I am trying this new diet. Have you heard of it?
Written by Andrew Meyer
Six reasons why it may not work
During my Personal Training career, I have sampled most diet plans out there. Not to make a drastic body transformation, but to educate myself. To learn the psychology, experience the physical hurdles and discover what it takes to follow these diets in order for them to work. I found that having this knowledge first-hand, prepared me in advance of the inevitable questions my clients would ask, about the new fad diet they are about to try.
Most of these diets are popularised by weight loss, even if that was never the intention. They may have been created to improve the symptoms of a serious illness. Now they resonate through the stomachs and minds of those that want to lose weight, or change the aesthetics of their bodies. Why? Because people are in constant search of a diet that works for them. So books are written about these diets, backed up with ‘scientific data’ to prove they work. And yes, most do work. But the who, how, what, when and how many is not published. Instead, we are made to believe that every person who tries any specific diet, gets the desired results.
There is a common denominator with all these diets and why they can actually work. It is that you will probably eliminate ‘bad foods’ with healthier options. These options will contain optimal nutritional benefits, for whatever your goal is. For example, less calories to lose body fat. Why these diets do not work for the majority of people who try them is this:
1. Psychological Barrier
Your eating habits come from your head, not your stomach. Therefore it is extremely hard to create a new eating habit, or to eliminate one. All the research (and the clever words within the diet books you read), may convince you at the time that you can eat that way. However, after a few days you will not be so certain.
2. Energy Demands
If diets were more specific to the physiological and demographic demands of the consumer, there would still be an extreme generalisation. The reason for this, is that if identical twins had different lifestyles (inclusive of work, exercise, sleep and social life) their energy demands would not be identical. So if a diet will not necessarily work the same for siblings, how can you expect it to work for you, simply because it worked for a minority number who tried it?
3. Time Restraints
It would be unrealistic to assume that the time taken to follow all diets, is the same. I am not talking about how long it takes to get results. That depends on your goals. I am talking about the time spent purchasing produce, meal preparation and even the time of day restriction, in order to eat a meal. These time restraints can cause inconsistencies in the diet plan. This then creates the possibility of failure to achieve the results desired.
You should know that most diets require you to prepare your meals. If you are a business executive, like my clients, you have a problem with this. You work long hours, have meetings in various locations throughout your day and travel for business regularly. Even if you had the time to prepare your meals daily or weekly, having them with you whenever you need them is almost an impossible task.
5. Food Preferences
Some diets can be very specific as to what you are eating. You may not like eating that, or have a intolerance to this. It might even be simply too difficult to source an item, as your local supermarket does not supply it. So what usually happens is that you replace it with a food that you usually eat, which then eventually ends up as your own version of the diet.
6. Consistency Failure
To make a diet really work fast, you need consistency. How long you need to be consistent, depends on how far off your goal you are. Inconsistency creates momentum away from your goals. You will have times that you cannot follow your diet. For example, social events or business travel. Whenever this occurs, cracks begin to form in your consistency.
So if you want to follow a diet which you feel psychologically, physically and socially resonates with you and your lifestyle, then great, as it will probably work. But, if you are trying it because a friend or colleague recommended it, then you are playing the diet lottery and the odds of succeeding are not good.
That optimal diet plan that works for you, may be a lot of trial and error. Instead of wasting all that time and energy, simply eat according to a calorie allowance. That should be complemented with the macro-nutrients divided, according to the results needed. This way you will not have to make drastic changes to your current diet and lifestyle.