How I Learned that Going on Diets was Unhealthy

Calorie, diet, eating, eating habits, food habits, habits, Health, james clear, Low-carbohydrate diet, New Year's resolution, Weight Loss

Most of you are determined to go on a diet for 2014 to lose weight, look sexier, or even be healthier. You might even be on one now.

I’ve been on a ton.

Atkins, Paleo, Low Carb, and even . . . Vegan.

Yes, I did just say vegan. Full disclosure though, the vegan diet was fucking hard. And it lasted an ENTIRE 6 days. My friends put good money on how long that would last.

My advice on diets?

Don’t do it.

It’s a terrible mindset to have.

You’ll probably fail anyway.

Only 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s Resolution anyway.

Odds are you’re part of the 92% that don’t.


Now, it’s not that I don’t believe that you can’t achieve your 2014 bod. Or that you can’t take control of your health.

You can.

But think about it.

Many people automatically approach their “diets” as a means to an end. Fitting in that dress/suit, or losing weight, or getting your beach body. Along with those ends come connotations like “calorie restriction” and “eating nothing but healthy foods”.

It’s an all out approach to looking better and eating healthier with no real goal or system in place that can help to truly achieve your fitness goals. It’s this type of mentality that ensures you’ve lost the battle before its even begun. This all or nothing approach to eating healthy is ironically UNHEALTHY.

So instead of going all out and eating healthy to start off 2014, I’m going to show you how to implement strategies and mindsets into your daily life so that you can make your diet, effortless and even fun. Plus you’ll be healthier, look better, and feel better too.

What up.

Here’s what we’re getting into today:

How the diet mentality prevents you from becoming healthy
The right mentality towards diet
3 simple ways to eat healthier without trying

How diets prevent you from becoming healthy

How diets prevent you from becoming healthy

I got a text from my friend.

“Why can’t I lose weight?”


“I’ve been running and actually gained weight.”

“Does it normally take a while?”

To which I responded, “Hmm, depends . . . what does your diet look like?”

“I’m counting calories”.

“And I’ve been running 4 times a week, a couple of miles each time.”

I told my friend, “You should probably stop eating processed foods, that’s a pretty easy way to cut out unnecessary calories. And also, are you doing anything else besides running?”

“Well maybe I’ve gained weight because of the holidays.”

Surprised by that comment I responded back with, “You shouldn’t be dieting during the holidays, you should be enjoying yourself.”

“I’ve been building up my endurance with running I should be losing weight!”

There was some more back and forth, and in the end, of course I provided my friend with some advice to get started.

AKA, told them to visit this site.

Had to keep it fucking real ya know?

But seriously, in the conversation above there’s actually A LOT of psychology going on here which ties into why going on a diet should not be a resolution for you this year.

Here’s quick breakdown of all the psychological barriers in this conversation:

You’ll notice that there is a lot of emotion in this conversation, mainly because of frustration. And from it you’ll see these mindsets:

“I want to lose weight”

Yes, of course you want to lose weight. We all want to be rich. But none of those things happen without a plan. Or a goal. Generically running on a treadmill for a couple of miles might not hit your goals . . . especially if you don’t know what those goals are.

“I’m counting calories.”

I’ve definitely made the argument before that calories in and calories out is a pretty bad way to look at getting healthy. I’m more the quality over quantity. But in reality, it’s a combination of both. The thing here is that counting calories only leads to false sense of where you really stand in terms of getting healthy and reaching your goals. Which leads to negative emotions like . . .

“Well, maybe I’ve gained weight because of the holidays”.

Notice how there is guilt associated with eating habits. This doesn’t relate do just diets – it’s every little goal you have. And often times we beat ourselves up for not being able to keep up with that goal. And what happens? We give up, or aren’t as consistent as we should be. Screwing up every once in a while isn’t a big deal, not being consistent is.

“I’ve been building up my endurance, I should be losing weight!” 

And this is obviously a classic. Many times we see generic advice and expect results to happen the same way to us. Realistically, workouts and diets are not “one size fits all”. Our bodies respond in very different ways. So denial and disbelief are setting in – which leads back to feeling guilty over not getting results.

Now, my friend in no way is doing the wrong thing here. In fact, it was awesome to reach out and ask for advice. And honestly, they were taking a couple of steps towards getting healthier and it’s A LOT BETTER than DOING NOTHING.

It’s these mindsets that prevent people from truly achieving a healthy diet. Because there are no true objectives, systems, and too much emotion for anyone to be consistent and follow through. It’s this type of mentality that 92% of people have when it comes to their New Year resolutions,especially diets, and why 92% of people don’t achieve them.

So how do we set you up to be successful and make you the 8%?

Hmmm. . . if there was a system in place that you could tweak, you’d be able to acknowledge something wasn’t working and fix it, as opposed to just being frustrated about everything all together. You could also build on that system to continually progress in eating healthier.

The right mentality to have toward diet

The right mentality to have toward diet

I’ve said this multiple times and even brought this up before, but your diet should be a lifestyle. It should be an effortless system that you can have fun with, without effort.

With a systematic approach to eating healthier, you don’t feel guilty for messing up. Which helps you to continue to eat right. You’ll also understand what you did wrong, and all you have to do to fix the system is tweak it so you don’t mess up again.

With a systematic approach, there’s room for fun. You can take a break and indulge, and go right back to where you left off without starting over again.

With a systematic approach, you’ll have goals that you can achieve, expand upon and progress towards being as healthy as you can be or want to be. It puts YOU in control of your diet, not the other way around.

Think of a diet as an ever evolving process instead of a 3 month side project. It will allow you to build upon healthy decision making, healthy habits, and allow yourself to enjoy some unhealthy stuff too.

So instead of saying that you’re just going to “eat healthier” or “go on a diet” this year, here are some easy ways to get started and keep you on the right track without even trying.

3 simple ways to eat healthier without trying

3 simple ways to eat healthier without trying


I really mean that. Not like everyday, but like on days that you know that it’ll be hard to eat as healthy as possible.

For example, I make a big effort to eat as healthy as possible every day. That way when I’m with colleagues, clients, or friends at a restaurant – I eat whatever I want not worrying about a single thing. Or if I come across a treat that I want – I just eat it without worrying about it.

Don’t feel guilty, you’re a human being. Shit like ice cream, pizza, nachos, whatever . . . fucking eat it already.

Keep it in moderation

The problem with obesity isn’t food.

It’s the relationship that people have with food.

Well Andrew, if the food companies made healthier food than we wouldn’t be obese.

Hmmm, well the thing is that there isn’t much evidence that eating once or twice at a fast food restaurant causes obesity. However, overeating or consistently eating unhealthy food is definitely correlated to obesity. Which by the way, is a serious problem in this country.

But keeping things in moderation is the hardest part, especially with things we like to indulge in. Which is a shame – eating is a pretty big part of our cultures and social lives, no reason to feel guilty about that. It also perpetuates a cycle of eating very bad food, breaking your “diet”, and then going back to an “eating nothing but healthy” mentality to dieting.

Which leads me to . . .

Create good eating habits.

This means rewarding yourself for eating well. Have a cheat day. Eat what you want to eat and if you screw up, understand why, move on, and continue eating right.

Here are some quick and easy guidelines to follow:

Don’t eat processed foods. Eating wholesome food is the single most beneficial action item you can take on today to start building a healthier you.

Set such small changes, so small it’s almost stupid to not implement. Change isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a series of small actions that develop in a greater one. So when you apply this to your diet, as an example, don’t go cold turkey on eating grains if they’re a regular part of your diet now. Instead, try like not eating them at dinner for the next week. Maybe the next month. Whatever you want, phase out instead of going cold turkey. This will create habits and you won’t even have to think about being healthy.

Focus on repetitions, not goals.  James Clear puts it best – focus on repeating things to reach your goals and not the actual goal itself. Basically, concentrate on making sure you’re consistent instead of reaching your goal.

You know how practice makes perfect?

Professionals get better by practicing constantly. You’ll get healthier by eating healthy food consistently. In no time you’ll have that 2014 bod.

Habits are crucial when it comes to food choices and diet. That’s why food companies pay a lot of money to have the same consistent tastes, textures, and even environments when it comes to serving their food. In fact, so much so that there is a shortage among food scientists (if you want or need a job as one) because food companies don’t want to market that they invest in understanding food habits.

At the end of the day, we’re all human. You know, when my friend was telling me their story – I could totally relate. Because it’s taken me like 10 years to get where I am. If I knew what I knew now I would have gotten here in like a quarter of the time. But such is life.

So this year, don’t go on a diet. Focus on the little things in your diet, build up to that sexy ass bod in 2014, and in no time you’ll be in the 8%.

Thanks again for reading,

What do you think?

Nate Mitchelle

Written by Nate Mitchelle

Hi, I’m Nate Mitchelle, and I love to write about fitness, food, lifestyle, and wellness. I love sharing discoveries, tips, and tricks I’ve discovered to make life more beautiful and fun!

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