Why Diets Fail & How to Make Yours Work

Nobody’s perfect, especially me. We all have bad days, bad weeks, even bad months. It happens. To ALL of us. Even those of us who blog about getting fit.

Life’s a journey, right? Some days you just don’t have the willpower or the energy to live up to your own expectations. It happens to the best of use. Maybe your husband brought home an awesome bottle of wine, or you picked up some Sour Patch Kids when you took your kid to the movie last night.

Or maybe it’s 2:00 p.m. and you just realized that you haven’t had a single thing to eat all day, and Taco Bell is calling your name. Whatever the reason, my point is that at some point, you’re going to feel like you’ve “failed” that your diet is doomed, and you might as well just toss in the towel.

Why Diets Fail & How to Make Yours Work

But you don’t have to. There’s no reason that a single slip-up should completely derail your best efforts. Not unless you let it. I think that this is why it’s so important to realize that mistakes happen, and be prepared to deal with them when they inevitably do.

Know What Your Triggers Are

The first thing you need to do when you realize you need to get back on track (whether it’s been an hour or a week or a month), is to figure out exactly what got you off track in the first place.

And while it’s important to acknowledge that you will likely end up “falling off” the healthy wagon again (though that is NOT an excuse to keep on this path by any means), I have found that the more I pick myself up, the few times I fall down and stay down.

For me, it took realizing that my downfall was cake. Or cupcakes, or cake pops or even those cake-like cookies at the grocery store. If it looks even remotely like cake and I’m having a weak willpower day, I’m usually in trouble.

Look, I know that sugar is bad for me. Sugar makes me feel like I need to eat when I am not actually hungry.

And if I happen to be tired, or stressed out, or just having a bad day, then sugar is really tempting. Knowing this, I can try to combat potential slips by keeping dark chocolate in my freezer or coconut chips in my pantry. They’re sweet, but not the kind of junk that pushes me over the edge.

Maybe your downfall is salt. If that’s the case, you may want to keep plantain chips or tomatoes (that you can salt yourself) on hand. Or maybe keeping a bottle of soy sauce that you can use to douse whatever you are eating will help. It’s all about understanding what your body craves when its under stress or over worked.

Make the decision to snack one that won’t push you over the proverbial edge.

Understand That Life Happens

After our Whole30, I was doing well. We all were. And then Ish had a birthday. And then Smalls had a birthday…and well. Cake. Because I like cake. And while the cake was gluten free, it definitely wasn’t what my body needed. And after a few too many slices, my body told me so.

How did I know this? Well, I felt like crap. And I found that suddenly my pantry was filling with crap again. Granted, it was gluten free…but that doesn’t make cookies, pretzels, and other “snacky” foods okay. If doing the Whole30 taught me anything it’s that my body really doesn’t need to snack.

Granted, it was gluten free crap, but it was still crap. Just because something is labeled ‘natural’ or ‘gluten free’ or dairy free’ doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for you. Trust me on this. All of the cookies, pretzels, and other “snacky” foods I bought were complete junk. They were not healthy for me, and definitely not helping my goals.

If doing the Whole30 (twice!) has taught me anything it’s that my body really doesn’t need to snack, at least not on packaged foods that aren’t great for me anyway.

Now, it’s okay to have something sweet once in awhile, but I found it very telling that I didn’t crave sugar at all on the Whole30 but after two rounds of birthday cake? I couldn’t get enough. So obviously, that’s a problem and sugar is something that I should avoid.

If you find that you keep getting knocked off track, then now’s the time to figure out what that annoying thing is and make a point to not let it derail you again. I know cake is my downfall, so now I bring a Larabar or other snack when I have to go to a party. And we do a single cupcake for birthdays because I literally cannot have just one.

organized pantryGet Organized

While I’m pretty good at reading labels and being careful about avoiding the things that I know I shouldn’t be eating, I definitely need to be more careful.

So this past weekend I tossed all the packaged junk and decided that enough is enough.

Out went the cookies, crackers, and the last of the beans (they give me horrible stomach aches!).

I even tossed the peanut butter, and the last of the cheese (when I said I fell off the wagon, I wasn’t kidding, y’all!).

I spent time organizing my pantry, my refrigerator, and even my spices. I washed out all of my air tight mason jars and added some cute chalkboard labels. Now I won’t mix up my almond meal and almond flour.

And you know what? I love having a clean and organized kitchen. I look forward to preparing meals and spending time in there. I can see what I have and know that whatever I reach for isn’t going to give me a headache or make my stomach hurt.

In fact, I’m already feeling better.

Be Smart About Goals

Big goals are great. They help us get excited and stay motivated. Of course, I want to lose the 50 pounds so I can get a new tattoo (or jacket, or tickets to that concert that you’re drooling over)! But 50 pounds is a big goal. Instead of setting monster-sized goals, break them down into something more attainable.

For example, instead of setting a weight goal, try telling yourself that you’ll eat at home 6 out of 7 days this week. Or maybe you’ll practice yoga 3 times. Set small, measurable, and attainable goals that you can achieve so that you’ll be excited to smash the next one (and make the next one a little bit bigger). Pretty soon, you’ll be waltzing into that tattoo parlor with your idea and you’ll also have the benefit of having lost the weight without all that stress.

Pretty soon, you’ll be waltzing into that tattoo parlor with your idea and you’ll also have the benefit of having lost the weight without all that stress.

Give Yourself Grace

When you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Grace is something that you hear about in church…but do you really practice it? It’s time to start. Instead of dwelling on a slip (no matter how big), follow these four simple steps and get yourself back on track. Here they are again, just in case you missed them:

  1. Look at the why. Write it down if you have to.
  2. Figure out how you can get back on track.
  3. Toss the crap. All of it.
  4. Set some small goals and write them down. 

Then, just put one foot in front of the other. Take pictures, make healthy food, and do your best. It’s all any of us can do.

What are YOUR goals? Share them with me below!

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  1. Lindsay on August 3, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    It’s okay to fall off now and again, the important part is recognizing where you went wrong, and getting back on a positive track.

    Needed to read this, thanks Brea! Xo

    • Brea on August 3, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      I’m glad I could help! It’s a journey 🙂

  2. the crunchy mommy on August 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    ummm… did you write this for me?!?!?!

    seriously, i struggle with this like every other week. i’m sooooo inconsistent these days!!!

    which is what one of my august goals is:
    1. plan out my days the night before
    2. workout a minimum of 20 min daily
    3. breathe
    4. get my house in order

    • Brea on August 3, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      YAY!! I totally skipped my Instagram posts today-by the time I remembered all I’d taken a photo of was my dinner. I was HANGRY! But I did check off the rest of the list!! How was your day?

  3. Karen Patten on August 8, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    A journey – definitely! And the sugar…I completely relate!!! When I keep it out, I feel amazing! And it always tricks me into thinking I can have just a tiiiiiiiiny bit. Liar. But yes, some days are better than others – even for those of us blogging about health and wellness. I love your the meditation goal.

    • Brea on August 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      I absolutely love meditation!!

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