“I’ve tried every single diet and I can’t lose weight.”
That was a comment I received this morning.
And it’s definitely not the first time (and certainly won’t be the last).
What if we rearrange that statement to something a little more accurate …
“I can’t lose weight because I’ve tried every single diet.”
Ahh, there we go.
This is a common example of where the perceived solution (diets) is actually causing the problem (not being able to lose weight).
POP is about to turn 5 years old in about 1 month and we’ve worked with thousands of individuals over the years.
Every single person has had a unique set of circumstances and a unique game plan to accommodate those circumstances.
What many of them have in common is …
They tried a bunch of diets and were struggling to lose weight.
And yet, each dieting attempt has only made it more difficult.
Why does losing weight become more challenging with each dieting attempt?
Because of the mental and physical impact of dieting.
The physical impact is best described as stress overload.
If you want your body to respond, it needs to feel safe. It needs adequate resources to handle the demands that you’re placing on it.
Dieting is a demand. It’s a major stressor. Training is a demand. Work is a demand. Fighting with your spouse is a demand. Worrying about your kids is a demand. Cardio is a demand.
So where are the resources?
Well, if you’re doing a diet program, you’re likely very low on resources (energy / calories). So your metabolism is going to do what it does best …
Keep you alive.
It’ll do that by down regulating and preserving energy from other systems in the body … like shutting down your immune system, sex hormones, digestion, etc.
If you feel like you can’t lose weight the diet is often the problem, not the solution.
What about mentally?
Look no further than the original comment … “I’ve tried every single diet and I can’t lose weight.”
Mentally, you feel broken. You feel like a failure. You feel like something is fundamentally wrong with you. Belief is gone.
I know because I used to feel that way too.
There’s this tug-of-war when you REALLY want to look better and feel better and yet you have this fundamental belief that it CAN’T happen.
It makes you afraid to even try. You start playing that same narrative in your head that you can’t be successful.
So how do we fix it?
Simple … we flip the script.
Once you understand that all of the diets caused the problem, you can stop looking for another diet to create the solution.
You need to close the stress gap that dieting created.
Increase the resource side of the equation. That may mean you need to train less. We work with a lot of highly driven individuals who want to bust their asses at the gym 7 days per week.
Once we get them working out a bit less and taking more time for recovery, low intensity movement, and sleep …
They see major progress.
You probably need to eat more. Especially if you’re not willing to cut back on training. You damn well better fuel to support those demands.
You probably need to focus more on restorative activities.
Your metabolism will respond exactly how you want it to if you simply provide it with the resources to meet the demands you’re placing on it.
If you’re not progressing, it’s likely because the stress equation is out of balance.
Even if you’re struggling with consistency, it’s likely the same answer. Because it’s really difficult to stay consistent when you’re constantly stressing your system.
Mentally, you gotta stop viewing this as a race to the finish line. You have to embrace the long game.
You have to look at the habits and behaviors that will serve you forever.
Don’t do another bullshit diet program.
- How about focusing on gradually improving food quality over time?
- How about eating enough based on your individual needs?
- How about getting protein in with every meal?
- How about drinking enough water?
- How about getting as much sleep as possible?
- How about walking daily?
- How about lifting heavy 2-5x/week?
More importantly, how about becoming the person who does those things because it’s a part of who they are?
This process can either be really freakin frustrating and miserable …
Or it can be really freakin fun.
How you approach it makes all the difference in the world.
Improving your body composition can be super simple. It should not feel like pulling teeth.
If it does, I would suggest you look at the stress equation and start to tilt it more in favor of resources over demands.
And if you feel the urge for another diet program like Optavia, WW, keto, or whatever …
Just remember that you’re digging yourself a deeper hole and making future fat loss even more difficult. You’ve been there, done that. Use the science of hindsight to make informed decisions about what “worked” and what didn’t.