How to Stick to a Diet

Every New Year comes with a list of personal resolutions, and the most common is to go on a diet (see: How to Choose the Right Diet). Almost everyone plans to commit to this particular resolution and yet, according to a 2004 survey, 30 percent of Americans fail. Why is it that we try and fail with such consistency, and how can we stay on track from here on out?

The Plan

Create a three part plan that includes two goal weights and then a maintenance plan. Determine how much weight you need to lose, versus how much you want to lose.

If you are good about having routine physicals, chances are that your physician has discussed how much weight loss will result in a healthier you. Make this your first weight goal. On top of that, you may want to lose a few more pounds to fit into the jeans that you bought five or ten years ago! This is the icing on top of the cake (okay, perhaps not the best analogy for the dieter!). Anything over the healthy goal is simply for aesthetic reasons, and these pounds are going to be the most difficult to lose.

The Buddy System

Any seasoned dieter will tell you that the key to their success is a buddy of some sort. You need the moral support of another dieter

  • Friends– go to the people who know and love you, and who can detect your weaknesses. They will help protect you from yourself when you’re ready to sabotage your diet after a hard day at work or with the kids. If your friend is also dieting, chances are that you will be subconsciously encouraged to keep up with them. You may love your friend, but nobody wants to be shown up!
  • Weight Loss Groups – these people know, without a doubt, how important support is. People who join weight loss groups are consistently more likely to reach their goal weight.
  • Participate in friendly competitions. Many businesses care about the health of their employees and hold weight loss competitions amongst staff. Since offices are a known weight increaser, this is a wonderful place to find support. Break the cycle of sitting and eating at a desk with others who want to make a difference in their lives as well.

Make Yourself Accountable

Tell everyone under the sun what your weight loss goal is! It may feel a little embarrassing, but it’s well worth the discomfort to know that once it’s said it can’t be unsaid. This means that, unless you want to seen as a quitter, you will reach your goal.

Use social networking websites to keep your friends and family in the loop. Alert them of all your milestones, no matter how small they may seem. The loss of an inch or a pound is a huge dent in your goal, and you deserve the praise! If you’re having a difficult week, your network will happily give you the encouragement that you need!

Think about starting a weight loss blog. There is a huge network of bloggers out there who utilize this online journal format to meet other dieters and to track their weight loss and meals. Blog hop and discover other diet blogs that share successful (and best of all, new) recipes to spice up your lower calorie life!

Analytics

Track the data! Keep logs of pounds lost, muscle mass gained and caloric conversions. Use a pedometer to track burned calories for extra inspiration! Just think about how much fun it is to see your savings account numbers increase; now think about how satisfying it is watching the scale numbers decrease! Numbers keep you invested.

Be a Good Couch Potato!

Yes, watch TV! The trick is to watch shows such as Dr. Oz, The Biggest Loser and Celebrity Fit Club. This type of programming can actually be quite inspiring as you watch complete strangers struggle through the same issues as you. Shows centered around physical activity will make you think twice about staying planted on that couch.

Movement

Of course we know that exercise helps us burn fat and lose weight, but that’s not always the difficult part. It’s controlling the food cravings- the diet part! But guess what? The more you exercise, the less you’ll crave fattening food!

Our bodies are smart, and they know what they need. If you’re exerting yourself, your body is going to crave water and protein. It’s one of the most wonderful biological “tricks” up our sleeve! Force yourself to move throughout the week, and suddenly those sugary weekend rewards are going to become less desirable.

*Daily walks are the easiest way to achieve this. They don’t involve time at the gym or a huge amount of effort. Within a week, you’ll feel a huge difference in the cravings that you have!

Inspire Yourself

There’s inspiration to be found all around you. Other people’s success stories are a dime a dozen. These stories are great to draw encouragement from, but it’s your story that really matters. Give yourself a hearty pat on the back for each step that you move forward. Leave encouraging Post-it notes by your refrigerator, scale, in your car (for when you want to break the diet when you see a fast food restaurant coming up) and on your desk at work.

Before you know it, you are going to be so inspired by your inner strength- and skinny jeans- that there’s no way you’ll want to quit!

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