Are you one of the people who just can’t break the code of how to stick to a diet?
If you’ve started, tried, quit, and failed at diets, you are among one of the biggest groups of people in the world.
Face it, fat people wouldn’t be overweight if it were easy. We all have plenty of good intentions — but find out quick enough that fat doesn’t give up easily.
Dieting is Hard!
Reading books, magazines and online articles can motivate you to start a diet, but the question is “do you have the right tools to stick to it”?
Don’t be mislead, losing weight is not natural. It takes a lot of ongoing due diligence and plain will power to maintain a diet that produces lasting weight loss.
Regular exercise is a must!
- Burns calories
- Builds muscle that burns even more calories
- Tones your body as you lose weight
- Keeps you motivated
- Makes you feel good
- Increases energy
Don’t bother trying to stick to a diet without regular exercise! You will just be setting yourself up to fail.
A Plan For Weight Loss Makes It Stick
The easiest way to start a diet is to plunge in head first without thinking through their goals, what must change, or how you will see it through.
But the truth is, that’s one of the main reason for so many failed attempts. When you plan for weight loss, how you will go about it-losing weight won’t be your enemy.
If you’ve dieted and tasted defeat in the past, these steps can change that and put the taste of victory in your life, (and clothes)
How To Stick To A Diet
1. Assess Where You Are Right Now
Of course, your overweight, but this step involves more than the extra pounds around your middle.
Look further. What are the habits you need to eliminate to help help you reach your goals?
What are your current health problems? What is your current diet? Where do changes need to be implemented for success?
How much exercise are you currently getting? Should you be doing more exercise each day? If so, what exercises are right for your fitness level? What exercises should I do with my present fitness level?
2. Get Your Physician On-Board
Getting your physician on board is very important when starting a weight loss program, expecially if you’re more than 20 pounds overweight. Your health care provider(s) will be able to answer important questions you may not know the answer to on your own.
- You may know your current health conditions, but do you know what exercises are best for a person who has a history of high blood pressure, arthritis, COPD?
- Do you know how your weight loss is affected by your current medications? Will your current medications allow you to take that weight loss aide your best friend is taking?
- Does your physician recommend a specific diet, or wish you to be referred to a nutritionist to set up a specialized meal program, or weight loss counseling?
These are questions you can only find answers to if your physician is aware of your weight loss efforts.
3. Call In The Troops
Are you like most people who want to lose weight? Do you get all revved up about losing wait only to find that you fizzle out the third or fourth week into your efforts? Staying motivated is a problem for most people. Establishing a support group before you start is a great way of keeping on track. Your support can be your best friend or partner.
You can even join an online support group if you like. When you get to the point of giving up its great to have someone ask you how your efforts are going. Or better yet, take notice and compliment you on your progress.
4. Are Your Emotions Squared Away?
This may seem an odd statement but its a step that shouldn’t be missed.
- First, you should evaluate how committed you are. Is achieving your weight loss something that takes high priority, or is it something you will put to the side as soon as the first crisis comes along?
- Are you an emotional eater? During times of high stress do you have a habit of “falling off the wagon”? If you are, make sure you discuss it with your support and have a plan of action set up for when these times occur (i.e. go out to a movie, go shopping, or simply call and talk things out on the phone).
You should evaluate the “high risk” sources in your life that negatively affect your weight loss: stress, financial worries, marital issues, illness, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, job stress, etc. See if there are any ways you can reduce or eliminate these, if at all possible. If you can’t remove them, develop a plan for helping you work through them.
5. Map Out Your Goals
So you have assessed where you currently stand, formulated a plan with your doctor, gotten your support system in line and emotionally prepared. Now its time to plan out your goals.
Again, this seems like a “no brainer”, but you need to look at the little things and not just the final goal.
- Is your goal just to lose the weight?
- Or do you want to begin leading a healthier lifestyle that involves eating well and being physically active for the rest of your life?
Remember the plunge analogy? Setting your goals is kind of like dipping your toes in and acclimating to the water. So you have decided you need to make several changes and quite a few of them are drastic, now is the time to set your goals for when you want to incorporate them into your weight loss program. For instance:
- Goal 1- (January 11) Today I will start walking a mile every day.
- Goal 2- (January 25) Today I will reduce the amount of sugars in my diet by 20%
- Goal – (February 11) Today I will increase my walk by a half mile.
- Goal 4- (February 22) Today I will start substituting water for the sodas I drink until they are no longer apart of my diet.
Gradually introducing changes helps your body “adjust to the water”, which enables you to stick with your program. Don’t try to throw everything at yourself at once, you will end up stressed and emotionally spent, causing you to quit a few weeks into your efforts.
6. Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress will help you stay focused on your weight loss and identify potential problems. For example:
Its week twelve and you step on the scale for your weekly weigh in, only to find the numbers have not changed. Naturally you are frustrated, and don’t understand how this could happen. This makes you feel like waving the white flag of surrender.
Instead, you make and appointment with your doctor and take your journals along with you. At the appointment he reviews your notes and discovers you have incorporated two weight training sessions into your exercise routine. You have been doing this alongside your normal routine for three weeks.
He assesses that your lack of weight loss is due to the building of muscle. This would never have been discovered if you had not kept a record. And you were ready to throw in the towel. What you had perceived as failure was actually a success.
Some ways that you can keep track of your progress include:
- Body assessment- measurements, BMI, actual weight, etc.
- Food Journals- keep track of what you eat, the amount, how you feel when you eat, etc.
- Exercise Journals- track what exercises you do, the reps., duration, intensity
- Goals Calendar- keeps track of what you want to implement into your program
- A program log- keep track of what implementations are successful and the ones that aren’t (noting why they didn’t work and whether or not you could change them in any way)
Note that these do not have to be separate journals. Just keep one where you can write in it throughout the day.
7. Reward Your Achievements
This is oftentimes a forgotten step, but it very important to stay motivated. By this I do not mean: “YAY! I’ve lost five pounds lets go out and get some pizza!” Quite the opposite. Instead of rewarding yourself with the foods that got you into the situation you are currently in, look for other ways to celebrate your success. Go shopping and get the purse you have been eying for the past month, pamper yourself, treat yourself to a night in with the girls, etc. Do something for you.
It’s easy to think starving yourself is the answer to lose weight, but it’s simply not an effective long term plan. Any diet plan you come by that requires you deprive yourself of food is setting you up for failure from the start.
The most productive diets will reduce your caloric intake, refined sugar, salt, and foods high in saturated fats. Instead of trying to swear off the foods you love most for life, try learning to treat yourself with rewards. In the end the diets with the most success will always focus on moderation of eating habits and lifestyle changes.
Every passing day on a diet should be improving the nutrition you eat, and decreasing junk foods. Sticking to a diet is easier when you realize that it’s changing your lifestyle and you’re enjoying the results of losing weight and improving health.