Why Is It So Hard To Stick To Diet?
Just saying the word “diet” brings about fear and dread in most people. The idea of giving up your favorite foods, having to eat boring “health food,” and the constant need to force yourself to stay motivated all so you can have a better body leads countless people to search for ways to avoid “dieting” all together.
The reason diets are so challenging is they typically require sacrificing what you love, making changes to your typical routine, and going against every natural emotional inclination to eat whatever you can and enjoy life to the fullest.
So does that mean a person has to decide between sticking with a diet or being happy? Not at all!
As someone who’s successfully gone from eating fast food every single night, to sticking with a healthy diet and lifestyle for the past 8 years, I can tell you that I’ve never been happier. In fact, you couldn’t pay me money to going back to how I was eating before. At this point, eating a junk food diet would be more time consuming, miserable, and difficult than sticking with my healthy eating habits.
But my dieting success doesn’t mean much to you unless you can learn from it. So keep reading to discover a few of the secrets I’ve picked up that have allowed me and fellow fitness enthusiasts to stick to their diet, get incredible results, and most importantly love every second of it!
Secret 1 – Change The Meaning Of “Diet”
The very word “diet” can be looked at and defined a couple ways. It can either mean a restricted way of eating, typically for weight loss or better health. Or it can simply mean “the way one eats.”
I prefer to think of it as the latter where:
Diet = Your regular eating habits
When you look at it this way, you’ll see a “diet” not as something you must “go on” (and therefore be tempted to come off), but rather as something you’re already on.
This completely changes your approach to dieting because it’s now simply about making adjustments to what you’re currently doing. You now start focus on your eating habits. Habits are what you do naturally and effortlessly. Therefore by shifting your habits, eating well can become a normal part of your routine.
For instance, if you eat out at a restaurant each weekday for lunch, how easy is it to simply order a side of steamed vegetables rather than a side of french fries? It’s just one minor change to what you’re already doing that will eventually add up to give you significant results over time.
The other benefit of focusing on your habits is that habits tend to stick. So if you can make healthier eating choices a habit, it won’t be something you have to constantly “force” yourself to do.
Even better is that you get to keep your leaner physique, improved health, stronger immune system, more energy, and other benefits from eating better for as long as you keep up those habits. After all, what good is it to “go on” a diet and get great results only to “come off” of that diet and end up losing everything you’ve worked so hard for?
Secret 2 – Find Your “Whys”
While there’s a lot of books written on motivation and motivational techniques, a lot of it can be summed up as having a big enough reasons “why” you’re doing something. This includes reasons why you want to change your old diet, and reasons why you want to stick to a better diet.
The problem for most people is their “whys” aren’t very good.
If you ask someone, “why do you want to stick to a diet?” they may reply “because I want lose some weight.”
While this may be true, it is what I consider a “surface level why.” It’s usually the first thing that comes to someone’s mind, but it’s not very motivating in itself.
Instead, they can keep asking “why” to dig even deeper until they hit upon reasons that resonate with their values.
“Why do I want to lose some weight” – “Because I want to be able to play with my kids.” – “Why do I want to be able to play with my kids?” – “Because it would bring me and my kids a lot of joy” – “Why do I want to bring my kids joy?” – “Because being a good parent is incredibly important to me, and I want to raise my kids in the best possible environment and set a good example for them.” Etc.
As you can see from this example, a person can start tapping into some seriously deep reasons for eating better and losing weight such as being a good parent, setting a good example for their kids, providing a deep sense of joy in themselves and in others, etc.
These reasons “why” are much stronger than just “to lose weight.” You can also see from the previous example how motivating this would be for someone who values their family.
For you however, you’ll have your own set of values and things that you’re passionate about. You must find how sticking with a diet will help you live in line with what you value deeply.
So start to ask “why will having a poor diet hurt me?” in addition to “why will changing or sticking to a better diet help me?”
Be sure to consider things that are both directly and indirectly affected by your diet. This could be work, family, relationships, hobbies, etc.
Keep asking “why” your motivations are important until you tap into reasons that really resonate with you on a core level.
Another tip is whenever you’re faced with a junk food temptation and know you should eat something better, remind yourself of your motivations by saying “I choose to avoid this junk food because…. and I choose to enjoy this healthier food because….”
By inserting the word “because” followed by your personal “whys” whenever you’re avoiding something or making an alternative choice, it keeps you focused on your deepest motivations for making a change.
Secret 3 – Make It “Easier”
This sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many people set themselves up for failure from the start. If you look at how some people make a New Year’s Resolution, they may say something like “I’m going to cut out all sugar, eat a salad everyday for lunch, go to the gym 5 times a week, run every morning, etc.”
While doing all of these things are great, imagine someone trying to add all those things into their life if they’re not doing any of those things currently. Now consider this person may have many other commitments and priorities that they’re going to have to fit all these new behaviors around. What are the odds they’re going to succeed?
Making any change creates a stress response. And if you’re already overly stressed out with other things in your life, then making a bunch of changes to your diet all at once is too much for the body and mind to handle.
A great way to get around this is to focus on what you realistically can do, and keep that up.
I like to focus on changing one habit a month. That is, pick out only one thing you’d like to improve like:
- Replace sugary drinks with water (or replace 1 drink a day with water and build up from there)
- Learn one new recipe a week
- Drink a vegetable smoothie for breakfast 3 times a week.
Then only focus on doing that one new thing for a month straight before adding something else new in. Consider this a “30 day challenge.”
By only having to focus on one new behavior, a person can easily succeed and establish that behavior as a habit. They can then keep building upon these habits month after month. Then a year later, their whole life is transformed. But because it happened one step at a time, they never got overwhelmed in the process.
Remember, the best diet is the one you can actually stick to. So while it may not always be “easy” to make a change in your life, particularly when it comes to dietary habits, it can oftentimes be “easier” than you may expect it to be when you take an intelligent approach that works with your psychology and lifestyle rather than against it.
Get The Book – How To Stick To A Diet
While these 3 secrets alone are incredibly powerful, they’re really only scratching the surface.
If you’d like to learn more about the deep inner psychology of how to motivate yourself to stay on a diet, than the book “How To Stick To A Diet” is your answer.
It contains the latest cutting-edge information from cognitive psychology, adult learning, and behavior psychology broken down into easy to apply everyday steps for people to use to finally stick with a diet of their choosing for life.
In it you’ll learn:
- The giant myth about how “diets don’t work” and why it’s both true and false!
- The 4 hidden emotional drives that drive all of your behavior and how you can “tap into” them for unstoppable motivation
- A simple “language hack” that can instantly stop junk food cravings!
- Why screwing up can sometimes be the best thing you can do, and how you can make sure mistakes enhance rather than destroy your motivation!
- A little known way to “hack” your brain so you “flip the switch” to crave healthy foods and be repulsed by junk food.
- The real reason people crave sugar and junk food, and how 2 inexpensive products at a grocery store can be your answer to ending junk food cravings once and for all!
- Why willpower alone is not enough to stick to a diet and the “missing link” you need to use instead!
- How the psychological principle of “reactance” may secretly sabotaging your dieting efforts. Learn how to use it to boost your motivation rather than hinder it.
- Bonus: The most powerful technique for improved health and rapid sustainable weight loss!
- Much, much more!
By: Derek Doepker