“Variety is the spice of life.”
I don’t know who coined the phrase, but I heard it from P90X creator Tony Horton years ago when I did that program.
And while variety can be the spice of life, it is also usually the cause of the downfall of many well-intended diets.
Variety Can Be An Anchor That Sinks You…
It’s easy to get carried away with what foods you plan to eat when you are planning a diet. The idea “planning” actually has an implied meaning of “this is going to take a lot of thought and effort to figure out”. So we start looking for foods and drinks that are allowed in our new food plan, but only through the lens of adding foods that we like.
So it looks something like this…
“I am starting a new diet, and I need to add foods to my plan. What foods do I like which will fit into the plan?”
Notice in the above that we are putting the most important for our diet plan on what we find desirable? Doesn’t that seem odd that we are about to undergo some sort of food restriction for a variety of possible reasons, but are more concerned about building its foundation on what we want to eat?
What We Want VS What We Need
Let’s flip the script.
Instead of making a plan based on a foundation of “what we want”, let’s do it from a “what’s best for me” viewpoint.
Setting aside your preferences for a bit, what would your plan look like based on the quality of the food alone? Regardless of if you like it or not, is it good for you? Does it better accomplish the goals of your dietary efforts?
Choosing food based on its quality and content puts your efforts and energy into a much better position to win the mental battle that is looming when you are in the tranches of your diet.
Getting the Most from Your Food Plan
It might be hard to swallow (no pun intended). but the diet that works best, meaning, that fits your perfect physical needs that you desire, is not based on taste, now does it care what you “like”. The most perfect food plan is a set of caloric and macronutrient calculations that formulate a final series of numbers that you need to hit in order to lose weight (or gain,).
People diet to transform, but fail to realize that their inability to accept foods that they may not “prefer” can actually inhibit or delay a person from getting the results they want.
Diet is not concerned with taste buds or preferences. It only knows math.
“Food X + Food Y = Success”
Getting the most from your diet means trading your personal cravings for the overall good.
The Taste Fallout
Having said that, many people will struggle to accept foods that might not be at the top of their favorite foods list. They might be able to go along with the plan for a short time, but eventually, be overcome with the urge to splurge foods that they feel they are missing out on.
And the diet is derailed.
It is not easy to eat foods you do not like, even if they are being called to a higher calling in service of your body.
So, if we want a successful diet, are we doomed to eat food we hate?
An Amicable Solution
A diet that is wrought with foods you despise is bound to be a short-lived one.
Although we all want to be mentally tough as nails, there is only so much sauerkraut or quinoa a person can eat if they hate it.
So when you are planning your diet, here is a tip….
Don’t start with what you like. Start with what’s right. THEN allow yourself (and your taste buds) room to have a say in the matter.
Starting a diet by emphasizing your own desires takes away from the whole point of the diet, which is trying to serve a purpose.
Focus on the reason you are eating the food, and not the food itself.
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Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape in a quest to better himself and those around him focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.