We’ve all seen it. The magazine that promises 20lbs in two weeks, the diet that claims you’ll feel your best in 5 days, or the cleanse that claims to be the fountain of youth with a few gross drinks a day. But is any of that true, or is it just influencing our expectations regarding what is possible? You might have seen all of these diet claims pop up through the holidays, and thought, “That’s it! That’s my resolution”. You might have started 2022 strong, meticulously restricting food and following a plan perfectly.
We’re only a few weeks into the new year and it’s likely that your new diet may have already fallen to the wayside. It’s no surprise and nothing to feel bad about because change is hard.
But could you be making this harder on yourself which causes more risk to results and feelings of shame?
So let’s talk about what might be going on and how we can get out in front of a potential problem so you don’t need to repeat this resolution.
When people are starting new diets or plans in the new year, they often come out of the gates, gung ho on being perfect. So when perfection isn’t possible it’s normal to give up and go back to your old habits. This is why it’s so important not to set unrealistic expectations around perfection. We at Stronger U are a broken record on this topic, but it needs repeating. Not enough people know perfection isn’t required to do well. All that’s required is doing a bit better than before.
There are many reasons why your New Year’s resolution hasn’t stuck, but here are the top three most common reasons (and what you can do to get back on track). These are just a few of the common reasons people let their goals fall to the wayside and a brief mention of what to do about it. If you’re already struggling we want you to understand that is ok, but we want you to refocus. Eating better in the new year is a great goal that doesn’t require you to be a completely different person. It just asks you to put in enough effort and have realistic expectations of yourself, and what’s possible so you know you’re doing well.
Set Realistic Fat Loss Goals
If fat loss is the goal, let’s make sure we’re losing fat and not much else (such as muscle, which is tempered by eating enough protein and resistance training). Many other diets don’t necessarily care what you lose, whereas we do! Because of this, results may appear to be slower than what those wacky diets and magazines claim, but that doesn’t mean slow. Since our perception of slowness is influenced based on something unrealistic (other diets) anyway.
If you want to keep the momentum going, why not first identify what is possible for you and your lifestyle. Maybe that’s half a pound a week on average. Maybe it’s a little more. Either way, we want you to give yourself a reality check about what is possible. Sure, maybe you can lose 2,3, or 4lbs a week but at what cost? Hunger, poor relationships with food, and borrowed results? Eh, not worth it, I’d say. Lose the fat, retain the muscle, settle into this new way of eating so you don’t worry about the chronic ups and downs.
Check Your Support System
Lack of support may be another reason your results are at risk. We all know we do better with help, I mean it’s the reason we exist, so get some friends on board as well. Research shows the impact of an accountability buddy so focus on finding that friend, family member, or coach. When you’re the only one that has to answer to your goals, it’s easy to let them slip and slide away. We know eating well and changing can be a lonely journey so talk about your goals with people who can and will support them.
You’re Restricting Too Much Food
Restrictions, ugh. This is the name of the game in the dieting world. “We must eliminate certain things because those things are bad!!” We know how that typically goes. Tell someone not to do something and what do they do? They do that thing, or at least constantly think about it. This is why we are big proponents of flexible dieting. Do not eliminate your favorite foods but instead try to work them into your calorie goals. Now, of course, we probably can’t work in everything we want all the time, but knowing you can have SOME of it can help you feel less strict, which reduces pressure to be perfect.
It’s Not Too Late (Far From it!)
Studies show that 1 in 7 Americans will quit their resolution (most will quit before January 20th). If you’re feeling defeated because you haven’t stuck to your diet as closely as you had planned (or maybe you forgot that you even resolved to do it!), you’re okay! It’s not too late to get back on track and start working towards your goals.
Think of your effort and adherence as a dimmer switch and not an on/off switch. As long as the light is on, even a little bit, you are doing something to move you toward your goal. Sometimes the light will be bright, and sometimes dim, but as long as it’s on, you are good to go! If you’re looking for a sign to start focusing on your goals again, this is it! We are here to support and encourage you this January and the other 11 months of 2022 too!