When the Honeymoon Ends

Invariably when many of us, especially in our younger days, begin a relationship with someone, there is the initial bubbly “everything is good” phase where you and a partner are experiencing the very surface of each other, which is also the surface that most people see anyway – the common likes, dislikes, jokes, things that are fun to do, and the like. And no matter how much time you spend it seems like you can’t get enough of each other. Everything seems perfect, and even though there may some minor annoyances, it can sort of be cute or endearing.

But then you notice not all is well in paradise. There are shortcomings.  Annoyances begin to actually annoy. And then real disagreements appear that begin to brew under the surface that everyone else also sees. This can be known as the make-or-break phase. You either realize your partner isn’t someone you want to be with for the long haul, or where you form a deeper connection and learn to view them as a dynamic complicated person who may not be perfect but is someone you care deeply about.

Your diet is no different. Many people who start on diets are willing, cheerfully, to do something intense for a week, a few weeks, maybe a month or two. But the hunger sets in. The unfamiliarity with boring or foreign foods sets in. Endearing parts of the rigidity turns into a very unendearing behavior that you feel trapped in, and giving up feels like such a failure that nothing else can do, and may feel like if you can’t do this, you can’t do anything else.

Eventually you come to a point where what you’re doing can either feel like, “this is stupid and unsustainable” or “I’m following a solid plan, I just need to experience what I’m experiencing and learn from this.”

Rigid diets whose rigidity are not appropriate to the level of precision required by the goal you’re trying to achieve can not only not be healthy, but can also hurt you in the long term trying to meet that goal. If you do have a worthy yet intense goal such as getting very lean, that of course will require a certain level of rigidity that is also still temporal and dynamic, and offers a learning experience with which you can grow from.

At any rate, the level of success with any diet is only achieved by what you can and willing to do forever. Something new and exciting can be just that on the surface, but looks (and marketing) can be deceiving. What counts is the day to day effort, learning, practicing, and growing on what you’ve built.