I look over a new diet program, and find two words that chill me down: “Quick Start.”
I understand the psychology behind these words. I just don’t think it’s good psychology to use them. In fact, I think it’s bad practice, disruptive, harmful, and possibly even immoral. Not to put too fine a point on it. I fall for these two words myself because I am a schmuck. But you don’t have to be one, too. Let me caution you.
Quick start, jump start, induction, intro programs are often intended to boost your confidence and pique your interest. They might be well designed to pull your blood sugar into normal ranges, prepare your digestive system for new foods, help you learn to work with new tools or theories. But above all they are designed to help you drop water weight and clear up any constipation as quickly as possible. These two bits of work alone can help most people drop 10 lbs. or more pretty quickly. With 10 lbs. gone quickly, the theory goes, you fall in love with this new diet, commit yourself to it, and feel motivated to go on to the next phase. That’s the theory, anyway.
In practice, we don’t go on. In practice we reason that if two weeks on “Quick Start” is good, then 4 weeks is better, six weeks will get us into that tuxedo. Certainly 30 lbs. looks better to you than 10, right? Only a quarter of us bought the book anyway. Most of us are trading this “Quick Start” diet through scratchy 10th generation photo copies traded hand-to-hand. We don’t even know there’s a next phase of the diet at all. Or a third or fourth phase, either.
Unfortunately, the quick start diets were not designed for long-term sustenance. Soon you feel weak, tired, cranky, bored, and you drop the whole idea of dieting. You wouldn’t consider exercising, because you’re now too weak and dehydrated to walk very far. You’re actually suffering from malnutrition. You may have endangered your health.
It’s so dull, losing a pound a week. Or two. Or just a few ounces this month. It’s desperately dull. It makes those coveted jeans feel very far away. But it’s really the only way to be sure you’ll stay in those jeans once you get there, and have the energy to go anywhere in them.
I just know in all of our hearts we want to be stronger and more healthy for the long run, smaller over time, not just lighter next week.
Right? Then don’t start quick. Start smart. Pick up new lifelong habits, not short-term ones.
I’ll avoid the quick start hype if you will. Let’s take good care of ourselves.