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the diet fail

Image courtesy of CLEO Australia

Image courtesy of CLEO Australia

While making my afternoon cup of tea in the kitchen at work yesterday I couldn’t help but overhear 2 of the ladies who work on my floor talking about diet and exercise. One was giving the other advice about  how to eat healthy, noting that it would be better to eat vegetables over salad to make sure she gets all the vitamins and minerals she needs, in particular lots of green leafy vegetables. I’ve heard this schpeel hundreds of times, and having a sister that is a personal trainer, I get all the does and don’ts every time we meet up for lunch or dinner (she could hardly believe it when I ordered white rice the other night!).

When I meet the girls for coffee, at some stage the conversation will come around to what we’re eating or how often we’ve been to the gym this week, even my husband asks me how the gym was when he gets home of a night and if he hears a plastic packet rustle from the other room he’ll pop his head around the door to see which treat I’m sneaking.

According to research by IBISWorld, during 2012-2013 Australians will spend $827 million  on counselling, low-calorie foods and shakes, diet cookbooks and guides, dietary supplements, lap bands and liposuction. I’ll be one of them. Every year I tell myself it will be different, and every year I lie (as I write this I am eating squares of Cadbury fruit & nut!).

What is it about bad habits that makes them so hard to break?

Australia is today ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world. The prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years and has become the single biggest threat to public health in Australia*. So let’s go on a diet! It should be easy right? Eat less, exercise more, lose weight, feel great. But it’s not easy, and it doesn’t work, at least not for long.

Wikipedia defines dieting as the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake. What it is about that word… dieting… that makes any effort associated with it destined for failure?

I decided to talk to my sister and get her advice to share with you.

Why don’t “diets” work?

Diets don’t work because people are generally doing it to get a quick fix. “I’ll just diet for the wedding…  to look good for the reunion”, they have no long term plans so when they get to their goal they throw their hands in the air because they haven’t given themselves a plan so they go back to their old ways with the thought in their head, “oh that was easy I can just do it again when I need to”.

 I don’t want to give up all the things I love to eat, do I have to?

Yes you do have to give up all the things you love.  This is a no brainer. No matter how hard you train you can never out train a bad diet. When you are eating clean and training it is perfectly acceptable to have a cheat meal one to two times a week but there are rules and guide lines to a cheat meal.

You are not a dog, do not reward yourself with food!!!!

 I have injuries, how hard do I have to train?

People always use injuries as an excuse not to train or not go as hard. My boyfriend is the best example of how to train through an injury. He had a major shoulder reconstruction 6 months ago, surgery on Thursday, out Friday,  training the following week (he still had 3 other perfectly working limbs).

Always do your rehab exercises and see a good physio. There are hundreds and hundreds of exercise progressions and regressions.

I have had an ongoing issue with a nerve entrapment in my neck, no heavy lifting (yeah right I’m a PT) so I did legs and interval training for 3 months, nothing else. I watched my food and I maintained my weight, I even managed to lose another 1.2% body fat. True story.

 Do I have to stick to it 100% of the time for the rest of my life?

My general rule for life is 80/20. I believe in clean eating but I’m not giving up my full fat coffee or tofu  for anyone. So 80% of the time I’m immaculate, I’m talking tuna and almonds for lunch, but twice a week I do a cheat, and one of them is a whole block of Cadbury chocolate!

But I work hard every day and when you get in to that rhythm you won’t want to fill your body with the same rubbish. This morning I couldn’t wait to get home from the gym and try my new protein shake whereas before I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat candy.

No one wants to be that knob at the dinner table dabbing their salad with a napkin to get the dressing off so choose your battles wisely.

 How do you stay committed to a healthy lifestyle?

Set a goal- how do you know where you are going without a map. When you reach that goal set another one!!! “Maintenance” is not a goal! It’s like bicep curls in the squat rack, useless!!!

Train for your body type and your goal!

Eat clean!!!!

Get some good advice, then get some more.  Then follow that advice 80%

 What is your top workout tip?

Lift weights, HEAVY!

Stephanie is a certified personal trainer with Elevate Total Fitness.Steph

Certificate III & IV in Fitness
Advance Diploma – Nutritional Medicine (Undertaking)
S.D.A Sports Nutrition Certification
Level 1 EKI Kettlebell Instructor
Certified Punchfit Instructor
Vision Personal Training Mentor Program

For more info on Steph & her fitness program visit Elevate Total Fitness 

*Source: Monash University 2012

  1. Julie Brown #

    Excellent source referrencing. I like the 80/20 concept.

    February 5, 2013
  2. Spot on!

    February 5, 2013

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