Picture this: You’d like to lose some weight. So you google weight loss diets and you decide to go with keto for no good reason except it returned a lot of search results. Or maybe you did Jenny Craig before and you decide to go back to that. Whatever you pick, you’re hoping it will help you lose weight.
You give your diet a chance. You try for a week and the scale moves a little so you decide it’s worth continuing. You do two more weeks but the scale barely moves and you are really missing pizza. You’re angry that you gave up pizza and your other favorite foods for nothing! So you give up, it’s not working anyways!.
Sound familiar? This all-or-nothing thought process ultimately brings you back to, well, nothing. You’re just spinning your wheels and getting frustrated doing it. So what can you do about it? Start shifting your mindset from “I’m on a diet” to “I’m changing how I live.” Try these ideas:
Focus on adding food, rather than restricting it. Water, veggies, protein-- we all can almost universally improve our health by increasing our intake of these things. By putting the emphasis on what you can eat instead of what you can’t, you’ll be able to stick with it in the long run. So fill half your dinner plate with veggies and drink at least 64 ounces of water a day and you’re well on your way to success without ever thinking “I can’t eat that.”
Set behavior goals, not scale goals. Aiming to lose a pound a week is all well and good, but if you simply set that goal and don’t do anything to achieve it, you’ll never be successful. Instead, decide to eat breakfast at home rather than from Dunkin’ or take an evening walk instead of watching TV on the couch. Setting behavior goals and sticking to them will ultimately get the scale moving.
Plan your indulgences ahead of time. If one holiday meal or dinner out snowballs and throws you “off the wagon” for days or weeks after (quintessential all-or-nothing thinking), you need to plan better! Food is used to celebrate everything, so there will always be cake, stuffing, and wine calling your name. Setting a plan that goes further than “I’m going to eat perfectly” will keep your seatbelt locked so getting off the wagon is not an option. Choose the indulgences that are most worth it to you and enjoy just those. So eat a slice of pie but skip the dinner roll as you planned.. Take it a step further and plan your next meal after the indulgence (hint, make it a healthy one!)
Find a balance. In the end, your healthiest weight is the one you can maintain while actually enjoying life. So make any and all changes that you can sustain (a little bit at a time) and be happy with where it gets you. Be realistic about the changes you are willing to make and your expectations about your potential results. Balance the two and you’ll have success!