Benjamin Caro

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The idea of doing several different diets at once on different days is certainly appealing for its convenience and flexibility.

If you’re not going to exercise, you can wake up, eat a light breakfast, and make it a calorie-restricted day. Then, if you end up working out, you could transition into eating a low carbohydrate diet for the rest of the day with unlimited fats and protein for energy. Perhaps at night your last meal is at nine after your workout. You might skip breakfast the next day, triggering your intermittent fasting protocol. If for some reason you can’t make it to lunch without eating, you can eat a light breakfast and try for another calorie restricted day.

Notice the problem above, though. Did you see how many ifs are being used? It’s nearly impossible to follow a diet if one is easily able to excuse him or herself from it on the fly, especially in the service of an equally healthy option. Though the intentions are good and the itinerary well-planned, the consistent shifting breaks down the ability to form a habit. As Foodist author Darya Rose writes, one cannot successfully diet from willpower alone. Habituation, rather than willpower is the secret weapon of successful dieting. Unfortunately, a shifting diet never allows the dieter to form any habituation.

What’s more is that by providing yourself with a thousand caveats (“I had bread at lunch, but that’s okay because I’ll just make this an IF day”) the excuses eventually pile onto one another. You may find it difficult to follow any of your protocols and will most likely give up at the end of the day, indulging in your favorite binge of choice as a way to lick your wounds.

If you’d like to try different protocols, my advice would be stick to one a week, or designate each protocol to a certain day of the week. Only then could you possibly give yourself a chance to follow your plans.

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