Have you ever ordered takeaway food and justified it by saying to yourself:
“It’s OK, because from tomorrow… everything changes!”
And did you stick to that promise?
Probably not, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.
Relax. I’m not having a go.
In fact, it’s perfectly normal behavior. Most people are stuck in an endless cycle of diet > binge > diet > binge, never seeing the results they want. So if that sounds like you, you’re not alone.
It even has a name: last supper syndrome.
Today I’m going to show you how to beat it and see great results…
A War On Calories
Let’s take a look at what’s really going on here…
The day before we start a new diet, most of us smash our way through donuts, pizza, and anything else in close proximity because we know that from tomorrow all this tasty food is going to be forbidden.
As soon as that clock strikes 12, we’re saying “goodbye” to the old us…
Our inner Rocky Balboa is going to take over and we’re going to flip a switch to whip our body into shape…
That’s the plan.
The problem is most of us cannot just do that.
Some people can. I’ve seen it. And all credit goes to those hard-willed motherf**kers.
But the vast majority of people find it impossible to shut off cravings they’ve had their entire life – especially after overindulging in them the night before!
So despite our great intentions, before too long we are back at square one; surrounded by chocolate wrappers at 3 A.M. while Shaun T shouts at us through the TV about his Insanity program.
It’s A Thing…
If the above sounds painfully familiar, don’t panic.
When we look at what’s going on behind the scenes (inside your body), it’ll not only make you feel a bit better, but also teach you how to beat it…
Most people start a new diet by planning to go ‘cold turkey’ from all the tempting foods which we feel have been holding us back all these years, and that is mistake #1:
Because the prospect of cutting our favorite foods scares the motherf**king s**t out of us, and panic signals are sent to the brain. (1)
It’s usually because we’re viewing our new diet as a form of punishment.
We envision a life of restriction, where our favorite foods are all “off the menu” and we have to live on a bunch of stuff which taste like that moment you accidentally spray deodorant in your mouth.
Then the self-doubt starts to creep in…
“How can all those Instagram girls do it?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
By the time we start to believe there’s something physically wrong with our body (as in, the law or calories in versus calories out doesn’t apply to us), we’re completely f**ked.
(Cue the next binge…)
But here’s the thing…
Most people are dieting completely wrong.
Because none of the above needs to be the case.
F**k. None of my clients have given up their favorite foods. Neither have I. Damn, I eat a chocolate bar every single day.
The truth is you can still eat all of your favorite foods along the way to building your best body, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a lying motherf**ker with a lack of knowledge.
You can tell them I said that.
When I’m writing nutrition plans for clients, I do so by setting their calorie and/or macronutrient targets.
It’s up to the individual to hit those targets with their preferred list of foods.
There are countless ways you can hit 2000 calories or, say, 200g protein, 200g carbohydrates and 75g fat… and none of them are wrong.
In fact, if it leads to greater sustainability, I actually encourage you to slot your favorite treat foods into your nutrition plan. Because research shows us that the best diet is the one you can stick to. Dieting smarter, rather than dieting harder, is the way to go. (2)
Do you feel that?
It’s the feeling of pressure evaporating.
You don’t need to go without this, or without that, and you can still get in really great shape.
Congratulations; you are already in a superior position to get results from your new diet than when you first clicked this page.
Why We Need To Break This Habit If We Want To See Our Best Results…
Let me paint a picture for you…
You’ve probably got a friend or work colleague who is always trying to follow whatever the latest celebrity diet is.. right?
Heck, maybe it’s you.
But they’re constantly falling off the wagon, smashing calories, then bidding to start the next new diet the following week.
A lot of this comes down to the emotional connections we make with certain foods, but there’s another negative aspect at play here – one which will actually make it harder for us to lose weight in future if we carry on with this bulls**t cycle of binge > diet > binge > diet, etc.
I broke it down in great depth in my recent article on why losing the last few pounds is harder then losing the first few.
Every time we binge eat, our body responds by creating a bunch of new fat cells.
These fat cells cause of body to misinterpret its body fat set point, and we carry on storing fat.
Repeated bouts of this cycle will see us wind up heavier than when we started, despite the annoying fact that we seem to have been constantly f**king dieting.
“It’s A Lifestyle Change”
You’ve probably heard people say “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”
Getting in shape requires you to break many of the habits which been in place for most of your life.
It’s f**king hard.
And that’s why it’s impressive when someone loses weight and manages to keep it off.
You see, we make a few emotional connections with food and these can ruin our diet before it even begins. And if we want to truly beat last supper syndrome, we need to tackle them…
I’ve already covered the first one; foreseeing a life of restriction.
There are two more.
1 > Work / Life Balance. A serial dieter will often diet through the week, then binge at the weekend and re-start Monday.
Over time, we begin to associate our healthy diet with the hard slog of the working week, and our binge eating sessions with the nice feeling of kicking back and relaxing at the weekend.
The best way to break this connection is to realize if you want that chocolate bar you can have it. Juts make it fit your calorie (or macronutrient) targets, the move the f**k on with your day.
2 > Emotional Trigger Foods. We all have certain foods we draw comfort from. As soon as things get tough, we will crave them.
Let’s use me as an example:
Did I need to eat that family sized Yorkie?
Was it nice?
But the main reason I ate it is because it reminds me of being a kid. I used to have them with my Grandad, and I miss those times. So whenever life gets stressful, I revert back to wanting one of those.
The food industry knows we do these things.
That’s why healthy foods are often portrayed as bland and unexciting, and junk foods are linked with being fun and naughty.
Ever “had a fling with a Creme Egg”..?
How about “a date with Ben AND Jerry”..?
Don’t even get me started on the apparent orgasm-inducing capabilities of eating a Cadbury Flake.
They know all too well that when your week becomes stressful, you’re going to begin looking for something fun. So they present themselves as a solution, even though you could be ruining your goals in the process.
It’s enough to make you wanna find one of those annoying people who smile at bowls of salad and punch them full force in the face.
One interesting study published back in 2004 found that the common denominator with a large group of women who lost weight and kept it off was “the feeling of taking control.” (3)
Like I said, it’s a lifestyle change.
Starting a new diet by binge eating junk food the day before is a sure sign that you’re about to do something crazy…
That usually means an attempt at a crash diet, and this is not how lasting results are achieved.
Everything is fine in moderation. Nothing should be off the menu. Flexible dieting FTW.
It takes time to break the habits of a lifetime, but you’ll get there.
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- Ogden, J., et al. Cognitive changes to preloading in restrained and unrestrained eaters as measured by the Stroop task. Int J Eat Disord. (1993)
- Stewart, T. M., et al. Rigid vs. flexible dieting: association with eating disorder symptoms in nonobese women. Appetite. (2002)
- Berry, D. An emerging model of behavior change in women maintaining weight loss. Nurs Sci Q. (2004)