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Why I start diets on a Thursday

Nicole Cowell diet eating


Years ago just like everyone else I would start a new diet or a clean eating plan on a Monday. That seemed like the logical thing to do. New week, new plan, new start. Over the years I worked out it never really worked and now if I do need to tighten up my diet or start a cut I typically start immediately or if I had a choice on a Thursday. These are the reasons why:

Avoiding the Last Supper

We all know what happens before we start a new diet. We have a last supper - eating all those things you know you will not be able to have for the next few months. It's the last big cheat meal before the diet begins. Unfortunately when we do this we have to spend the first 3 or 4 days undoing what we did in that one meal. So avoid the last supper and start a diet plan immediately. As soon as you decided you need to do it, right then, in that moment.

You don't need to have meals prepared to start

Somehow we think we need to have a weekend of meal preparation before we can get going. This is not necessary. You can still make good choices and start without having 99 plastic containers of food set out in the fridge.

Avoiding the Weekend Meltdown

For anyone that has a normal work week, you probably find you have a consistent schedule Monday to Friday. Each week looks roughly the same, you know when you eat meals, you know when you train and you know what you are doing most of the time. So maintaining an eating plan Monday to Friday is easier (not easy but easier).

Come the weekend though it is a whole different story. If your family is anything like ours, the weekends vary dramatically. You have so much to do and very little time. You are always running late and packing your own food is down the list of priorities (if I had a dollar for every time I had food for the kids but no food for me).

Weekends are the times when I find I miss meals and then I am starving and eat things I shouldn't. Add to that going out for a dinner or brunch and the eating plan starts to get very loose.

Plus if I have been dieting strictly since the Monday the internal conversation goes something like "it's ok, you've been really good this week, a little off track on the weekend won't hurt". Then a little becomes a lot (you know those diet flood gates get opened) and before you know it the weekend cheat meal becomes a weekend cheat day that is hard to stop. And you find yourself back where you started on Monday.

Start on a Thursday

So my solution to this is start a new diet plan on a Thursday. By the weekend you are only 2 days in, mentally your head is still in the game and you are still committed to trying hard so you work harder to hold it together and keep it strict over the weekend. By the time Monday comes, your routine is back and it gets easier.

By the following weekend, you have (hopefully) been going strong for 9 days and at this point you don't want to break your good run so you keep it together again.

Dieting like many things is about momentum - the longer you are on a good streak the longer it lasts and getting started in those first 2 weeks is one key to success.

No more cheat meals

I used to be a big believer in the cheat meal. I used to think my body and mind needed the break and it was a good metabolism kick but I have since changed my mind. Avoiding the cheat meal is now a much safer option for me. It takes a lot of hard work to reset my body after it gets those extra carbs (read sugar) and for me I think it really slows down the weight loss process. So no more cheat meals for me unless they fit in with my macros!


Dieting and eating plans are hard work. What works for one person will not work for another. It has taken me a good 10 years of experimentation to work out what does and does not work for me (and trust me I have tried a lot of things over the years). Even once you know what works, the hard part is still doing it! But having a good start is half the battle. What works for me may not work for you but it might be worth a try to see. Good luck!



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