The Paradox of Choice – Why Your Diet Keeps Failing

This post was originally hosted on Brooks Power Systems.

What kind of diet do you currently follow?

Low fat? Low carb? High protein? Vegetarian or vegan? Or no particular diet at all?

This is a question that’s on the lifestyle questionnaire I give to new clients when they first start personal training. It helps me get an idea of where somebody is currently at with nutrition.

There are at least 4 options there. And that’s the simplified version of the question. This multiple choice answer could go on for days. Atkins? Dukan? Paleo? Pescatarian? Ovo-vegetarian? Celery soup? Slim Fast? Weight Watchers? Herbalife? Skinny Bitch? Aquavore? Zone?

I actually Googled “list of fad diets” whilst writing this and a website came up with over 600 different diets on it and multiple posts titled something along the lines of “12 Fad Diets You Should Definitely Avoid”.

It’s no wonder none of us know what the fuck is going on, or where to start.

If you’ve been hit with this much conflicting information over the years, it might result in you feeling something called Analysis Paralysis. Or the Paradox of Choice.

The Paradox of Choice – If we only have two options we have a simple, 1:1 decision to make. If we have ten, we can begin to feel anxious about missing out on the potential benefits of the 9 options we don’t choose. We hypothetically feel like we’re losing more than we’re gaining by a 9:1 ratio, and as a result choose nothing at all.

We always assume that it’s better to have all the information to be able to make an informed decision. And that can be true. Think military actions or picking your date to the prom (I like to give a range of relatable issues – helps you give yours perspective).

But that’s not always the case. In the case of nutrition, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with so much “useful” information that it all becomes useless. There’s so much conflicting information that we end up confused and not knowing what IS the best option.

The devastating fact of the matter is this: there is no “best option”.

You may have heard this before but the “best diet” is the one you can follow.

I’d like to set you a challenge. This is going to take time, but if you’re up for it, you’ll find your way soon enough.

Here’s the challenge: pick a plan, and stick to it for 6 months. Call it a diet, call it a nutrition plan, cal lit a diet, call it a health kick, whatever you like. But just stick to THAT for at least 6 months and see how you feel.

Notice I said see how you FEEL. Not how you look. If you look good (which is a relative term anyway) but feel like shit, what’s the point?

If your body feels good, it will also tend to look good. Because if it feels good you’re giving it everything it needs to function. That in itself means you’ll drop body fat, gain energy and vibrance, and rebalance your hormones to feel amazing.

If you feel like shit/death after 6 months, THEN reassess and decide what might be best. Ask yourself what the key point of this plan were, and use that to find a better one.

If you feel amazing and you’re getting all the results you want – fantastic! Keep at it. And reassess in another 6 months.

Like I said, this will take time. And on that note I have one final question. How long have you already spent going in and out of diet after diet, plan after plan? Time will always continue to pass, but you have the power to give it direction.Title image via.

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