Recently a health brand asked me to offer my insight into the world of dieting, particularly diets and health kicks which start in January. The creative juices flowed quicker than I can eat a jar of peanut butter (which is quick. Like, really quick), and it made me realise that I can rant with the best of them. Turns out said brand haven’t got back in touch since I gave them this brain-dump. A nice kick in the spuds there.
You only have to be a regular gym-goer to notice the difference come January every year. Gyms are absolutely rammed with people doing hours of dull cardio, followed by thousands of crunches. It’s a sorry sight. Even sorrier is just how long these health kicks seem to last.
So, why do people give up? For me, there’s two main reasons:
Diets are plastered all over the web and in magazines from December, you can’t avoid them. The problem is, so many of these plans are not sustainable. Drastically dropping your calories and upping your exercise, particularly cardio, is a certain step towards exhaustion. Basically just really shit advice. Many will deliver quick results, of course eating less calories or swapping food for shakes is go to. But the chances of long term success are slim (pun intended) to none.Motivation
Hundreds of diets promise quick results. Many of them deliver on that due to the above, but many don’t. If people don’t see results quick enough, the motivation to continue can disappear out of the window along with the over-priced gym gear they bought after seeing an advert on Facebook. This all links back to sustainability. If the diet isn’t sustainable in the long or even medium term, then how motivated are people likely to be to stick to it?
The other area of motivation is just how bad do people really want it? If they want to improve their health, then changing bad habits like the midweek takeaway and bottle of wine is essential. I also think the financial outlay of any diet is a factor. If you only throw £50 towards a plan then the chances are you’re not going to stick to it as it’s not a significant enough financial commitment…you get what you pay for.
The world of diets, particularly new year diets is broken. What can we do to fix it?
Basically we need to educate. That starts from young kids at school to adults who have become slaves to the “traditional” and recommended eating habits.
We need to understand more about the food that we’re eating, and how it can affect overall health. More “diets”, if we want to call them that, need to focus on the long-term, not overnight success. They need to be geared for sustainability. Even aiming for 1 pound of weight loss every week or two weeks would be an improvement, just think how that could improve health across a month, 6 months, and a year.
Then, with education and understanding, there’s balance along with a healthy relationship with food and drink.