewed scale weight can go up just as quickly as it went down.
When you’re too quick to thank your new nutrition plan, the flip side of fluctuations are devastating. For most, it’s enough to throw in the towel, which will bring whatever genuine progress you were making to a halt.
2. Don’t Be Too Quick to Blame Your New Nutrition Plan.
This is the other side of the same coin. And probably happens even more often.
Instead of being thrilled, you’re disappointed by your new plan. You’ve followed it to the letter. And yet, your high expectations are left unmet. The little-if-any progress doesn’t match your massive effort. It’s frustrating.
But you shouldn’t blame your nutrition plan. The real culprit? Impatience.
(But when you are patient, great things do happen.)
It’s like me with my passionfruit shorts. You want to do X and get Y as fast as possible. Because that’s the world we live in now—instant gratification and immediate results. But bodies and physiology work on their own timetable, one that’s frustratingly slow.
Fact: You can follow a new nutrition plan perfectly for weeks and only see minimal change.
Another fact? That’s okay.
Honestly, slow starts are much more common than the alternative. This weight loss stuff doesn’t happen in a few weeks or even a few months. Steady and sustainable fat loss is a continual process. Depending on your goals, it may take years to “arrive.” Years to lose the weight and years to establish the habits necessary to keep it off for good.
Through that lens, it’s a bit ridiculous to blame your new nutrition plan after a couple weeks of slow progress. Because, well, meaningful progress is slow. But slow really means strategic, steady, and sustainable. And at the end of the day, what good is fast if it doesn’t last?
I’m not interested in helping you with mere short-term transformations. I want your results to last a lifetime. So…
3. Don’t Quit
Seriously, just don’t. Here’s why:
Nutrition Works, It’s Really Just a Matter of Time
When you’re too quick to thank or too quick to blame a nutrition plan, you’re robbing yourself of one of the most important variables in any weight loss equation.
If you’ve got a plan, you’ve got to give it time. Assuming you’re following a personalized plan that’s based on nutritional science, it can and will work. But it needs time.
Remember those shorts I was all kinds of excited about? Those took time too—more time than I wanted. But eventually, they came. And they’re even more glorious than I had hoped. Well worth the unexpectedly long wait.
The same sort of thing happens with nutrition plans: There’s a goal, a process, and the eventual results. Keyword: eventual.
Because even after doing everything you need to reach your goal (which for me was as simple as completing my online order), the actual result—be that a pair bright pink passionfruit shorts or fat loss or fitting back into your favorite jeans—will take time. And patience.
Know this: Fitness results are always so worth the wait.
Sure, sometimes it takes a long time. Longer than you may want. But done the right way, it’ll last a long time too (ideally forever). Results that last a lifetime take longer than a couple weeks.
So don’t be too quick to thank your new nutrition plan. Don’t be too quick to blame your new nutrition plan. And don’t quit.
You’ve got this.
It’s really just a matter of time. And I promise your results will be well worth the wait.