How is your summer diet going? Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve gotten off track. Our good intentions to improve our health and shrink our waistline can easily get sidelined by the busyness of life and the subtle call of comfort foods.
With such a wide variety of diets to choose from it’s hard to pick one that will give the results you desire. Low-fat, low-carb, low-protein, and numerous variations of all of these can be found in every bookstore, lining the pages of magazines, and across the internet. The reality is most of these diet plans have pros and cons, but rarely are they plans someone can continue forever. They are temporary fixes on a lifelong battle with obesity.
Even if you are one of the fortunate ones who is successful at sticking with a diet, the statistics reveal most gain back all the weight they lost plus more over a years’ time. So after those first few pounds fall off, the scale stalls, and the thrill of a new diet plan begins to wane; you need a strategy to help you continue on your course to a healthy weight – and then a strategy for maintaining it. The best strategy is one that takes the diet out of diet and helps you see this new way of eating as a lifestyle.
There are 5 critical changes in your thinking about food and activity which can help you reach your happy weight and stay there.
Diet Attitude #1: It’s only temporary
Most diets are only temporary. Claims such as “lose 10 pounds in 1 month” cause us to only commit to one month. Even if 10 pounds are lost they will not stay off unless you continue to eat and do the activities which caused the initial weight loss. For lasting weight loss you must stop thinking in terms of temporary fixes and realize this is going to be a life long journey.
Diet Attitude #2: Look at all I’m missing out on
Dieting creates a feeling of deprivation. You are given a list of allowed foods and a list of foods to avoid. Being told you can’t have something only serves to make the desire for that food even greater. A healthy lifestyle is one with options. You can lose weight and still enjoy a treat every now and then. Your weight is the sum total of the choices you make. If 90% of the time you are making healthy food choices, the 10% will not undo all the good you have done. Enjoy the freedom to enjoy a treat without guilt.
Diet Attitude #3: Health food doesn’t taste good
Let’s be honest, any type of food can be prepared poorly and not taste good. So is the food the real problem or how it’s being prepared? Eating healthy may require you to obtain some new tools in your kitchen tool belt. If you think healthy food is not flavorful, it may be time you purchase a few new spices and try some new recipes. Take some of your favorite recipes and create a “skinny” version of them using low-calorie and low-fat ingredients. If it is your desire to make healthy eating a lifestyle, you have to be willing to learn new ways of doing old things.
Diet Attitude #4: I don’t like exercise
Those who are the most successful at weight loss are the ones who have found a balance between calories in and calories out. Exercise is vital in the process of maintaining a healthy weight. You do not have to join a gym, take a class, or sign up for your first 5K; but you do need to find ways to live active. This will look different for every person and the key is making sure you are active regularly. Walking is one of the best activities. It’s easy on the joints, it’s free, and it can be done anywhere. Find ways to include exercise with activities you enjoy. Listen to an audio book while you walk or watch TV while doing the exercise bike. One way to keep yourself accountable is to only give yourself permission to do these activities when you are exercising.
Diet Attitude #5: This is too hard
Diets are hard, but living a lifestyle of health should not be. Your exercise choices and food choices should be things that are easy for you to continue. If it requires too much effort, you will be tempted to come up with excuses for why you can’t do it. If you have a hard time resisting eating out with coworkers at lunch, spend a weekend creating a list of healthy choices at the restaurants your frequent. Next time you sit down to order you won’t feel as if you are breaking your diet, but making a knowledgeable choice about your health. If you think it’s too hard to find time to exercise 4 days a week, start with 2 days a week doing a variety of floor exercises or jogging in place during your favorite 30 min TV show. Find ways to make it easy and you will be more likely to stick with it long term.