Thats the question I think you need to ask yourself when you start a diet or fitness program. Most people think to themselves, “Oh I can do diet X for the next 4 months to lose my weight.” The first major problem with this is obvious: diets don’t produce results when you aren’t on them.
If your diet is a temporary choice, you will lose weight (most likely) up until you stop doing it. Then when you go back to your normal eating habits, you’ll regain the weight and lose all your gains.
Thats why diets don’t really work for most people. “No carb”, “High protein”, “All liquid” diets can work temporarily (at this point, I’m ignoring the nutritional issues with some of these) but if you do “no carb” can you really tell yourself you’ll never have bread the rest of your life? I doubt it.
The same goes for your fitness strategy. I’ve had several friends do P90X and fall off the wagon. I think this, again, is relatively simple: while a program like P90X can provide rapid results do you have the willpower to do it the rest of your life? I’ve personally never done the program, but it sounds like after doing a day of it you wish you were at the end of your life.
Its important to choose small steps that you can continue doing for the rest of your life. If you make incremental improvements, you can build and build and build until you reach the point where you answer “this is the most I can do for the rest of my life”.
For me, this ends with two choices: following the Best Life diet (a list of healthy eating guidelines essentially) and upping my activity levels. As I’ve written in my other post, I knew that running too much would likely kick me off the wagon. So I took small jumps… run a few more this week and then lift a few more the next week. At some point, I’ll realize that I’ve reached my fitness plateau. I can blast a bit more in the short term to make gains I won’t be able to sustain more than that plateau.
So now that we’re coming up to beach season, think about your diets as a choice during those hard times: holidays, five years from now, vacations. While its OK to bend the rules, these aren’t rules until you meet your goal they are rules for your best life.