Updated: Oct 7
I’m guilty of being an extreme person in my past, especially if it’s with something new and leads me to solving a problem I’m struggling with. Having an addictive personality trait has led me to some extremes that I can now reflect on and see how my behavior was pretty extreme. I was easily influenced by others who had physiques I wanted myself. That led me to following the same things they did to achieve the same results. That led to me following the same things they did—what I call a TYLES diet—to achieve the results I was looking for.
TYLS (pronounced tiles) is an acronym for Treat Yourself Like Shit. A TYLS diet is when a person attempts a fad diet to better their health—it worked for other people, so of course it’ll work for them too. The TYLS diet can be found in categories like KETO, PALEO, SOUTH BEACH, Mediterranean, and any others you want to add. A TYLS diet takes a simple concept and takes it to the extreme.
The reason I call these a TYLS Diet is because most people treat themselves in very shitty ways through these diets. These diets lead people to give up suppers with their families, stop going to restaurants they love, eating foods and meals that they don’t enjoy, and creating a completely new identity based on an idea of how you eat.
It can be unhealthy to base your identity on the food you eat because there’s more to you than what you eat.
Here are some reasons these diets don’t work.
They’re fucking extreme
There was a time in my life that I would drink raw eggs mixed with chocolate milk, would have lunches of blended up chicken breasts with ramen, and snacks of cottage cheese with sugar free pudding mixed together, and a bunch of other weird shit. I wanted to have muscles, low bodyfat, low weight, and the confidence that others did. I did what they did and it didn’t get me what I wanted and I stayed the same.
TYLS diets convince people that what they’re doing is wrong and you need to be ashamed of yourself for eating the way you did. They convince you that other people are bad for not following the same diet as you are. TYLS diets begin judging people for what they eat and want people to have their diet consume you in a manner that doesn’t align with who you are.
Too restrictive for long-term success
One of the main reason’s TYLS diets work is because they’re very restrictive.
Here’s a simple way of understanding the secrets to how they work. When you start a TYLS diet you begin to change the number of calories you’re eating. Prior to starting your TYLS diet, you were in a caloric surplus, meaning you were consuming more calories than what your body needs.
Then when you started a diet you go into a caloric deficit, which leads to weight loss. That’s all it is, calories in versus calories out. People will argue day and night that there’s more to it. They aren’t wrong, but the general principal is that you reduce how much you eat and your body responds to it.
Where TYLS diets go wrong is that they’re way too restrictive with what you can and can’t eat. Take for example the Keto diet, where the users end up over eating protein and neglecting carbohydrates. This has been known to lead to some serious health issues, I know someone who said years ago they tried the keto diet and ended up getting kidney stones and having surgery.
Your body needs other nutrients for it to function and be recovering from day to day activities. Yes, the short-term impact of TYLS diets are appealing and impressive, but they will not be able to be sustained for long-term success.
You don’t enjoy doing it
If your trainer is guilting you for eating the things you enjoy, that’s fucked up and very unprofessional. Guilt and shame should not be associated with food because they don’t work together. As a trainer we should empower and encourage our clients into positive habit change with helpful guidance that promotes positive mental health & support.
Sometimes when people begin TYLS diets, they aren’t doing it because they enjoy the food or the health benefits of it the diet, they do start them as a means to an end. An end of feeling shitty, an end of not feeling good enough, an end to self-hate, and many other negative emotions. Unfortunately, most people aren’t comfortable saying that or don’t know how to say those things. Instead it comes out by saying that they’re wanting to lose weight, trim belly fat, get rid of tight clothes, etc.
It’s difficult to see people forcing themselves to do things that they don’t like. I was in that position before and really hated it, but I did it because I wanted to get the results. This never worked for me because I didn’t enjoy it. Once I decided to let go of the idea of forcing myself to do extremes I was able to make great changes.
Try these things out instead if you’re wanting to improve your nutrition.
Chill the fuck out
When it comes to nutrition you need to chill the fuck out because you’re being impatient and unrealistic. People are often looking for instant gratification and results by only doing this one thing. It doesn’t work that way and if it does, it’s too good to be true. There are times where people are often sold on concepts of losing 15-20 pounds in your first month!! That’s fucking unhealthy, for the majority of people, I would not advise people to chase those goals.
This takes time, you’re not going anywhere, you’re not in a rush to get this done, and lastly if you were given the results you want today you would still feel the same. People don’t understand that if you get what you want right away you will still have the same emotions that you are trying to avoid.
Take the time to understand that this will take time, you will make mistakes, and you will have some setbacks, but you need to accept that you are only able to move one day at a time with small steps that lead you to bigger things.
- Make one difficult choice each day, big or small. Don’t drink pop today, try a new vegetable, or whatever you want.
- Eat until you’re 80% full and avoid the clean plate club.
- Set one goal at a time that are very small, for me I started with eating only one vegetable once a week.
Get rid of good or bad
There are TYLS diets that brainwash people into thinking that if people aren’t following their specific methodology that they have the right to bash other people and how they eat. People who follow these diets end up being judged by people and being shaming by them for eating the way they do. They begin to say that certain foods are bad and good and that if you’re eating bad food you’re a bad person. These aren’t their direct words, but more so their behavior towards food.
When you find yourself around people who are negatively judging food, you begin to judge yourself in a negative way. I’m guilty of being my biggest bully in the past. I would say things like “pizza isn’t good for me”, “if I eat candy I’m a bad person”, “don’t drink pop because that’s bad for me”. None of this was true, what you eat is not a representation of who you are as a person. Food doesn’t determine your worth and that’s what these diets tend to trick us into thinking that we aren’t enough already.
Don’t place emotions of good or bad with what you are eating, because judging ourselves doesn’t help. Being patient, kind, and understanding to yourself as you learn new skills helpful.
- Stop being a dick to yourself about what you eat by calling it good or bad.
- Start monitoring your food to see how you feel after you eat it.
- Don’t guilt yourself anymore.
Enjoy your life, for real.
Life is long, make it last as long as you possibly can. The only way to do this is by enjoying your life. Do this by focusing on the things that bring you fulfillment and joy, along with discomfort and pain. There’s a balance between the both, you need one to feel and experience the other. You can’t ignore one spectrum because it doesn’t feel good, but in order to appreciate the good you need to accept the bad.
Doing TYLS diets will not lead you into a life of greatness and happiness. Food is a none negotiable for living life, you should eat things that you enjoy like pizza and ice cream, but not every day like a dick. Food can be looked at as many things, one of them being fuel, when you think about it this way more doors open. Food provides you energy, clear mind, rest, destress, and so many more things, do your best to view food differently.
- Be more kind to yourself about what you eat.
- Remember that you aren’t what you eat, it’s just a preference you have.
- Make one small change that will make you feel better today.
The main takeaway here is that you should avoid TYLS diets because for most people they’re not a good long-term solution and they do more harm than good.