When it comes to dieting, I find most people fail for the same reasons. Goals are too ambitious, and timeframes are too short, and the diets are too restrictive.
- Rachel Ezelius
I had a roommate once that had the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book and workbook sitting on her nightstand with a pencil in chapter one for seemingly years. I secretly thought that had she just committed to completing the book she would have arrived as a highly effective person. How many things do we start but never finish? Marathons never run, trips never taken, and weight never lost. The reason? Mostly, the idea is easy, but maybe unrealistic and with a process that requires hard work and commitment. When it comes to dieting, I find most people fail for the same reasons. Goals are too ambitious, and timeframes are too short, and the diets are too restrictive. If weight loss is something that you struggle with check out these tips for success.
One. Define what your diet entails and stick with it.
Are you eating sugar? Carbs? Fats? Alcohol? There is no one set diet philosophy that is the best. Any diet can work if you are committed to the plan. Generally, diets cut calories, foods groups and have rules to follow. It is the loose interpretations, the ‘days off,’ and the cheats that make it unsuccessful. If you’re not supposed to eat after 8 pm, don’t eat after 8 pm. If you aren’t eating carbs, then stop eating the popcorn. If you are limiting calories, count the ‘healthy’ almonds that you eat as a snack. Once you pick a plan, you need to stick with it, no exceptions.
Two. Tell others about what you are doing.
Are you not drinking alcohol but then head to your book club where you always have that glass of wine? Telling others what you are doing keeps you accountable, especially in moments of weakness. Mentioning to others will help limit the temptations by being offered less your irresistible indulges. If you aren’t eating dessert, let people know before it is even served, otherwise when that hot brownie ala mode gets placed in front of you, you might be swayed off your diet. By letting people know up front, it takes away even the possibility of temptation later on.
Three. Make it realistic.
Picking a diet that doesn’t give you enough options or calories always will lead to failure. You can’t eliminate 2 out of 3 food groups or commit to eating only 900 calories a day. You might also need to establish ‘food rules’ when eating out or holidays. What you don’t want to do is go to Aunt Ina’s house who makes the best stuffing, bacon wrapped meatloaf, mash potatoes, and cheesecake and say, “I’m only going to eat salad.” Don’t set yourself up for failure. Often when you eat off your plan, you give yourself permission to be “really” off your diet and eat everything in sight. In those situations make a plan before you even get there, so if it includes some of the things off your diet, they’re in moderation and under your control. Then stick with that adjusted plan.
Four. Get back on track right away.
Don’t wait until January, after the holiday, after summer, after the kids go back to school or Monday. Today, right now, is the time to get back on your diet. Don’t let one lousy meal turn into a lost week. Get it together right away. A pound of fat is 3,500 calories. That is hard to gain with just one bad meal, but when that turns into a bad day or bad week, it can be effortless. The longer you are off the diet, the harder it will be to get back on track. You can lose your cravings for your favorite things but not if you are allowing them to sneak in often.
Maybe I am oversimplifying, but the key to success is to commit. Commit to something that you can live with that is realistic and that fits into your lifestyle. Be kind but firm with yourself. The feeling of accomplishment, as well as weight loss, will be motivating enough to keep it going.
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