top of page

Why a "Perfect Diet" doesn't work

When I meet with my fitness/nutrition clients to talk about the fitness goals they want to achieve - most of the time it's weight loss. I'll ask what has worked for them in the past and they will often reply with a list of diets or diet programs (keto, Weight Watchers, Optavia, Noom, etc.). My next question is, "So why isn't it working for you now?"

The answer - because no one wants to be on a diet forever. Which is why restrictive diets don't work long-term, nor should anyone be on a diet long-term unless it is medically necessary.

Let me first clarify what I mean by "diet". "Diet" meaning drastically cutting out one or more food groups or reducing one's calories with the sole purpose of rapid weight loss. Which is different from describing one's typical diet which is often based on foods with cultural, socio-economic connections and accessibility.

As a nutritional coach, my role isn't to forbid my clients of certain foods and make them follow a meal plan (determined by me). My responsibility is to help them make informed meal decisions so they can create realistic fitness goals AND help improve their overall health.

But, the reasons we choose certain foods can be complicated. We may see a food that we know we should limit but there are factors that influence our choices.

For example -

  • you have a date night with your partner who loves rich foods.

  • you had a stressful day and cake has a way of soothing you.

  • you don't want to insult mom by not eating her Sunday cooking.

  • your busy schedule doesn't allow you to cook, so you grab something quick.

  • you're on a medication that makes you hungry all the time.

Any of those reasons that throw a serious wrench in achieving your goals.

That's why, when coaching a client, I ask questions about her day-to-day and what influences her food decisions so we can identify them and tackle them with patience and understanding. Two things I always remind my clients - change takes time and aim for progress not perfection.

In a culture where we can order an item from Amazon and two days take too long to wait, giving ourselves the patience to (lose weight, lose inches, tone our bodies) can be difficult.

That's why it's important to look beyond the scale, the tape measure and at times even the mirror. Ask yourself - "What can I do consistently to help me live not just longer, but stronger? How do I can I support my independence as I age? How can I continue to enjoy the activities I love?"

Here's what my client and I work on together.

What 5-minute actions can she do to support her present and future wellness?

  • Maybe it's limiting alcohol to one glass instead of two when she goes out.

  • Maybe it's using 1-1/2 packets of sugar instead of 3.

  • Perhaps it's reducing the serving of her mom's mac & cheese.

  • Or maybe using half of her lunchtime to walk instead of shopping on Amazon.

When a client feels empowered to make healthier choices instead of dictating what she can or can't eat - it makes it easier for her to stay consistent.

Diets are short-term solutions to long-term habits.

Behaviors drive actions and behavior needs time to change and develop.

By helping my clients master small actions, those actions will eventually lead to big successes. And that won't be achieved in a 10-day detox.

22 views0 comments


bottom of page