If you’ve ever tried a diet and failed, you are definitely not alone! In fact, the majority of diets fail. They don’t reinforce healthy lifestyle habits or establish the knowledge needed to lead a healthy life for the long term. The good news is that you can permanently change destructive eating habits and break the “diet mentality” for good. Here are some strategies to help you approach weight management with a more positive and productive mindset.
Why Most Diets Fail
To start, it is helpful to understand the factors that cause most diet plans to fail. Surprisingly, research has shown that the more diet attempts you make, the more likely you are to gain weight in the future.
Drastically cutting calories, eliminating entire food groups, or depriving yourself of foods you actually like are not strategies for long-term success. In order to maintain the weight you’ve lost, it’s crucial to maintain changes that have resulted in this weight loss. However, most diets are rigid and unsustainable.
On average, weight loss attempts last four weeks for women and six weeks for men. You may be able to relate to this (e.g., following a strict diet plan for a few weeks, but then going back to your old eating habits with the weight soon returning).
From a psychological perspective, diets usually label a particular food group, such as carbohydrates or fats as forbidden. Foods with “too many carbs,” “too much fat,” or “too many calories” are seen as “off limits.” Unfortunately, banning actually backfires. In reality, healthy fats and an acceptable level of carbs are necessary for a healthy weight management plan.
Before you begin, the key is to understand that short-term plans only lead to short-term results. If you want success, you need long-term, sustainable changes to your routine.
Here are some actionable steps you can take for a successful weight management strategy.
Calories Do Count!
While some people are completely against counting calories, you can also get a lot out of doing so. After all, in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis. Since a pound is about 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your intake by approximately 500 calories a day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week (don’t go lower than an intake of 1,200 calories a day).
Don’t Focus On The Scale
Whatever the scale tells you is not indicative of your success. This is not the most meaningful way to measure your progress towards a healthier lifestyle in the long term. Try to set your sights on a piece of clothing you really want to fit into, how many inches you want to take off your waist, or on your overall energy levels. The scale alone is not the only gauge of success. Track your progress.
One of the best ways to stay motivated and on track is to document your short- and long-term goals. This can help you to maintain your motivation and to look back at how far you’ve come rather than focusing on the difficulties of tough days. Additionally, studies show that writing down what you eat is an effective method for weight management. It raises awareness and forces you to think about what and how much you’re eating.
Busy, overpacked schedules can send you straight to the drive-through if you don’t have a plan. Make use of your downtime to develop a basic menu for the upcoming week, go food shopping, and do meal prep so you have options when you get hungry.
Choose A Balanced Diet
One of the main killers of a good diet is loading all of your calories either at the beginning or end of every day. It is important to spread your calories out during the day. Intermittent fasting occasionally has also shown to be a successful boost for weight loss. This helps to keep your metabolism fired up, prevents drastic swings in blood sugar, and helps with portion control throughout the day.
Gain Control Over Your Cravings
This one will take practice, but is more than worth it in the long run. Being “mindful” with meals and snacks means that you are truly focused on what you are eating. If you have a tendency to eat out of “habit” versus hunger, you are likely eating more than you realize. Having the ability to notice a craving versus true hunger is a game changer for your weight loss efforts.
If you are struggling to lose weight with conventional diets, it is important to focus on dedicating yourself to the long term and being honest about some of your bad habits. For a better chance at success, give these tips a try and be sure to be kind and honest with yourself every step of the way!
Contact Imperial Center Family Medicine for Weight Management Help
Imperial Center Family Medicine is a primary and preventive care practice. Their team of experienced providers takes pride in offering their proven healthcare services to their valued patients. Contact us today for tailor-made options for your weight management journey.