Do you go on a diet and then find yourself caught up in the drama of you vs. the diet? Do you end up feeling like you’re in a constant battle with your diet? Does it seem as though you are on one side and the diet is on the other, pushing you around? This is a perfect scenario for diet failure. How can a diet work for you if you are on opposite sides?
There are many reasons why a diet may become your enemy. Maybe you don’t like being controlled by something outside of yourself. Maybe you’re working for your diet instead of letting the diet work for you. Maybe you’re trying to change your whole life to accommodate the diet instead of bending it, shaping it to fit your life.
Be in charge. Don’t let a diet loom larger than it is. A food plan is only a tool at your disposal. It is there for you to use in a way that suits you. Here’s a field guide to making a diet your friend and supporter instead of your opponent. If you do these six things, you could be dieting and loving it!
1. Pick a diet you really like
Forget the latest trend, unless you feel it would be really good for you. Concentrate on your own personal likes and dislikes, your particular health needs, your lifestyle, your schedule. These things are central to diet success. You can start making friends with a diet even before you begin the first day.
2. Don’t be too rigid
When things are stiff and rigid, they tend to break easily. The more you can adjust the diet to your needs, bring it along the ins and outs of your daily life, the more likely it is to work. Don’t be your diet―be yourself. Remember, it’s your project. It is not that you have to keep up with the diet. It is the diet that has to keep up with you.
3. Don’t expect to lose the weight all at once
Don’t get angry at a diet because it doesn’t make you instantly thin. No diet can possibly do that. Always think of a diet as a weight-loss process, steps that add up, a journey. If you think of a diet as an immediate on-the-spot solution, you will be very disappointed.
4. Reward yourself as you diet
Your ultimate weight-loss goal may be far in the future, but the many steps toward goal that you take along the way should be recognized. That’s a good way to appreciate how a diet is in fact working, even though you’re not all the way there yet. This will keep you in favor of dieting, because you will see it as helping you take the smaller but essential steps that will bring you right to your goal.
5. Keep an open mind
At any time during your diet journey, you may change your mind about that diet. Maybe you thought it would be the perfect one for you, but now it’s not fitting in with your life so well. Don’t struggle, don’t strain. It may have been a good idea for a while, but now you need something different. Pay attention to your intuition. If it’s telling you that you and this diet need to part ways, carefully consider doing that. This is not failing. It’s being smart.
6. Refresh your goal in your mind
Sometimes people fight against a diet because they lose track of their initial goals. If this happens to you, you may begin to think, what am I doing this for? If you begin to think of the diet as an unwanted intruder in your life instead of something you decided to use to get you where you want to be, refresh your goals. Write them down from time to time, maybe even every week. Remind yourself how the diet is a strategy you’ve chosen to help you reach your goals.
Dieting can be made smoother, easier, even enjoyable! That’s not to say you won’t hit bumps in the road, that it won’t be difficult at times. Overall, working a diet into your life in a good way, recognizing when it’s truly good for you and when it’s not, and discovering new ways to enhance the process will make your diet a true success.Kenneth Schwarz, Ph.D.