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You've failed at your diet. Several times. And why that's ok


Every failure gets you closer to your next success.


As you may have heard, the claim that 'diets fail' is a common refrain in the world of health and fitness. Whether it's the often-quoted "97% of diets fail" or similar statistics, it's a notion that's hard to ignore. Having spent nearly a decades in the health and wellness field, I can attest that many individuals do indeed struggle with diets.


However, what if I told you that this pattern of "failure" might not be a flaw but rather an integral part of the process?


In the beginning, when we embark on any new endeavor, we're not experts. Imagine stepping onto the first tee having never swung a golf club before and expecting a hole in one. It's simply unrealistic. Similarly, expecting immediate success with your diet, whether it's your first attempt or your tenth, might be setting yourself up for disappointment.


To truly succeed, you must be prepared to embrace failure as part of the journey. Just as the golfer improves through practice and learning from missed shots, your path to better health involves discovering what works and what doesn't.


Instead of viewing these setbacks as failures, consider them valuable opportunities for gathering information. If a particular diet strategy didn't yield the desired results, ask yourself why. Through this process of trial and error, you'll eventually unlock the secrets to a healthier lifestyle.


Carol Dweck introduced the concept of a growth mindset, emphasizing that most abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Achieving and maintaining good health can be considered one of these fundamental abilities. Understanding that initial failures are part of the learning process puts you in the right mindset to persist until you succeed.


Now, you might be wondering, "What's the magic solution?" The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Every diet has the potential to work if adhered to, but the challenge often lies in sustainability. Extreme diets can be too restrictive, leading to abandonment. Mixing and matching different diet approaches can also lead to confusion and frustration.


The real secret lies in adopting a "lifestyle" approach. Building a sustainable lifestyle that aligns with your health goals is key. Over time, your actions should feel effortless and become integrated into your daily routine. Relying solely on willpower is a recipe for failure. You may need to adjust your expectations, create a supportive environment, and fundamentally change your relationship with food and life.


Admittedly, this journey requires effort, but it's undeniably worthwhile. While I could have shared this wisdom a decade ago, personal experience often carries the most profound lessons. Reading advice online is one thing, but living it is another. Everyone's path is unique, and the time it takes to master a healthy lifestyle can vary greatly.


If you're feeling like success is elusive, it could be that you haven't yet learned the necessary lessons or haven't approached the journey with the right mindset. It's crucial to align your expectations with reality and practice self-compassion along the way.


Remember, diets may seem like failures until they don't. Many individuals struggle on their dieting journey until they discover a method that finally works for them. This often involves a combination of approaches tailored to their unique needs. Despite what the media might suggest, achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is possible, though it undoubtedly presents its challenges.


In conclusion, treat your pursuit of health as a journey of self-discovery, and be kind to yourself as you navigate the ups and downs. Embrace the process, for it is through these experiences that you'll find the path to a healthier and happier you.

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