Bulking or cutting, a diet is one of the most challenging things to stick with when it comes to reshaping your body. I would even argue it's harder to make habitual than working out. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible nor is it the worst thing in the world.
My personal philosophy to the majority of my personal issues is to approach them from as an objective standpoint as possible. This means looking at something like my eating habits and asking why I eat that way. With enough digging, I'll find the reason(s) and can then reshape my approach so that I can achieve the results that I want.
In the case of dieting, I've found it to be a mixture of emotions as well as physical addiction. While I can't explain your emotions to you (only you can figure those out), here's the objective take on junk food's effect on the body.
Bad food is hard to break as a habit because it acts on your brain the same way a drug does -- especially when we're talking about junk food. Indulgent foods trigger your brain to release dopamine much in the same way heroin or cocaine does.
This is also why you begin to crave things you've cut unlike any other craving you've ever had in your life. Addicts go through withdrawal and so do dieters. Your brain wants that food high again and it will drive you crazy to get it.
The hard part is that, unlike drugs, we can't just quit food. We're wired to seek out these high calorie foods, so by dieting, we're not only cutting an addiction, we're working against evolution.
Now, do you need to quit chocolate and soda forever? No. Enjoying that stuff occasionally is awesome.
Applying the Knowledge
Knowing how food affects your brain makes cravings easier to control. It allows you to put eating into an objective light and remove the emotion from it. You can now eat an Oreo and know why you suddenly feel happier. It's not that the Oreo is good for you, it's that the Oreo has triggered the release of happy drugs in your brain. You now know that your body doesn't need soda, it's just craving it because you're undergoing withdrawal. To me, anyways, this makes these urges a lot less scary because now there's a reason for their existence and the reason isn't that I'm weak-willed.
Be Proud of Progress
You have decided to fight evolution. That takes inner strength unlike any ever seen. It's the kind of strength that makes us what we are -- human. We, unlike any other creature, have the capacity to reason and think and then apply that knowledge to our daily lives so as to improve as a species. By punching evolution in the face, you are utilizing the frontal lobe to it's fullest extent by choosing reason over instinct because reason is telling you that, in this moment, your instinct is wrong.
Above all, understand a diet change is a slow process. It involves altering your body's chemistry. It means making new habits. It means overcoming old addictions.
How patient do you need to be?
It depends on how long it takes for your determination to override your cravings.
That number varies for everyone. For me eating how I do now, it's taken a good part of four years. I dabbled a bit in healthier choices here and there until those choices stuck. Then I made some more changes and so on. Then I joked about flexing at BlizzCon.
My sister has been at it on and off again for about two years and still has some rough patches. As soon as those happen, she'll take a day to recover and then get back on it. And even though she's stumbled, the fact that she keeps getting back up has led to her determination slowly becoming stronger.
My parents have been yo-yo dieters their entire lives. They decided to jump on board with my sister as moral support and have been at it for four months.
Co-host of HeroesForge, founder of Battle to Be Better, gamer, singer and all around happy person.