I find it very interesting looking at why people often don’t succeed in committing to their new diet plans and workout regimes. I find it interesting mostly because I’m constantly being asked by people to help them with their training goals and to dispense advice and it’s more than somewhat irksome when you write a huge program for someone only for them to give up after day two.
And if I’m honest I also find it interesting because it annoys me so much. Of course it doesn’t annoy me that people struggle with their training goals – I have a lot of sympathy with that and realise it’s difficult for some people – but when it annoys me is when people make excuses or promises that they don’t mean. The implication here, no matter how unconscious, is that I somehow ‘don’t understand’ their plight, and that I’ve managed to stay in shape therefore because my life must be that much easier. Actually though my life hasn’t always been easy, and finding times to train has in some cases been nigh impossible – but through sheer dogged determination (which is free by the way) I’ve managed to stick at it.
So now I spend my time looking out for the little challenges that I notice myself and others facing when it comes to eating and working out so that I can give more powerful advice that will change the way they think about training and so get real results. For a while I was focussed solely on attitude, but since then I’ve noticed something else that seems to play a big role – and that’s the social element. It seems that many people struggle to stick to their diet not because they don’t want to lose weight, but because they get caught up in what all their friends are doing and because they want to appear sociable and fun. There’s a stigma to dieting and when everyone else is eating a big cake it can be hard to say no. Here we’ll look at the issue in more detail.
There are a number of situations where the social factor can play a role and become a danger. The most obvious is of course the meal out where everyone will be getting pizza for their main, and then ordering drinks and lavish puddings. You might even get the offer to share pudding in which case you will feel as though you need to say yes just so that the other person can actually enjoy their desert which puts a lot of pressure on again.
I also find that I eat a lot more junk food since living with my girlfriend. Why? Because often I will want to treat her to a box of chocolates, or she will suggest that we get a cake for dinner to make the night more ‘special’ and of course if I don’t join in then that’s somewhat going to put a dampener on the evening.
Dealing With Those Situations
These cases might make it much harder to diet, but the good news is that each scenario can be made a lot easier to get out of if you know how. Here we will look at how you can turn down pudding without instantly becoming a stick in the mud as a result.
Meals Out: On meals out there are two things coming into play that make it hard to say no to pudding. One is that your social group might look at you differently if you say no to pudding, and the other is that you’ll probably be jealous of those people eating desert. The solution to the latter problem is easy – imagine how it feels when you’ve had too much desert and really hold that feeling in your mind of the guilt, the bloating and probably the sickness. By doing this you will find that suddenly you don’t feel quite as much in the mood for a huge chocolate cake.
Next order yourself a cup of coffee or even a petit four (a small chocolate that comes with a hot drink). This way you’ll still have something to enjoy and people won’t feel as awkward, but you won’t have to eat anything big. And if you absolutely must eat some pudding then offer to share with someone and eat under half.
During your main meal this latter point applies too – you don’t have to finish everything on your plate and while it might feel wasteful you would be wasting it anyway if you didn’t enjoy it or felt guilty eating it.
On Nights Out: On nights out a similar problem arises except it involves alcohol instead of puddings and fatty foods. Again you want to ‘join in’ and create a fun atmosphere but that’s not necessarily going to be great for your diet. Instead then, go on your night out but aim to drink more slowly. This can be accomplished by ordering something that’s harder to drink quickly such as Guinness – it’s heavy so you’ll finish two or three in the time you might normally have five or six. Don’t be fooled by drinking shots and thinking you’re saving calories as a result – it’s the units of alcohol that have the most calories in them, so to avoid gaining weight you need to avoid getting too drunk.
Romantic Evenings: For your romantic evenings meanwhile if you have the same problem I do, then make sure that if you’re choosing the desert that you pick something that’s relatively healthy. Apple crumble is better than something full of chocolate and icing for instance. Cut yourself smaller slices too, and if you’re having Thornton’s then limit yourself to one or two of the smaller ones. You can even make this into a romantic gesture by just telling your partner that you’re saving the big ones for them…
Most importantly though it’s generally just crucial to let everyone know that you’re dieting. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed by this – almost everyone has been on a diet at some point and good friends should respect your desire to lose weight.
And better yet, why not turn the social pressure into an asset? By getting a group of people together and inviting them to lose weight with you. This way you can all agree to go somewhere healthy to eat, and you can actually encourage each other to avoid pudding. When you’re all in it together it can be a lot easier.