This is why your diet isn’t working.
These days, I make a lot of meal plans. Most people daydream of winning the lottery. I daydream of recipes. Cool, I know.
I also share them (for free) on my site, bravabod.com. The meal preps follow a unique system. And it’s effective. The end result is that you waste less, explore new flavors, stress less, and look better. Sounds awesome, right?
It’s taken years of trial-and-error.
And through those years, I found there are 6 key recurring reasons why some diets succeed and others fail.
1. You don’t set a goal
Eating better has plenty of benefits — but you already know that, and I won’t bore you by listing them all. The important thing, is to decide which benefits are most important to you.
Losing weight? Increased energy levels? Living a longer life?
Pick one, pick several. Following a diet without having a why in place is like starting a marathon without your shoes on. New habits start with a choice and materialize with discipline. That pre-established goal is your mental strength.
2. You throw half of it (and your salary) away
How many times have you seen a recipe with dozens of ingredients that you’ll never use again? A pinch of fresh parsley. Half a chopped shallot. One celery stalk…
All those leftovers tossed in the trash within a week. But, hold on — we can solve this problem with some creativity and foresight.
Here’s an example. Let’s say there are cucumber slices in your lunchtime salad. After a few days, you want to switch it up. But, there’s still some leftover cucumbers in the fridge. You could discard them. Or, you could blend them up with a can of coconut cream and make an awesome homemade raita to top off chicken or tofu. Want more ideas? I share many more on Bravabod each week.
Fully utilizing your food is a sign of gratefulness for what you have. And when you learn to respect your food, you grow in respect for yourself as well.
Which brings us to our next point…
3. You don’t fall in love…with the freezer
People gasp when they see my freezer.
On every shelf there are different gallon-sized ziplock bags with pre-made recipes and leftovers. It’s a life-saver.
Leftovers and extras are inevitable when cooking for yourself. Now you have a choice. You could toss it, overeat it, or freeze it.
Do you know how many foods can be frozen without any issues at all? Tons. Almost any protein source, countless vegetables, sauces, soups, cakes, pastas — they’re all freezer friendly. When you batch cook, utilizing your freezer is key.
Here’s the general breakdown: 1. Portion out your meals in single servings. 2. Place them in freezer-safe baggies. 3. Write any info on the outside with a sharpie (date made/recipe name/quantity in oz). 4. Freeze!
4. It tastes like cardboard.
Boiled Chicken. Steamed broccoli. Plain rice. On repeat. 5 days/week.
No wonder that’s not maintainable. Keep your meals exciting and add variety. Explore different cuisines, spices, and ingredients every week. Does that mean you need to be a 5 star chef and spend countless hours in the kitchen? No.
Make it as simple as throwing paprika on your eggs. Roast sweet potatoes with cinnamon and chipotle powder. Sauté chicken with a little curry paste and coconut milk.
The best diets balance benefit with flavor.
5. Calories > nutrients
Typical diets approach nutrition and weight loss as a temporary state of mind: calories in vs calories out. However, starving yourself of calories also starves your body of vital nutrients. It also has the potential to slow down your metabolism and increase hunger.
Rather than looking at foods as a challenge of willpower, start valuing them in terms of nutrient density. Instead of thinking in terms of food removal, ask yourself ‘what can I add?’.
Maintaining a lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight and metabolism is often a lifelong journey. Luckily, real nutrition can stand the test of time.
6. It’s not easy enough
Here’s a truth: a new diet will only last if it feels manageable to you.
My own meal prepping structure has given me great results, but it might not work well for you. And that’s fine. Build your own patterns to set you up for success. The logistics don’t matter nearly as much as that goal you established in step #1.
Remember: it’s a lifestyle, not a death sentence. Unless you’re following a new diet for strict medical reasons, there is always room to be kind to yourself along the way.
In a nutshell (the end part you should read)
Diets don’t succeed on their own. They need to work with you, your priorities, and your lifestyle. Most of our attempts fail because we don’t take the time to set up our individual conditions for success.
Think of how you can create conditions for making it maintainable — set a goal, reuse creatively, batch cook, be nutrient dense, and keep it enjoyable.
Do these things and you’ll be on the right side of failure and success.
Thanks for reading! :)
I also write at Bravabod. It’s a free email newsletter with exclusive recipes and meal plans that save time, money, and waste. It’s purposeful and easy-going.