There are a lot of reasons why diets fail. Although, it’s usually because they suck a lot, sometimes we fail at diets because we’re doing them wrong. (I usually fail –just me because I’m special –because French fries are somewhere nearby…)
(By the way, I got this information via one of my newsletters. Problem is… I don’t remember which one. If you know where this article came from, let me know in the comment form. Thanks!)
Choosing the wrong diet is a major reason for giving up on weight-loss. Instead of picking a diet fad or the latest in diet foods, like SlimFast or Nutrisystem, choose a healthy plan that fits your lifestyle, that you’ll stay on and that you keep vigilant at. There is no end to a diet (even if they only sponsor two weeks of food for buying two months –your “diet” doesn’t end).
We need to be realistic. We need to follow an eating plan instead of a terrible you-can’t-have-this-anymore diet.
Many diets increase certain nutrients and limit others creating an unbalanced diet. Balance is good. So don’t follow a meal plan that is too low in calories, which often leads to FAILURE. You have to have a certain amount of caloric intake to stay alive. Eat at least that much.
However, if you want to lose weight and stay safe, never eat less than 1200 calories a day (or your metabolism will turn off and you won’t be burning anything, will you? No.). Figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate. To lose weight, subtract 500 calories from that or burn an additional 500 calories through exercise. Weight loss! :)
Unrealistic expectations (another of my great downfalls) are the Achilles’ heel of all dieters. WEIGHT LOSS TAKES FOREVER! No. You aren’t losing any weight. Yes. You still have jiggly bits. And yes, yes, you followed your meal plan exactly without cheating once for one whole month WHY AREN’T YOU LOSING WEIGHT?
Unfortunately, we as dieters need to realize that weight-loss will take as long as it needs to and be no quicker (because it’s a jerk). Try to stay positive. I know it is hard.
Dieting without exercise will not make you lose weight. It will probably banish some serious water weight and sodium retention, but your poundage will stay the same-age. Physical exercise is what really burns calories.
Not changing your environment to a diet-friendly environment will also break your willpower. If I can smell fried food, I want fried food. Remove those temptations within your own house/environment/office and seek support from the people within those places.
So don’t start your diet until you have worked out all the details and have all the gadgets, foods, note-taking supplies, etc. And tell your spouse that he or she cannot buy junk food or bring it in the house. Tell your friends, too, and ask them for help.
In order to keep yourself honest, self-monitoring is needed, whether through a food journal at home or weigh-ins at a group meeting. I failed pretty hard with the food journal. Of course, for the first month, I was doing really well. Month two and three, however, fell short about eight weeks. Do the math. I probably need to be held accountable by a group of other dieters.
You can try to jump-start your weight loss by following a strict plan, and then transitioning into a more suitable one for your lifestyle. But remember: Strict means strict. No wiggle room, but there is a lot of room for guilt. I think your best bet would be to make small changes first, building up bit by bit until you can actually follow a plan or make a plan a part of your life instead of just a diet.
Reward yourself with small presents when you accomplish a goal. These presents cannot be food. They cannot be food. No food.
Don’t get discouraged if you gain weight again (80 percent of people do). I gained all 5 pounds I lost this year back before the end of this year. Fantastic. Boo. No fun. But I’m going to try again. We just have to keep trying again.
Expect screw-ups. Giving in to temptation isn’t a sign of your weakness, it’s normal. Forgive yourself and start fresh tomorrow.
Here are a few tips to keep you on track, motivated and accountable.
- Variety is overrated. Less variety is best.
- Have barley for breakfast because it keeps blood sugar level, which helps you avoid the spike and crash that makes you feel famished. (Basically, don’t have a sugary, caffeine-filled breakfast. Eat something wholesome.)
- Add protein –lean, red meat is best –and a little fat, such as salad dressing, to your lunch salad to keep you full until dinner. I don’t know about this one. Dinner and lunch are six hours apart, and unless one of them is HUGE, you’re going to be hungry so make sure you have like a granola bar or something in your purse.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables because working with fresh ones is a pain in the you-know-what.
- Make a party tray of fruits and veggies to encourage healthy snacking during fridge raids. Of course, you will have tossed all of your unhealthy foods so this might not even be necessary.
- Turn down the thermostat to about 61 degrees to encourage “brown” –or good fat –to work. No miracles though… Don’t get too excited.
- Use smaller plates and bowls when eating to encourage smaller portions. This actually kind of works. You can only fit so much food on saucers.
- Go out for treats and don’t keep them in the house (see bullet 5). Work for your sugar, salt and creams.
- Try on your skinny jeans every Friday (or pick a better day for you), but they might motivate you to stay on track during weekend nights out with the girls –or guys, I don’t judge. I have my skinny jeans hanging in the spare room where my closet is in plain view every time I walk in the room. It is encouragement, I think… It’ll work.