======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
Remember when you could eat pizza and microwave burritos for half of your meals and your body would just handle it? Those were the glory days. Just shoving as many carbs and calories in your mouth as you could, secure in the knowledge that your metabolism was running like a fine-tuned machine. Amazing.
Well guess what? Those days are over. That metabolism that used to have your back? It’s betrayed you. It gave you 22 strong years of work, and now, much like you at 4 p.m. on a Friday, it’s slacking. “I let you eat whatever you wanted and stay skinny for two decades,” it’s saying to you as it kicks back in a metaphorical hammock. “Now it’s your time to have to work to stay fit.” Rude, yes, but true. Your days of eating whatever you want are over. Now that you’re in your twenties and thirties, it’s the age of the diet.
Now, I know some of you are already heading to the comment section to brag about how you’re 28 and you “don’t diet.” Bullshit. Everyone diets. You may not call it a diet, out of denial or misplaced, faux-masculinity, but you diet. Or you’re out of shape. Those are your only options at this stage of life. You may not be on a name diet, like Atkins, or Paleo, or Keto, or whatever the new fad is. Your diet could be something simpler, something more fluid. Maybe you say things like “I’m just watching my calorie intake,” or, “I’m cutting down on sugars.” Congratulations. You’re on a diet. And if you’re not, maybe you want to be on one.
Maybe you look at yourself in the mirror, suck in your gut, play with your belly fat, and sigh. Maybe you’ve stopped looking in mirrors at all. Don’t be ashamed, it happens to everyone. Getting fat is sneaky. Your brain doesn’t like to admit it’s happening, so it lies to you. It filter what your eyes see. It whispers things like “it was a long weekend, you’re just bloated,” and “that’s muscle weight, not fat.” But eventually, even it can’t lie to you any longer. One day you look in the mirror, or at the scale, or see a photo of you from a bad angle (any angle), and realize that “oh shit, I got fat.” And now it’s time to get on a diet. And it’s daunting.
As someone who had never even considered thinking about what I ate until I was 22, I understand where you’re coming from. It’s demoralizing to change how you eat. Shit, eating a good meal is one of the last few consistent bright spots in your week. I say that not to be depressing, but because it’s true. As an adult, most weekdays are fairly mundane. Get up early, work, hit the gym, run errands, watch Netflix, and sleep. Not bad, not good, just boring. But two or three times a day, your brain lights up in anticipation of eating some delicious food and satisfying all its craving.
A diet is going to remove, or at least limit, those happy moments. It’s a lot harder to get excited about a low-cal salad than it is a cheeseburger. And frankly, that’s the biggest challenge with dieting. It’s not the difficulty of finding a healthy option at restaurants. It’s not the cooking and the meal prepping. It’s the knowledge that, come 12:30pm, all you have to look forward to for lunch is an unexciting meal.
And it’s not just mental. It’s a physical dependency. If you’re cutting down carbs, fat, or calories from your meals, your body starts freaking out. It has no idea what a fucking diet is. It has evolved over millennia to ensure your survival by eating as many carbs and fat and calories as possible. It thinks you’re starving it, and it hates you. “There are donuts in the break room!” It screams at you as you angrily stab your fork into a small Tupperware of steamed veggies. “Why would you choose to eat cauliflower rice when real rice exists?!”
Your brain and your body will conspire against you. Like the devil on your shoulder, your brain will try and use logic and trickery to convince you to break. In an act of protest, your body will sabotage itself. It’ll make you poop less, or perhaps more. It’ll make you weak. It’ll make your eyes heavy and your stomach hurt. But then, after ten days, it’ll give up.
When starting a new diet, you just have to make it through the first ten days. Much like when you take a shot and you have to fight off the urge to puke for ten seconds before you know you’re in the clear, so too will your body react to this diet. After day ten, everything will start getting easier. Your body will adjust to its new diet and will begin to need less food to feel energetic. Your brain will rewire itself to think a slice of apple is a tasty dessert. You’ll begin to look forward to that salad at lunch.
I know, it sounds unbelievable, especially if you’re three days in to an aggressive new diet, but it’s true. Four days into my Keto diet (I’m in Ketosis, it’s not a big deal but it’s kind of a big deal), I almost broke up with my girlfriend for making me walk past three pizza places to get to her house. Two weeks in, I said, “I can’t wait to try this new zero carb dressing on my salad!” Out loud. To other people. And I meant it. Did I hate myself as I said it? Of course. But, nonetheless, it was true.
Ten days is all it takes to turn something you hate into a habit, and it doesn’t just work for diets. Go to the gym ten days in a row, and you’ll find yourself wanting to go an eleventh. Add something on to your routine. Change your alarm time. Whatever it is, all you have to do is make it through ten days, and then it’ll get easier. Now go better yourselves, you degenerates..