It doesn’t exist.
I got you didn’t I? Great way to start things off, huh?
Not too long ago, I would have dropped what I was doing to read this article because I wanted results and I wanted them NOW.
There aren’t too many diets or meal plans I haven’t tried. I always claimed it was for experience and an opportunity to connect with clients. If I’m 100% honest, it had nothing to do with clients and everything to do with the fact that I wanted results. Paleo, shake-only diets, intermittent fasting, Keto – you name it, and I’ve probably attempted it.
I know I’m not alone in this because we live in a society that wants results yesterday. We move through life at such a fast pace where if we don’t have results that keep up with our zip-zip pace, it must be someone or something else’s fault. It’s no wonder I jumped from diet to diet.
Now, I don’t have any official statistics on how long I personally stuck with each meal plan, but I would estimate an average of about five weeks. At around the five week mark, I was so frustrated with the lack of results I began the search for the next best thing.
Advertisers and marketing departments clearly understand the desire for immediate results, and have mastered the art of capturing your attention and making you feel like their plan is the next hot thing guaranteed to give you results.
These advertisers lead you to believe they have the secret to weight loss, but here’s my secret, if anyone guarantees you results, RUN.
Think about it, without even knowing you let alone all the details of what makes you, YOU, they are guaranteeing weight loss. How can they sensibly do that?
They can’t. But it’s an attractive offer.
That offer is way more attractive than the “let’s evaluate what you’re currently doing for nutrition, exercise, sleep, and hydration; come up with an initial plan; and then we’ll continue to modify based on the results we see and how you feel.”
Not a single part of that above statement promises results, yet that is a classic statement made by a health and lifestyle coach. That statement suggests a diet that takes time and work. That statement suggests there is a PROCESS in order to get to results.
We all know the saying “trust the process.” So why is it that in school, work, and relationships do we accept that there is a process, but in nutrition the only process we care about is the one that will drop us the pounds as fast as possible?
Personally, and probably for most reading this, I didn’t trust the process because I didn’t trust myself to make it through the process. I was afraid to take a chance on something a little bit different and outside of my comfort zone. The thought of starting something like this and not seeing eight to ten pounds drop off the first week terrified me. Way too many times had I failed before that I couldn’t even describe how afraid I was to potentially fail again.
This is the point where we’re faced with a choice to step out of our comfort zone or go after that magic pill from the paid advertisement. There are so many emotions surrounding this decision, that it’s important you consciously remove the emotion.
How do you do that?
- Write out a pros and cons list including the absolute best and worst things that could happen to you with each option.
- Ask questions and seek out more information about each.
- Write out why each option captured your attention.
- Get specific on what it is that you truly want and WHY you want it.
If you truly eliminate all emotion, including fear, from the decision-making process, you will successfully make the right choice for you. Whether you chose the lifestyle coach or the magic pill, it’s time for change.
Change is hard, like really hard. If you want to simplify change, then you need to implement one thing – consistency.
Sure, you made the tough decision to start a diet again, but being consistent in that diet is the real challenge. Think back to every other time you’ve started – you’re so hyped up to start that you’re darn near perfect on day one and likely all the way through day five. Then the weekend hits and everything blows up.
Change and results don’t happen after day one, not even after day five. Quit burning yourself out by trying to perfect a healthy lifestyle in week one. Do your best to regularly implement healthy strategies throughout that first week. Yes, your results will come a bit more slowly, but you didn’t get to this point overnight so don’t expect your results to come after one perfect day.
Now you’ve made the choice to change and you’ve been consistent for three weeks, but your results are way more disappointing than you expected. Weeks three through five are some of the most challenging and what I view as the determining factor for someone’s success.
My advice? Patience young grasshopper.
Just as I said you were not built overnight, you also were not built in three weeks. Some of the habits you are trying to change or break have been a part of your life for years, maybe your entire life.
The first line of this blog said instant results were not a thing, and it’s something to be reminded of in weeks three through five – the program for instant results does not exist. Take the time to remind yourself daily of the small victories that come as a result of your consistency – the healthy lunch you had, getting up before work for exercise, or getting to bed an hour earlier. Take a picture to compare where you were at before you started. You are progressing and change IS happening, unfortunately, our body has it’s own timetable and does not always like to fill us in on the details.
Paired with commitment, but recommended throughout the entire journey is commitment. Consistency and patience are hard, but often times nothing is more important in the journey to health than commitment. This can add more tough decisions, difficult conversations, and owning up to our decisions. Commitment to the journey happened when you made the choice to start. But it is demonstrated in week three when you’re so down about results but you choose patience and trust in the process. Commitment is when you are SO CLOSE to the goal but you’re wanting nothing more than to have a cheat meal with friends, yet you choose to stick to the meal plan for just a while longer.
Over the weekend, I took the Level 1 course with the Nutritional Coaching Institute with Jason Phillips and Travis Zipper. Jason was talking about commitment and compliance, and mentioned that with his clients who have major goals, he lays out with them exactly how tough this process could get, keeps a record of what they talked about, and brings it out when he knows when the individual is just about ready to throw in the towel.
Personally, I know the decision to start, week three, and just before the goal is reached are real tests of my commitment. Look at your history and identify when you’re most likely to give up. Write out how difficult this process could get, and get specific. Look at it whenever your commitment is tested, whether that’s a few times during your journey, once a month, every Friday after work, or every morning when you get up. Remind yourself that you knew the journey would be a challenge, but follow it with why you started in the first place.
How do I know if my diet really isn’t working? If it’s really not working for you, it’s wrong for me to tell you to tough it out and force results, so here is how you know you might not have found the answer yet:
1. You hate it
2. It creates more stress in your life
3. Less energy for daily activities
4. It’s not realistic for your long-term lifestyle.
5. Medical issues
Consistency, patience, and commitment don’t always present scale results, so here’s how are non-scale signs you should look for to be sure your plan is working for you:
1. Improved energy
2. Better mood
3. Improved sleep
4. Better workouts and performance
5. Cleaner or healthier skin, hair, and nails
6. Recover and feel better
7. Clothes fit better or looser
8. Feel less bloated
9. Minimized cravings
10. Less mid-afternoon crashes
You read this blog in search of results, and like most you want them NOW. My challenge to you is to look for more than just a band-aid or quick fix and find something you can keep up with long-term.
Oh, what happened with my story?
I failed hundreds of times after that and will fail hundreds of times in the future, but choosing the long-term route is still the best decision I could have made for my health and goals.