Why Starting a Diet on a Monday isn’t always the best idea.
Have you ever made one of these statements?
“I’ll start Monday”
“I’ve already ruined my diet now – might as well carry on”
“Oh go on then it’s the weekend”
“I’ll have that for my cheatmeal”
“Might as well have both”
“I shouldn’t have eaten that”
What do the above statements all have in common? They potentially show an unhealthy relationship with food that could be stopping you from achieving weight loss long term. Food is there to be enjoyed, yet the foods that so many of us LOVE aren’t actually being enjoyed by us whilst we eat them.
We all know that to lose weight you need to take in less than you’re expending, yet so many of us forget this basic fact. I’ll give you an example:
Wednesday… 1200 calories
Friday …1200 calories
Ok so my example is a bit extreme, but we’ve all seen a similar pattern & perhaps been guilty of doing it ourselves (I know I have!).
The problem is that like a lot of things nowadays, a lot of us see dieting in extremes. We chose whatever our weight loss method may be “clean-eating”, “juicing”, “paleo” “weight watchers”, “Atkins” “Low GI” (the list goes on!). On Monday (the magic diet day) we stock our cupboards with everything we need & set aboard our new diet mission (often trying to convert others along the way by telling them how “fabulous” it is).
I’m not saying people don’t get good results on these diets, they often do, but how sustainable are they? Do they work for people long term? & what happens when something unexpected comes up? Do you smuggle your kale detox juice into the pub with all your mates? Or do you crack out your Tupperware at that family wedding meal? No – Chances are one of two things happen:
1. You fall off the diet wagon (& some of you may even get dragged along under it – hitting every bump on the way!) over indulging in more than you probably would’ve done had you not been on said diet in the first place.
2. You actually DO crack out your juice & Tupperware & then feel like you’re missing out on what everyone else is doing (to the horror of your friends & family who do not understand your crazy new diet).
We all know that “clean eater” who shovels down chicken, sweet potato & avocado all week but then on CHEAT DAY eats a large Domino’s pizza, ALL the sides & then washes it down with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s & 4 Pop Tarts like they’ve never seen food before.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of these foods (far from it, they’re delicious & all foods that I eat) but we often (sometimes selectively) forget that weight loss occurs through a reduction in OVERALL calorie expenditure (not just what you do Monday-Friday!).
Ask yourself this question – where’s the logical sense in eating food you might not enjoy all week with a view to lose weight to then completely undo that calorie deficit you’ve worked so hard to create in one foul swoop on a weekend? and has it ever occurred to you that this compulsion to really “go to town” on blowing your diet is being caused by the over restriction or lack of satiety coming from your repetitive diet during the week? Perhaps the diet you’ve been following all week has been too extreme & too far away from your regular lifestyle?
All that happens with this approach is that a vicious circle is created where you end up feeling bad for breaking your diet & then not enjoying that food that you’ve been longing for all week when you finally “cave” & overindulge at the weekend. This guilt then causes you to adopt another dramatic strategy for Monday & the cycle continues…..
I go back to my previous point – food is there to be ENJOYED! Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have a balanced approach where when you go out for that meal on a Friday night or when you ordered that takeaway & had that bit of ice cream you recognised it & actually took the time to savour it, finishing the meal thinking “that was great” rather than “I shouldn’t have had that bit of cake”?
Consistency is key when it comes to weight loss or “brilliant basics” as I call them. By setting small, realistic goals & making little changes that don’t require a dramatic rework of your current lifestyle you are much more likely to stay on track, be consistent, remain satisfied & therefore stand a much better chance of adhering to your diet & losing that weight you’ve been trying to shift.
That’s the beauty of flexible dieting, you make your diet work for you, your goals & most importantly what you like to eat! I cannot say it enough food is there to be enjoyed yet there are so many yo-yo dieters spending way too much time coming up with fancy & restrictive ways to make ourselves feel better for overeating foods that we probably wouldn’t overeat had we not demonised them in the first place!
Don’t get me wrong, ultimately if you want to lose weight there’s going to be an element of restriction but it doesn’t have to be as restrictive as you think. Yes there might be times in my diet when my food is more restricted & I might make different choices to ensure I get a decent volume of food for my calories. For example at the moment as I prepare for a photo shoot meals out in high fat restaurants are becoming much less frequent as they would in my “off season” & I’m having to plan my food a bit more carefully, but ultimately nothing is off limits & I am free to make that choice.
I’m not saying you should immediately become a flexible dieter (that may not be the approach for you) but If anything I’ve written above sounds like you then next time you decide you’re starting your “diet” ask yourself these questions:
– Why am I starting this?
– What am I hoping to achieve?
– How much of a change do I need to make to my current lifestyle?
-Is that change realistic?
-Am I going to be able to be consistent?
-Does this diet fit around my everyday lifestyle?
-How long can I keep this up for?
If you can think these things through beforehand you’re in a much better position for success & next Monday you could be admiring your results instead of starting your next diet!