How to stop screwing up on your diet (part 1)
By Ari Snaevarsson, Features Editor
Coming out of my second bodybuilding show now, the struggle of following through on dieting efforts is once again occupying a large portion of my mental processes. I figured what better an opportunity than now to put together a comprehensive piece on how to stop screwing up on your diet, so here it is.
This article will be split up into successive sections so that I can efficiently cover all of the important points I want to cover. Read these, and I promise you your perspective on dieting will change and adherence to your diet goals will be a significantly simpler task.
Drop the #Fitspo and “motivational videos”
There is nothing wrong with some motivational pick-me-ups from time to time. The occasional “it ain’t about how hard you get hit” scene from Rocky can sometimes be just the thing someone needs to get out of bed and make it to the gym or get to work on a project they have been pushing off.
However, they will not do much for you in the long run, and that is what diet adherence is all about. As good as an inspirational Instagram post might make you feel in the moment, it is not going to have the slightest impact on you a couple months from now, when a trying situation causes you to dump your diet for the time being.
But there are effective ways to start following through on your diet and making it a productive part of your life, rather than a mental strain on it. Despite what many may think, dietary adherence is not reserved for one special group of freakishly motivated individuals and impossible for anyone else. It is attainable by all, and I have seen this come to fruition time and time again.
It is totally normal
Before getting into the meat and potatoes of this, I want to drive home the point that messing up on your diet is normal. Humans cannot be perfect all the time. In this vein, expecting perfection is a recipe for disaster. On the flip side, becoming better able to pick yourself back up and learn from mistakes is a recipe for success.
As obsessive as I can be about my dieting habits, I am prone to this as well. After competing in my first bodybuilding show, three and a half years ago, I binge ate for four weeks straight. While not a full blown eating disorder by any means, it was an extremely disturbing and discomforting phenomenon I wanted direly to move past. But at the same time, it made apparent to me just how deeply ingrained our appetite and hunger signals really are. Coming off my second show now, while I have been able to calm the eating down, it still proves a struggle after so many weeks of ultra-restrictive dieting and cardio.
My point here, which I will reiterate, is to not let your slip-ups become reflections of your self-value. This is where disordered eating habits, psychological issues, and the entire mess of the diet industry are given life. You are a person who has accomplished things, has traits and strengths to offer, and has your life ahead of you to experience. That is all completely separate from your ability to follow through on a diet.
In Part 2, I will discuss the actual, concrete steps to take when you fall off the wagon (or fear you soon might). We will be looking at this issue holistically, covering every relevant nook and cranny, so that we can come to a more definitive consensus on what really works. Stay tuned!