Why You Fall Off The Low-Carb Diet Wagon
In the various communities on the Internet that I visit from time to time, I often hear people ask, “What can I eat on this diet?” That always strikes me as an unusual question. Which is why my reply would be, “Whatever you choose to eat.”
People don’t realize how critical their intentions are no matter what diet plan they are following. Most people talk out of both sides of their mouths. That is, they say they want to eat low-carb, then they don’t. They say they want to lose weight, then they don’t. They say they want to exercise, then they don’t. (And FYI, I’m referring to the average person who doesn’t have any physical or mental-health challenges getting in the way.)
One thing I am convinced of is that your actions always reflect your true priorities. Talk is cheap, but actions tell the whole story because they are aligned with your truest intentions, whatever they really are.
If your weakness is drinking wine and your priority is drinking wine, you’ll drink wine. If you say you’re going to stop drinking wine, but your priority is drinking wine, you’ll drink wine.
If your weakness is eating bread and your unspoken intention is to continue eating bread, yet you say that you’re giving it up, you’ll eat bread.
If you say you’re going to stop eating doughnuts to follow a low-carb diet, but your inner thoughts are filled with regret and a sense of loss since you have to give up doughnuts against your will, you’ll eat the doughnuts…every…time.
Zero To Sixty in A Single Bite
Pick a food weakness. Maybe it’s pasta. Maybe it’s sweet creamer in your coffee. Maybe your weakness is potato chips, or cookies, or ice cream, or chocolate, or fruit, or cereal, maybe yogurt, or even convenience foods or comfort foods. No matter what your weakness is, your actions will reveal your true priorities no matter what you insist your intention is.
All it takes is an easy opportunity and an excuse, or rather a reason, and before you know it, you’ve slammed down 60 carbs or more in a single bite of the very food you said you were not going to eat.
So What’s Really Going On When You Fall Off The Wagon?
The only way you can ever fall off the diet wagon and eat something that’s outside of your diet plan is if you left the option open in the first place. Let’s face it, you’ll always have a “reason” that you “had no choice”, or a “reason” for giving in, etc., etc…. We are incredibly skilled at justifying our behaviors that go against our plans or intentions. But the reason never more complicated than simply that you chose to.
When you start a diet and are not subconsciously committed to sticking to it, your subconscious mind will immediately begin helping you notice opportunities to “cheat” on your diet. Not only that, but it will begin nudging your behavior to the point of creating or inventing a “reason” to cheat.
What Your Language Reveals
- “Well, I’m starting my diet on Monday. Wish me luck. I hope I can stay strong.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I don’t know if this way of eating is actually healthy, but I’m going to give it a try.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I just started eating low carb. But I don’t know exactly what to eat.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I’m having trouble losing weight and I’ve been eating low-carb 4 weeks now, and with the exception of a few minor slip-ups, I’ve done great. But why can’t I lose weight?” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I don’t know if I can give up vanilla creamer in my coffee, but I’m going to see how long I can go.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I’m eating low-carb, now. But I refuse to give up my Sodas.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I’m going to try to get up early on Monday and go for a run.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I LOVE my morning porridge. I just can’t give that up. Otherwise, I’m eating low-carb.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “Yeah, we’re going to the restaurant, but I don’t know what I can have there.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “I’m still chewing gum, but I’m *trying* to keep my carbs under 20 grams.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “It was a rough day, so I couldn’t help it. I had some wine last night. But I’m still eating low-carb.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “Maybe just a bite.” Prediction: FAIL!
- “Yes, I can eat that. I can eat whatever I want. But I CHOOSE not to have it.” Prediction: SUCCESS!
- “Exercise sucks. I hate it. That’s why I’m not going to do it.” Prediction: SUCCESS!
Success Versus Failure
The people who have the greatest success on any diet plan are the people whose true priorities and actions are aligned. When you make a diet or health promise to yourself–and let’s face it, you’re the only person that you should make your diet promises to–you know, the very moment the words pass over your lips, if you mean it or don’t. You internally know the strength and sincerity of your conviction.
The moment you make your promise, failure or success is infused into your deeper feelings, thereby setting your true priorities. If you haven’t yet seen the consistency that you committed to, you haven’t yet committed absolutely!
You know when you’re leaving room for backing out of your promise. Deny it all you want. Make excuses as much as you need to so you don’t feel that this applies to you. But you know who you are.
“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”
I love that saying. And it is fiercely true when you start a new diet. If you are in any way confused about what to eat, you’ll fail. If you haven’t already come up with a plan about how you’ll handle being in unexpected social situations where food is a central theme, you’ll fail. If you’re not being honest with yourself, right from the very moment you say, “I’m starting my diet”, you’ll fail.
As I said, your actions reveal your true priorities. The reason people fall off the low-carb or ketogenic diet wagon is because their true priorities are not in alignment with their words, as revealed by their behavior, or the frequent or occasional “slip-ups” or “cheating”. But sticking to a low-carb lifestyle or learning how to never “cheat” on your diet again is definitely achievable. It’s possible to stay on track and experience success instead of failure. And these things can happen when they are aligned with your true priorities.
Take Corrective Action
So how can you fix this? First, stop lying about your choices. Stop making other people, conditions, or circumstances responsible for your food choices. Be honest with yourself. You will instantly increase your chances of success if you’re being completely and absolutely honest with yourself.
Next, make an honest assessment of where your resistance is. When you think about starting a low carb diet, think about the foods that are on the “Keep Your Dirty Little Hands Off This” list. These will basically be foods that are high in carbs. Can you live without them? If any foods come to mind that you are feeling sad about giving up, feel angry or nervous because you can’t eat them, make you question whether or not you actually want to start this way of eating, then you’ll know from where your trouble will come when you start eating low-carb.
Also, you’ll need to consider your regular social environments. I’m not talking only about the clubs you hang out at, I’m talking about home, work, ball fields, dance class and music lesson waiting areas, any place where you may find yourself socializing.
People sometimes put themselves in specific social environments on purpose, when they start a new diet, because the chances of “unexpectedly” finding themselves around people they enjoy and the foods they love (that are on the naughty list) might just cause them to (surprise-surprise!) eat something that they “shouldn’t have”, but “had no choice” because “that’s all they had” and “I was totally starving,” or “I had a headache from lack of food”, or “I was getting sick and needed to eat.”
Have a very clear plan before you get into these situations. Better still, don’t get into these situations, at least not until you know you can handle them. Nobody said this was going to be effortless.
And probably the most important key is education. The people who finally succeed do so because they become smart. They learn what to eat and what to avoid. They get involved in social communities such as my Quitting Sugar Facebook page or my 30-Day Keto Challenge group. Another fantastic group is Lynn Terry’s 90 Day Low Carb Challenge on Facebook. You’ll see me at all of these as an admin/moderator because I love to support people who want to be healthier through low-carb eating.
Plus, in these groups, you learn so much, find great recipes to try, helpful tips, and hear wonderful success stories that will inspire you to reach new heights. This is part of what I like to call, Intelligent Dieting. It’s an evolution, brought on by education, inspiration, and experience. You can be a success story, but you have to get through the rough spots first.
When you feel uncomfortable eating a high amount of fat, such as in bacon, or beef, and worry about cholesterol issues when you eat eggs, education is the only thing that will put your mind at ease. When you realize that mainstream health advice is wrong and has been for years, and you begin to socialize with people who are exceptionally healthy and have been eating low-carb for years, a shift will begin to happen deep inside you. And this is an amazing feeling.
A Fresh Start Begins Now
I know that deep down inside, you want greater health, to feel good at a proper weight, and to have energy and vitality. But you have to clear out the resistance and implant deep into your subconscious mind the loving and supportive thoughts that are the seeds of success. And you’ll also need a healthy dose of confidence to know that the way you are eating is healthy and safe. Education is the only way to do this, and it certainly helps you strengthen your resolve and align your intentions and actions. But you can definitely do this.
So don’t be so hard on yourself. Sure, you’ve got some work to do; some mental reprogramming. It’s going to take some time. But if you can begin by using even just one suggestion in this article, you will begin to feel more empowered and less resistant to eating a low-carb diet, and not fall of the wagon every other day. I believe in you.