Don't Diet in 2019 - Reason #14: Your social life will suck arse!

If your primary goal is to look like a fitness model, you'll have to bend your life around your nutrition and workouts.

If your primary goal is to look like a fitness model, you'll have to bend your life around your nutrition and workouts.

You see that pretty 20-something model rocking her six-pack abs on the cover of the latest fitness magazine? She’s going to tell you how to get rock-solid abs and glutes just like hers. She’ll give you her best butt-boosting and gut-busting workouts. She’ll tell you how she preps food, counts macros, and never goes over X number of carbs on a non-workout day. What she won’t tell you is that her life revolves around her body, working out, and food.

Making a strict diet work is hard work…and social outings present way too many uncontrollable variables.

When you go on an extreme diet, it’s much harder to do all the things that allow you to connect with others. Go to an Italian restaurant on a date? Nope…too many carbs in pasta. Go to a family BBQ? Nope…too much sugar in BBQ sauce. Drinks with the girls after work? Nope…not allowed to have alcohol. Family outing on Saturday morning? Nope…gotta work out. Your kiddo made you pancakes on Sunday morning? Nope…too many calories for a rest day.

I wasted several of the best years of my life this way. My daughter loves to bake and if she made me “something special”, I’d refuse to eat it if I hadn’t worked out or if it was low carb day. Eating out was a chore. I always had to choose the restaurant and eating had to be timed correctly with my workouts. Family gatherings caused anxiety and I often brought my own food because God forbid I have to eat non-organic chicken or salad dressing made with soybean oil. Gasp! It was actually easier to simply avoid these situations, so I would sometimes feign sickness. Not my finest moments.

I was a neurotic mess on a strict diet. My husband stopped asking me on dates. My daughter stopped asking me to bake with her (she knew the answer was usually ‘no’), and made special treats for my husband instead of me. Extended family and friends still invited me to gatherings…but it was hard for them not to roll their eyes if I actually showed up.

Strict diets force you to choose between locking yourself in a padded room away from the world, or being that girl who shows up at restaurants and family BBQ’s with Tupperware containers full of chicken and rice. I am all for standing up for your right to be healthy…but if your diet is so strict that it makes you a social pariah or steals moments of joy from your life, it might be time to reassess!

When I stopped dieting and started getting back to “normal” eating I did gain some weight. But I had been suppressing my weight through extreme exercise and low calorie living for a long time…and my body was exhausted and unhealthy. I actually needed to gain some weight. This was scary, but I didn’t gain nearly as much as I imagined I would by reducing my exercise and quitting my strict diet.

The best thing was that I gained back my life and I’m now happier than I’ve ever been. My husband can and does call me spur-of-the-moment for lunch dates. My daughter is so happy that we bake together again…and I’ll actually eat her special treats. And I have finally realized that having a little BBQ sauce or soybean-oil-based salad dressing at a family party won’t kill me or turn me into the Michelin Man.

Bottom line: strict diets can severely limit your social life and even cause broken ties between friends and loved ones, and it’s often not worth it.

What you should do instead…

Anti-Diet Wisdom: The fitness models selling diet programs and supplements work really hard to look the way they do…it’s their job. Food and working out is more important than anything else in their life.

The average Jane who isn’t making money off her appearance needs to be realistic about body, life, happiness and expectations. Honestly assess whether or not you have the time or patience to work out two to four hours per day, measure and track every morsel of food you eat, and whether or not you’d be willing to put nutrition and exercise before family and friends.

If you want to look like a model, then, yes, you’ll have to maintain an extremely strict diet and exercise routine on top of having the right genetics and a mindset of steel. Strict diets simply don’t allow for “wiggle room”.

If on the other hand you place high value on family and social connections and enjoy the ability to be spontaneous, it is entirely possible to balance that out with your health and weight loss goals…no super strict diet necessary! You may never be a fitness model, but you can live a life that makes you happy and healthy.

Check out these previous posts for easy and less invasive tips and tricks to increase the health of your body and reach a healthy and natural weight for you:

Yesterday’s post about metabolism has eight pain-free tips at the end that will help you make your body healthier.

Chemicals and toxins are making us fat and sick. Check out the obesogen post for tips on reducing toxins in your life.

Learn how mindset and self-talk may be sabotaging your efforts, and how to harness the power of your mind in this blog post.

Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer

Learn more about the author here.