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March 24, 2008

Why do diets fail (part 1)?

After reading some of the posts from the members of Spark People, I've decided to a do a mini series of posts on why diets fails.  So here we go with part one.... 

Unrealistic Expectations - I fell victim to this one myself.  We all want to believe that we can lose a pound a day, but it is just not going to happen.  So many times I've seen people get all enthusiastic with their plans and they have carefully made out some chart that shows how much they want to lose every week....and they have some unattainable goals.  The problem with setting a goal like '10 pounds a month' is that if you don't make your goal you feel demoralized because you failed....and it is a cascade affect that in your head sounds like this....

"Okay, I'm all fired up about this weight loss thing!  I'm really going to do it this time.  I've got my end of month weigh-in...and...oh, I missed the mark.  Instead of dropping 10 pounds, I only dropped 5.  hmmm...that's not too good.  But that cool....my weight is going in the right direction.  I can catch up next month....just need to work harder...eat less.  Yeah...I'm fired up about this weight loss thing....here we go!  Got my second end of month weigh-in....and....oh only dropped 2 pounds.  I'm supposed to be down 20 pounds at this point and I've only lost 7 stinking pounds?!  What gives?!  I can't workout any harder...I can't eat any less....or can I?  I could lower my calories a bit more...maybe increase my gym time.  I'll give that a try....yeah...that's probably all I need...I'll make it up next month...Okay, I'm all fired up about this weight loss thing!  I've got my end of month weigh-in....and.....oh...NOTHING!?  I LOST NOTHING?!  Seriously, what is wrong with me?!  I'm supposed to be at 30 pounds and I'm doing everything right....I'm so tired...I've worked so very hard....I give up....I can't do this....<cry><eat>."

Sound familiar?  This is a great example of how some one can use their own goals to CRUSH their spirit.  And if you are wondering....that was me a few years ago before I figured out what I was doing. 

The human body is an amazing thing.  Your ability to store energy in the form of fat is there to keep your alive.  So the body is greedy about its fat stores and doesn't like to give them up too easily.  I know you've seen it before...and I've posted it so many times but the average, normal, SAFE, max for weight loss is....

1 - 2 pounds a week for men

.5 - 1 pound a week for women

And those are maximums people...you are NOT going to hit that every week...and every now and then you will go over it. 

I once went a whole month once without dropping a pound.  Sure, I went back and checked my diet and workout plan to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong.  But when I saw that I was doing everything I was supposed to, I just kept at it and eventually the plateau broke. 

The point is, I didn't go crazy and start over restricting my calories or increasing my workout times so I could make some goal.  I had a good plan....so I kept at it.  I didn't let my goal become so important that it derailed my plan.  At least not this time.

Where do unrealistic expectations come from?  All over the place....

  • Commericals
  • TV Shows
  • Other People
  • Yourself

....just to name a few. 

One of my favorate places for unrealistic expectations comes from one of my favorate TV shows, The Biggest Loser.

While I love this show for its motivational value, I get concerned that people are watching this thing thinking to themselves that they could do that on their own.  They could lose 10+ in a single week....and then do it every week.  It is just not going to happen.

Weight loss is a slow process.  Once you accept that, then you are a step closer to success.  Because all you are going to get from beating your self over the head with unattainable goals is demoralized....and that's a big step toward failure.


Progress Report

Dropped a couple more pounds....down to 215 now.  For a total loss of 77 pounds.

My lovely wife, Heather and I bought a new freezer.  Actually we got it about a month ago...but I keep forgetting to mention it.  I make up over a week of meals and freeze them, so I don't have to think about it on days that I'm working.  The problem was that all that prepared food didn't leave much room for anything else.  So we got a small chest freezer so we had a place to put unprepared frozen items.  And after a month it has made life on the dieting front so much easier.  Anyone out there that is doing the 5-6 meals a day thing and needs to freeze stuff to take to work, I highly recommend you get a second freezer.

Still staying off the treadmill and using elliptical and bike to fill the gap in my cardio.  But I had to make a tweak.  I was doing 30 minutes of bike, then another 15 minutes on the elliptical.  Then after reviewing my Body Bugg read out, I saw that I was actually getting a better caloric burn with the elliptical.  So I switched them around.  I like it this way....the bike bores me to tears.

I hoped you all enjoyed last week's link to Power Thirst.  If you did...you will love BRAWNDO!

SuperPug NOTE:  Super Pug says that readers from Spark People need to be sure to check out the front page since you likely skipped it on the way in. 



Blogger Emma said...

Consider ditching the bike and replacing it with something more fun. The elliptical is much better at the calorie burn. At my gym a long time ago they had this aerobic arm exerciser. Like a bike for arms. i felt so silly doing it. It was entertaining that way..

March 24, 2008 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I've thought about it....but I like having a mix in there. And I'm only on it for 15 minutes. So if I do my elliptical first, then I'm just maintaining my burn rate with the bike.

March 24, 2008 at 3:15 PM  

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