Why do some succeed at diets while others fail?
Few?succeed. Most fail. Why? It’s no surprise to know that 95% of people fail at their diets. Or does the diet fail them? Probably. So what does the few know that most have no clue when it comes to maintaining their diets? Granted this subject has been covered extensively but I want to offer you 7 ways diets can be successful. Let me begin by agreeing with the premise that the diets prescribed to people are not fit for?them. These diets are mostly cheesy meal plans that are regurgitated from magazines, books, false guru’s, etc. Generic plans. Many exclude a total food group like carbohydrates and over-prescribe protein. What are the basics? Well, that would include starchy carbs, lean proteins, fats, water (duh!), vitamins & minerals (provided by food not pills). Sourced from a variety of whole foods. That’s your start. Nothing new here, right? So with this information pretty much mainstream, why do we still struggle with our meal consumption patterns (diets) to maintain a healthy & vital life? I believe the focus is placed in the wrong direction. Like a magician who uses misdirection to ‘fool’ you and give the illusion a ‘real’ experience so do we fool ourselves into thinking and believing our failures are due to our willpower, our dedication, our commitment. These are part of the program but do not tell you the?whole story. Yes, it begins with the self but let’s look deeper into those 7 ways to be successful in your diet.
1) BE GOOD TO YOURSELF
Ah, love the Journey song by the same name! This one goes without saying. It’s starts with the mindset that success is a process and it is this journey that you must savor. You are the only one on that personal journey so why not treat yourself the best way possible.Will there be bumps on the road? Ye!. Will it be tough? Yes! Will I make mistakes? Yes! Realize that road blocks are the opportunities for you to assess your current state and plow forward. The worse thing to do is beat yourself up. Blaming ourselves for the lack of willpower (limited and will run out like a battery). We all have experienced the pain in the ass backseat driver who will complain endlessly and thinks they know it all. Don’t be that person. You are in it for the long haul. ?The journey will never be linear, going from point A to point Z. You will take a step forward, two steps back. three steps forward, two steps back, etc. Treat yourself with respect.
2) HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
Many cultures around the word have food as their centerpiece while with family and friends. Food is to be celebrated. Good times are almost always surrounded by food. And during the sad times, food is a catalyst for comfort. How you view food can make or break you. If you see food as an antagonist, wanting to avoid it and giving it power then that is a problem. If you think food is a vehicle for fatville. That’s a problem. If you avoid life events, parties, family gatherings because you feel you have an?insatiable?lust for eating. That’s a big problem. In all scenario’s, you create anxiety. You?alienate yourself. Basically, you suck to be around with! Take a deep breath. Relax. Food is what brings people together.?
3) HAVE REALISTIC GOALS
This is extremely personal and should not be based on what others want for you. We are bombarded daily by losing weight ‘fast’. It will take you just 21 days to drop a dress size. Yeah, right. All around, the media demands you have certain health & fitness goals. Remember, fitness goals are different than health goals. Spend time on the latter and that will reinforce the former. Give your goals time to breath. Time to flourish. Start with a small goal. Instead of losing 20 pounds in 10 weeks. Why not begin going to the gym twice a week. Have a heathy and nutritious breakfast. Or go to bed earlier so you can have adequate and restful sleep. The point is take small, even tiny bites and one leads to another, then another until they become habits, good habits and that takes time. Don’t buy into the ‘it takes 21 days to build a habit’. If you have had a bad habit of, let’s say, not eating breakfast. Then eating breakfast will be the habit that replaces that and that can take a long time (1-4 months). One day at a time but your eyes set above the horizon.
4) UNDERSTAND WHAT HUNGER FEELS LIKE
There are two types of hunger: the physiological hunger and the psychological hunger. Guess which one most listen to? You got it. The psychological one. Stressed out? Grab a candy bar. Bored? Grab a bag of chips. Angry? Reach for a bowl of ice cream. These are examples of what makes us human. The challenge is how to understand and manage those urges when faced with stress or boredom or anger, etc. However, there is an evolutionary signal from the stomach to the brain that signals true hunger. Sure, I can get into the hormones involved but that’s for another time. The body will ever allow you to purposely starve yourself to death. The signal is too strong to ignore. We all felt that pang, that growl, that discomfort when we are hungry. That’s what we need more training in. Recognize that signal as a need to nourish the body. Eat healthy food. And move on. This basic biofeedback is tough to master because the pleasure centers of our brain want sugary, fatty, salty foods. Most of the time it’s a no-win situation but recognize that feeling and learn to manage hunger.
5) SEEK THE POSITIVES AND LEARN FROM MISTAKES
This one is closely related to the first tip, Be good to yourself. It seems that we are wired to focus on the negatives. Fix them. Then all is good with our world but is that the only way to be successful at dieting? Well one of the markers that most people will assess their progress is the dreaded weight scale (excuse me, while I’ll take mine out to the back and shoot it). Anyway, we are conditioned to expect the scale to show a lower number than previous. At first when dieting and exercising, the scale will be incrementally lower but then it stops. Your weight plateaus or is there something else going on. First of all, having your weight level off is a sign of progress. Wouldn’t it be different if you stepped on the scale and it started its climb back up quickly? Well at some point the scale will level off or the weight may start to creep up but that depends on several factors: how fast did you lose the weight? Are you over-training? Are you sleeping well? Have your eating patterns changed? Understanding that the body will fight to maintain homestasis, balance. The last thing you want to do is to cut back on food and/or step up training. These two will most definitely worsen the condition. You’ve lost weight. Great! Are you maintaining that weight without much effort? Good! You are staying the course and not doing anything drastic to push that weight lower than the body desires? Fantastic? All positives. Revel in these. I would recommend to educate yourself on the biology of weight control to ‘learn from past and present mistakes’.?
6) CREATE YOUR OWN MEALS
If you are the many who eat out or orders their food, then you really have no idea how your meals are being prepared. Not only is preparing your meals a great way to succeed at dieting, it is also economical. I do get the fact that it can be time-intensive but proper planning is paramount. You can set aside a couple of hours on a Sunday to make and package your foods for the week. Invest in a food storage system. Learn what foods you can safely freeze. Start with preparing one meal for the week. If dinner is the achilles heal, prep for that. No breakfast? Start there. You will find that you will consume fewer calories and find enjoyment when preparing your food. You eliminate the ‘what should I eat’ dilemma. Grab a container from the refrigerator. Heat it up. Sit down and enjoy your meal. Packing your own snacks is a great idea too. Think fruits, nuts, hard boiled eggs. You may feel those?legitimate?hunger pangs throughout the day so grab a quick snack to hold you over until your next meal.
7) IGNORE TRENDS & FADS
It’s easy to get caught up with the latest get fit quick diet fads or the ultimate workout trend. They’re enticing because they are the new, shiny object that gets our attention. We then convince ourselves that you have finally found the answer. So we try then and find out that they also don’t work for the long haul. We blame ourselves again or sadly, tell ourselves that ‘they did work, but I just couldn’t keep doing it’. No, the blame needs to be placed on the fad diet, the max impact class. The reason fads and trends come and go is that they violate basic exercise and nutrition principles. One principle is calories in/calories out. Another progressive overloading. Yet another is proper hormonal environment. There are many and I’ll address these more in depth on a later post.?
So there you have it! 7 ways to succeed at your diet. I’d prefer NOT to use the word DIET because of the anxiety it creates. We already build a negatively preconceived work and outcome. So for now, use Way to Eat or Nutrition Planning. Remember, wanting to change any aspect of your life starts with a decision then follow the necessary steps. It takes time and time is the one commodity that we all in equal amounts. Decide what is the best way to use that time. Obsessing about your weight 24/7 gets you nowhere but a very unhappy, miserable living. It’s not easy but it is simple. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Learn to listen to your body. For the most part, it will steer you towards the right door. The best to you and always strive to be better than before.