Sorry, I know that title feels a little abrasive.
But hear me out.
We’ve all heard the joke about diet: “The first three letters are D-I-E!”
Traditional diets are designed to be a temporary mode of eating where you restrict the types and amounts of foods you’re intaking so that you can lose excess weight.
It sounds so easy when you read it on paper, but good God it can feel so difficult to actually pull off.
But if we take a moment to step back a little bit and really think about this, let’s ask ourselves why traditional diets feel so inherently miserable.
By the way, I am loosely defining “traditional diet” as one where you are increasing fruits, vegetables, and grains while decreasing fats, proteins, and meats. I most commonly hear this type of regimen as “eating healthier.”
Let’s jump into the reasons why the traditional diet is — to put it lightly — trash.
Traditional Diets Don’t Activate Your Body’s Fat-Eating Systems
Unfortunately, replacing moderate-to-large amounts of proteins and fats with moderate-to-large amounts of carbs, fruits, and veggies don’t really do the one thing you need your body to do…
Actually, if you eat enough fruits, veggies, and carbs, the opposite can happen.
Fruits contain a lot of natural sugars (but sugars nonetheless), which can get converted into stored fats if eaten in a certain amount.
A lot of non-green veggies contain carbs. And as we know, carbs eventually just break down into glucose (blood sugar).
So I hate to break it to you, but eating a bowl of light pasta as opposed to a cheeseburger may not be as much of a “game-changer” as you might think when it comes to losing weight.
I know, that’s crappy news. But it gets worse.
Traditional Diets Take Away Your Pleasure
This, for me, is the big one. This is why dieting or “eating healthier” has never, ever worked for me no matter how many times I tried.
When you eat in a way that robs you of your enjoyment for food, things feel bleak.
Yes, you value the idea of being thinner or getting healthier, but the here-and-now joy of food is so powerful that it frequently overrides our long-term goals.
I think that’s what bothers me the most about dieting — the idea that you have to do something difficult, unpleasant, and psychologically taxing in order to benefit your health and lose weight.
And here I am in my own little corner, losing 15 pounds a month by eating delicious-ass foods based on fat and proteins (and eventually I super got into greens).
If people only connected the dots between losing weight and pleasure-based eating, we’d all be looking like Channing Tatum by now.
(BTW I totally have a man-crush on Channing. This is probably something you should know about me).
Traditional Diets Don’t Fit Your Life
If “healthy eating” fit your life in a way that not only gave you deep satisfaction (like we talked about above) but also fit your everyday lifestyle, then you probably wouldn’t be here now reading this.
We’re human beings. We are able to experience so many types of foods, flavors, spices, meats, fats, confections, and indulgences. We enjoy all sorts of foods, even the “bad” ones.
And I think that should be absolutely celebrated.
Is there a way to eat “the whole gamut” of foods in a balanced method? Of course. Should we eat in a way that supports our overall health goals and macros? Absolutely.
But the hard truth is that you will 99% of the time do the things that actually fit your life, your rhythm, and your personality.
This means you need to invest into self-awareness, do a deep-dive on yourself to understand what makes you tick from a food and health perspective. And then find an eating plan or diet that honest-to-God fits into it.
After all, if you were just naturally into eating a rationed, balanced spread of fruits, vegetables, and grains (and assuming you don’t struggle with any body-image issues), you probably wouldn’t be in a position where you wanted to lose right, right?
Traditional Diets Require “Willpower”
I hate willpower.
Not because it’s not a valuable trait to have, but because there’s no way to naturally attain it, increase it, or develop its effectiveness over time.
And I’m not alone in feeling this way. Traci Mann, Ph.D., runs a health and eating laboratory out of the University of Minnesota. She calls willpower, “a mythical quality,” which sounds pretty accurate to me.
Dr. Mann says:
“Studies show that willpower, the thing we all blame ourselves for not having enough of, is in many ways a mythical quality and certainly not something that can be relied upon for weight loss.”
There is some good news, though, which comes in the form of this hot tip I have for you: Instead of focusing on willpower, work on your persistence. Persistence is simply making the choice to move forward towards your desired result over and over again.
Besides, even if you did lose weight through a traditional diet, do you have the “willpower” to keep the weight off and maintain this new health?
The real secret to weight-loss is understanding on a deep level that your journey really begins when you’ve reached your goal weight.
Do you have a plan in place for that?
Did you transition out of your diet slowly enough to where you didn’t pack back on all the weight you just dropped?
These are tough questions to ask ourselves in the mirror. But if they go unanswered, then all that “willpower” you used to lose weight will have been a total waste.
So then where does that leave us?
I guess I took my sweet time just to say this: Traditional dieting is not only ineffective at helping your body naturally burn fat, but it’s so joyless that it doesn’t provide the short-term pleasure responses that will keep you happy enough to stay consistent with it.
What you need instead is an eating plan that…
- Activates your body’s natural fat-eating system of ketosis
- Allows you to eat the fats, proteins, and greens that keep you happy and satisifed
- Easily fits into your lifestyle and palette
- Is so inherently enjoyable that it eliminates the need for “willpower” altogether
It’s for these exact reasons that I was unable to ever lose weight until I accidentally stumbled into an eating plan that caused me to lose 170 pounds in less than a year.
It was a diet that I actually enjoyed, and it made the process of losing weight feel light and breezy.
So if you’re someone who’s looking to lose weight, first of all, I offer my sincere congratulations to you for wanting to do something about your life situation. Recognizing what you want is such a huge first step.
But now that you know where you want to go, you need a method of actually getting there. So as you start thinking about what sort of eating plan to take on to help you achieve your weight-loss goal, run it against the checklist above to make sure what you’re doing is actually empowering you to easily lose weight.
Or if you’d like to learn more about an eating system that fits our “ideal model” to a tee, then feel free to check out this weird story of how I stumbled into dramatic weight loss almost by total accident.
In the meantime, just remember: The diet needs to not just work — it needs to fit.
Cale is the founder of Comfy Weight Loss, a cool little online community where he shows people how he lost 170 pounds in 11 months by eating delicious, fatty foods through a focused keto diet. It turns out that changing your life can be comfortable and enjoyable. To learn more or begin your own happy weight-loss journey, go to ComfyWeightLoss.com