Welcome to the month of February, named after Mr Derek February, who was famous for sucking, much like the month of February does. Yes, some of that was made up, but the fact is, of all the available months, this one is least good. The weather is rubbish, the only holiday we get is Lent the holiday of not getting to enjoy fun stuff, and worst of all, we all look stupid because we failed our new year’s resolutions.
Which brings us to your diet. You know, the diet you said you’d start on the first of January, and that you’d really stick to this time, honest, cross your heart and hope to die? Why did it fail? How hard is it to just eat healthy food?
Well, let me explain.
Reason One: Your Estimates Are Too Kind
How many calories do you think you eat a day? Guess, now. Now count it up, accurately. See that massive gap there? That’s the difference between what you think you eat, and what you actually eat. This is normal human behaviour. It’s why doctors always add a third to your answer when you tell them how much you drink.
And that works both ways. When you estimate how many calories you’ve burned after what feels like an exhaustive workout, the chances are you are way off.
Now we pull those elements together, so that you come out of the gym, sweaty and tired and thinking that, after all that exercise of course you’ve earned the triple chocolate fudge cake.
Reason Two: Your Friends Suck
Everything those Saturday morning cartoons told you is true- peer pressure is the worst. Think about all your worst habits – drinking, smoking, eating too much, porn – I bet three out of four of those are things you do socially. This means that when you try to put a halt to a bad habit – refusing to pop outside for a cigarette, for instance, or going into the pub and ordering an orange juice – your friends are going to see it as an attempt to move away from them, and they’re going to be insulted and pressure you into coming back down their level, having another pint, or one more cigarette, or sticking around for dessert.
If your diet’s really going to work, you need to be able to stand up to them, or find some healthier friends.
Reason Three: You’re Changing One Thing Instead of Everything
Why do you need to diet? Because you’re eating unhealthily. That seems straight forward. The question you have ask next is: Why are you eating unhealthily? Let’s say it’s because you don’t have the time to cook healthy, low-fat recipes. Or because when you’re in a lousy mood you tend to reach for the takeaway menu. The next question is, you guessed it, why? Why don’t you have the time to cook properly? Why have you been in such a lousy mood lately?
This is the problem with obsessing about how well your diet is going. Instead of making your life revolve around your diet, try pulling the thread that is your diet and seeing what unravels. What can you change to make your life healthier? Not only is this more likely to work, it also leaves you feeling a little better come February.
Sam Wright is a freelance writer who works with http://leanonturkey.co.uk