How to make your diet actually work

20 April 2017 by
First published: 14 August 2016

It is possible: here’s how to make a diet actually work.


‘Diet’ is a word that often brings up more questions than it answers. But what is a diet, really? Why do I put on weight after or even during a diet? Why do diets make me crave the wrong foods? Why can’t I stick to it? Why do I fail? To get to the bottom of it all, we have to understand how the word ‘diet’ is used – or misused – in today’s society, and how we should really be using it.


In the majority of cases, the aim of a diet is to shed fat and lose weight. That’s all very well; we take the aim of ‘weight loss’ and apply a carefully-selected eating plan to our lifestyle to help us achieve this aim. But, so often is the case, our aim now becomes ‘the diet’. Striving to ‘not eat that’, ‘eat more of this’, or ‘avoid that’.


This is the first downfall. Diets are seen as transitory in today’s society – short term and to be endured for a set amount of time. But our weight loss goal is something we want to last long term. Not quite adding up, is it?


So, now our minds are fixed on a short term, transitory goal of getting through this diet, we come to the second issue: the nature of the diet. Because we’re not considering this diet to be upheld for the rest of our lives, we accept conditions we normally wouldn’t, perhaps thinking we can put up with them for ‘X’ amount of time. You know the kind: eat only this type of food, avoid food at this time, eat miniscule amounts of food 16 times a day, chant to your lettuce leaf before you eat it and make sure you chew it 86 times… or at least that’s what it all begins to feel like.


Weight loss causes not only physical changes in our body but also chemical and emotional ones which can sometimes make us feel a bit off, and the very last thing you need is the self-inflicted mental battle of forcing yourself to through all these barriers your diet has created in your life.


On the subject of mental battles, we come to the third issue of diets: they often restrict, forbid and stipulate what you can and can’t eat, and when. This is pressure whichever way you look at it. And we all know, no matter how strong and resolute your determination is, pressure will pick away at it until eventually you’re miserable and exhausted just trying to keep everything in the air (trust me, been there!).


So, what do we do to avoid these three problems and achieve the real long term goal of being happy and healthy?

  1. KNOW your reasons and motivations before you begin. Is it to feel more confident in yourself, achieve better health, or get into that sexy little outfit that’s been sitting in your wardrobe for ages? Feel it deep down and get excited about it – positive changes are exciting! And make sure these motivations are what you think of each day as you make your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  2. CHOOSE an eating plan which fits your work, time and lifestyle and has the least barriers for you, and is something you could see yourself keeping for the foreseeable future. This is a long term thing – make it as easy as possible!
  3. MAKE your goals small and your method of achieving them realistic. If quinoa salads and kale juice aren’t your thing, find something that is! Healthy eating shouldn’t be a case of restricting and forbidding, it’s about rediscovering food and you should enjoy it!


Happy eating, folks!