Top 5 reasons diets fail, and how to overcome them
The common pitfalls that many dieters experience, and how to overcome them.
ONE STRIKE, YOU'RE OUT
A problem that many challenged dieters experience is falling off the wagon when they make just one diet slip-up. You've gone a week without indulging in any fried fast foods, and you break down and go to the local burger joint for some fries and a burger. Then, you figure, since you have already screwed it up, there's no reason to try to eat well the rest of the day, right? Wrong! That day leads to the next day, the next week, month, etc. It is a vicious cycle. Do not beat yourself up for going off the diet plan once and a while - sometimes you just can't help but satisfy a craving. We beat ourselves up so much over one mistake that we allow ourselves to believe that all of our efforts to get fit were a waste. Instead of turning a small negative into a huge one, turn it into a positive. If you eat a brownie sundae after lunch, put in some extra time at the gym later, or take a brisk walk after dinner. Nobody is perfect; the important thing is handling your mistakes properly.
Overeating to ease emotional stress is a major pitfall for dieters. Many of us may not realize that we were brought up to bury our feelings behind a snack. Think about how many times you have seen a mother console her crying child by offering him a cookie. So many women are used to curling up with a pint of ice cream to soothe the pain of a break-up, or a fight with their significant other. These natural tendencies lead us to make allowances for ourselves when we are going through stressful times. Unfortunately, eating poorly will only lead to more stress, because you will be worried about being overweight and not being able to follow through with your diet. Rather than eating to numb the pain, try exercising, writing in a journal, or calling a friend. If you can stick to your diet in a stressful situation, then you will be able to feel more confident that you will be able to meet your weight-loss goals. Handling stress is an important test of a dieter's will and determination.
NO MIRACLE RESULTS
We are in a world of quick-fixes and get-rich schemes, so it is no wonder that the weight loss industry makes false promises too. You cannot expect to lose sixty pounds in two months. It just isn't realistic. Haven't you noticed the fine print on those weight loss product commercials? The results that they are proudly advertising are not typical! Losing weight is not easy, and you shouldn't expect it to be. If it was as simple as these ads would lead you to believe, then obesity wouldn't be such an enormous health problem in the United States. Losing weight is about changing your entire lifestyle. You can't expect to go from couch potato to super model in little to no time at all. You have to commit yourself to a healthy diet and exercise, and you have to be patient and consistent. Do not set your goals too high. Healthy weight loss should be about one or two pounds per week. Crash diets may be intriguing, but they will not be sustainable, and you will be back at square one, once again. Bottom line: set realistic goals, and don't expect miracles.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY
There once was a story about a fox that saw a vine of grapes hanging high from a tree. He wanted the grapes very badly, but they were just out of his reach, so he convinced himself that they wouldn't be so great anyway. Dieters are not very different from that fox. You say that you want nothing more than to get fit and healthy, but once you start doing it, and you get sick of it, you convince yourself that you don't really care about your weight anyway. You tell yourself that it is hopeless, and that it just doesn't matter. You would rather be able to eat what you like than be thin. To avoid this pitfall, write yourself a commitment letter when you start a diet. It might sound silly, but it can help you to get centered on your goal when you want to stray from it. Write down the reasons that you want to go on this diet and change your lifestyle, and write down what you commit to doing to achieve your goals (working out at least three days a week, no fast food, etc.).
Sometimes when we fall out of our regular daily routines due to an illness, it can be hard to get back to business when we feeling better. If you have been home in bed with the flu for a week, then you dread going back to the gym, and having to build back up to the level you were at before you got sick. It is okay to take it easy for yourself right after you recover, but you should at least do something to stay physically active and on track with your weight-loss goals, such as taking a jog, or doing some laps in the pool.