7 Tenets of Highly Ineffective Dieting

Ask any fitness professional what the most powerful predictor of success is for their clients and without a doubt, the response you’ll most often hear is: mindset.

Quite simply, people who achieve their goals do so because failure is not an option. Setbacks? Sure, everyone goes through periods of not achieving what they had hoped for, but failure? Nope. At least not in the long-run. Conversely, people who are unsuccessful have a million and one reasons for why they can’t get it done.

Having worked as both a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I’ve heard countless excuses as to why people can’t exercise, can’t eat healthy, don’t sleep properly… you get the idea. Frankly, if you’ve spent more than 5 minutes working in the health and fitness industry, you’ve likely already encountered a lifetime’s worth of excuses.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who seek my expertise, yet after chatting for 20 seconds it’s readily apparent that they only want me to affirm what they already believe. Newsflash! If your current way of doing things worked so well, you wouldn’t be seeking out an expert in the first place!

Making a significant transformation is tough enough to begin with. Compounding the difficulty by starting the process with entirely the wrong attitude is sheer lunacy.

The next time you decide it’s “time” to improve your body and your life, do yourself a favour and avoid these transformation killing diet excuses. Your body transformation efforts will thank you.

1.   I don’t have time to prepare healthy meals.

Really? You can’t take 30 minutes out of your busy schedule to grill 7 chicken breasts for the week while cutting up a week’s worth of vegetables and putting them in grab-and-go Ziploc baggies? It must really suck to have a full 168 hours booked solid every week. Oh wait! You’ve somehow found the time to read this article, which means you have free time.

2.   I don’t eat vegetables.

This is akin to saying, “I don’t like sunlight” or “I don’t enjoy breathing”. Good luck achieving optimal health by forsaking either of those and see how you do. Wake up people! Vegetables should be the foundation of every healthy person’s diet. Low in calories, packed with vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, they help you manage your blood sugar, are loaded with chronic-disease preventing phytochemicals, they help improve both your sodium-potassium and acid-base balance… stop me when I stumble upon something that wouldn’t help you look or feel better.

Maybe it’s time you started moving away from having the taste bud sophistication of a 4-year old? On that note…

3.   My kids/spouse/invisible friend won’t eat __. So I just eat what they eat.

That’s some mighty sound logic. I’m sure your kids don’t like going to school either and your spouse isn’t overjoyed about having to work every day, but somehow they manage. Besides, since when was it appropriate to let the food preferences of a 3-year old dictate the foods we put into our bodies?

Come to think of it I’ve never heard of someone in a  3rd-world country suggest that the prospect of going through life without chocolate, ice cream, chips or soft drinks would seriously compromise their quality of life. Nor do they endorse Pop Tarts or Eggo Waffles as appropriate breakfast foods. Something about food scarcity that brings out common sense…

4.   I don’t have time for, nor do I feel hungry at, breakfast.

Impressive. You must be a hell of a lot more muscular than everyone else and have some sort of iron willpower. Oh wait… you didn’t know that people who skip breakfast demonstrate a greater rate of muscle catabolism (that’s muscle loss) and experience more intense hunger and cravings for refined carbohydrates late in the day? Well maybe it’s time you took some steps to correct this problem.

If you have the time to dress yourself, apply deodorant and brush your teeth before heading out the door, then surely you can find 30 seconds to drink a protein shake or eat a homemade energy bar. For anyone serious about a great body, a healthy breakfast is a priority, not an option.

5.   Everything is ok in moderation.

Moderation eh? If there has been a single word that has done more damage to people’s health than ‘moderation’, I have yet to find it. Seriously, what does moderation even mean? Once a day? Once a week? Once a month?!? How can fruit, dessert, saturated fats and coffee all be ok in moderation?!?!? Simple answer – they aren’t. Depending on your physiology and health/aesthetic goals, there are pretty clear amounts of each of these substances that should be in your diet.

Do yourself a service, screw “moderation”. Do things properly; moderation is just an excuse for bad habits.

6.   Eating healthy is expensive.

Compared to what? Eating nothing but macaroni and cheese and Walmart Cola?

Personally, I find the idea of managing chronic disease by cramming myself full of prescription medications expensive. Last I checked spending $2/day on a cholesterol lowering drugs, $4.50/day on diabetes medication or an additional $3/day on anti-hypertensives is not a cheap way to live.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather spend an extra dollar or two buying healthier foods, than get stuck footing a prescription drug bill.

Besides, eating healthy can be cheaper than you think. For some ideas check out:

1. Have You Hugged a Farmer Today?

2. Get Shredded for $6

7.   I have bad genetics

So what! Many people do. In fact, many of the top nutrition and fitness coaches in the business have pretty crappy genetics. But instead of resigning themselves to a lifetime as the “fat kid” they’ve figured out strategies that help themselves and those they work with develop a lean, healthy physique.

Does looking and feeling great mean you have to forgo nightly desserts, unlimited beer and horrors of all horrors, actually set aside time to work out? Your damn right it does! However, it’s a small price to pay to actually feel great about yourself.

Remember, everyone has a million reasons for why they aren’t successful. However nothing of significance is ever accomplished by dwelling on the reasons for why “you can’t” do something.

Instead of falling prey to the same old destructive thinking that is sabotaging your efforts, try focusing on figuring out how “you will” accomplish something. It’s amazing how this one tiny change in mindset can make even the biggest obstacles seem manageable.

No one ever said that getting in great shape was easy. But with the right mindset, guidance and support, taking control of your health is well within your reach.

What are your thoughts?

Have you heard any excuse that you think deserves to make this list? I’d love to hear it.