I saw an advertisement yesterday that I thought was funny, mostly because it was a lie. The advertisement showed how most people diet compared to the way THEIR people diet.
We can skip the mumbo jumbo and get to the meat because frankly I think we all know that having good habits in place of bad habits is better.
So that’s not a new magical formula.
So what makes diets actually work?
That really depends on the clientele you can attract. I would argue that programs like Eat To Perform do the hardest work because many of our clients don’t come to us with obvious issues.
Said differently this isn’t their first diet and they aren’t going through the McDonald’s drive thru 3 times a day.
That’s the easiest client to work with in a way because virtually anything you do will help that person. As an example, if you can get that person going through the drive thru TWICE a day and moving more that one intervention can make a big difference for that person.
So it’s not a secret what makes diets work, it’s over consumption and then building in routines that allow you to under consume to lose weight and then eventually move calories to a normal place (not 3 times drive thru place, somewhere in the middle).
It’s not going to get them abs but might keep them out of the hospital longer.
So in a weird way the SILVER LINING right now is the fact that people have replaced a lot of their good habits and routines with bad habits.
Those bad habits often lead to over consumption and in a lot of cases a lower rate of exercise.
Which is weird because I don’t mean moving.
In fact, another silver lining around this whole situation is that we all seem to be moving more. Mostly walking, I feel like that is a habit that a lot of people are picking up (at least judging by the people we are trying to avoid each evening).
What is motivating all of these folks to get out more? Certainly the restless energy but also with food habits changing and with all of our routines off people are over consuming food and alcohol in a way they wouldn’t normally.
And we knew normal was bad (remember we had an obesity issue before this).
For many folks that have been stuck and plateaued for a long time and avoiding the scale they are going to be in for a bit of a rude awakening.
But in a way that’s a good thing.
Our commutes and our routines often hid the fact that we mostly under ate a lot of the time and over consumed some of the time.
What we know now is that given more opportunity most of us revert to eating like it’s the weekend all of the time.
So what makes diets work is getting a handle on calories when over consumption has gone too far.
The answer long term is not to just develop habits that have you eating low all of the time.
If you eat too low all of the time you never quite get to where you want to go.
If you eat too much all of the time you actually do feel pressure to be more active but in the end you can out eat that daily 1.5 mile walk with your family.
What does all of this mean?
Imagine it like it’s New Years except there is no end date.
New Years often gets a bad rap because many people actually do change their life for the better, even if they don’t reach some magical end weight.
That’s the issue we have right now, without that end date people are swimming in a pool of ambivalence and while better habits might be a good start it’s literally the most obvious step in establishing better routines.
Ironically over consumption stimulates metabolism in various ways, while that is the silver lining the important message people need to hear is that their routines need to be more flexible.
The other part of that equation is GRACE.
If you are struggling and in FUCK IT mode try and be mindful that a little grace might stop the bleeding and allow you to develop new routines that can get you back into a good groove.
My fear is that the ambivalence of not having an exact cut off date like January 1st is going to allow a lot of folks to get buried by their ambivalence.
So while the “secret to dieting” is over consumption and that’s not all bad in a limited dose I fear that without some accountability built in or some artificial end date people are going to dig a hole that will seem too hard to recover from.
I hope I am wrong but I think it’s going to be on the list of one of many things that was a casualty of this difficult time.