You should rage quit fad diets.

People come to me for advice on all sorts of matters, from time to time. Really, I’m pretty good for advice on how to get into shape, via effective training and appropriate fueling. I used to be able to talk music and music theory with the best of them too, but I’m probably a bit rusty at that by now. And I apparently had a natural aptitude for security work although uhh… they don’t let me do security work any more, for some reason. Let’s not get into it.

But anyway… there’s a quite a few things I’m good for but it’s sometimes a little amusing to me that people come to me for advice on anything else, other than those things in particular. I think people realise though, when you ask me something you’re probably going to get a unique response and a different perspective to the same old same old you’re hearing from everyone else.

So from time to time someone will ask me what they should do because they’re really, particularly unhappy in their job. There might be any number of reasons and contributing factors, and once I’ve heard them all I usually give the same suggestion: rage quit.

Like I said, not the advice you’re going to hear everywhere else. I think this is a generational thing, and people in my age bracket and especially people older than that are likely to give you something to the tune of “as long as they keep paying you, suck it up. Grin and bear it. A job is a job”.

I say to hell with that. I say, if it is that bad that you’re really upset, depressed or your mental health is otherwise being effected… just straight up rage quit. Lose your shit and storm out. Throw some furniture across the room on the way, maybe.

Crazy right? Well… maybe. But there is always a method to my madness and usually this elicits the appropriate response to the effect of “well, that’s a bit extreme. I don’t think I quite need to go that far just yet”. Good then.

Now we have some perspective, we can take a step back and assess the situation. If you’re really that unhappy, the situation needs to change before it really does get to that “rage quit” stage. So if you have a couple of days sick leave up your sleeve, take them now, go see the doctor to talk about your stress levels, and start putting together an exit strategy. Where would you rather be, what do you need to do to prepare for that, and what sort of time frame is going to be required?

Lock all of that in and make it happen, because you deserve it.

Now I’m going to come back to talking about diets in a little bit but let’s talk about jobs some more first. Sometimes you take a job just because you need one right now, and this one is on offer. You take it and try make the best of it, but you’re not emotionally invested in it. In which case, if it isn’t working out and there’s something better you can get into… what are you waiting for?

Other times though… a job is about more than just the pay rate. You might have been recruited, or even poached from your previous job, and you started the new one on the promise of career advancement, on the job training, the opportunity to contribute and to have those contributions appreciated, and so on. I don’t think people are really inherently lazy. People do want to work hard, but they want to work hard on something meaningful, and have their efforts be recognised and rewarded. Even if it’s a job that “anyone could do”, people want to take pride and satisfaction in doing it well.

And sometimes… even though you’ve been promised the opportunity to do all of these things, you find out too late that it was all bullshit. That situation can really suck the self esteem and the self worth right out of a person, the same as any other toxic relationship or toxic environment would. And again… so often the message or the advice we get is to just keep working really hard even though you’re not getting anything out of it. I mean, sure… you get paid. But all of those other things are important too. Pride, recognition and progression are all a part of the package that we deserve for working hard… on anything.

And depending on who you ask, especially if you’re a younger person you might get told that all of those expectations make you “entitled”, or something. You might get told “well you didn’t work hard enough then” by people who who are jerks or who still think we live in a meritocracy and that the world is a fair place, even though you actually did work very hard indeed to begin with until you realised it was getting you nowhere.

Now then. Fad diets are very similar, don’t you think?

You start a fad diet on the promise that is going to solve all of your problems, take you where you want to go in terms of health, weight, body condition and so on. And so often it is a lot like that dream job offer that turns into a toxic, dead end, soul sucking experience. It just doesn’t deliver. And just like that job, you get pissed off because you did everything you were supposed to do, you weren’t lazy, you were ready to work hard… and you didn’t get what you were promised. Didn’t get what you deserved. None of the satisfaction, none of the progress, none of the recognition. Nothing but a bunch of lies, bullshit and disappointment.

If not diets, then what?

Honestly, people should be as pissed off about getting tricked into fad diets as they would about getting lured into a toxic work environment with a bunch of false promises. Most of the diets and for that matter exercise programs out there aren’t put together by people who know what they’re talking about. They’re put together by marketers who know how to manipulate people into buying things, or they’re put out by social media type people who are supposed to be “inspirational” or something but are really just making things up that have no basis in reality.

Fad diets are usually based on some or all of the following assumptions:

  • You need to restrict to a very low amount of calories, or of carbohydrates in particular.
  • Certain foods automatically make you fat no matter what, and you need to avoid them at all times.
  • Certain foods automatically make you lean, and you should only eat those foods whether you like them or not.
  • Eating a certain way proves that you’re a good person, and for being a good person you’ll be rewarded with a healthy, attractive figure.

All of those ideas are not merely incorrect, but approaches based on them are neither sustainable nor conducive to achieving any sort of permanent result in weight loss or body condition. Rather, the more you persist with them the less likely success is.

People should rage quit all of these fad diets and other restrictive approaches to dieting as well. They should get irate, and say “fuck that bullshit, I’m not doing it anymore”. What to do instead though? Well. You could say “so I’ll be a little fat. Who cares as long as I’m happy?” and I’d support you on that. It is far from your only option, however.

If being in shape is important to you, do what people who are in shape are doing. People in shape aren’t on diets. Usually they’re not doing “calorie burning” mass marketed exercise programs either. They’re doing some effective form of training that they enjoy, and they’ve learned how to meet their energy and nutrient requirements with choices that suit them.

“Choices that suit them” is the key here.

To stay in shape requires sustainable habits. Not restriction of energy or choices. Anything that’s a struggle, anything that is not convenient… people seem to think that is how you “earn” results. It isn’t.

Regardless of the choices of foods, at closer to goal weight in more athletic condition, your body requires a certain amount of total energy in order to fuel your lifestyle and to perform, recover, and adapt to training with the maintenance of more lean mass at the expense of fat stores. Of that required total energy range, there’ll a certain made up from each of the macronutrient groups and there’ll be a range of what will be adequate to what should be optimal.

If you determine what those requirements are, plan to meet them with whatever choice of foods is most appealing to you, and then practice doing this as consistently as possible until it becomes automatic, you WILL achieve your goal condition in due course and you will never consider a restrictive fad or crash diet again.

I happen to have a pretty awesome system for determining these requirements and a great training program to go along with it. You can check that out via the Online Coaching page on this site for more information.

Author: davehpt

I'm DaveHPT, Maybe you've heard of me? Musician, rock star and recording artist. Published author. Former security industry professional. Personal Trainer, Online Coach and the INNOVATOR in Sports Nutrition.

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