For most people diet’s do not work. Statistically, 80 to 95% of dieters gain back the weight they’ve worked so hard to lose within two years. It is much better to change the way you think about food in general.
Many people will starve themselves and then sneak a snack when they get hungry or tell themselves that they deserve something after exercising. The key is to eat when hungry, not dieting and allow yourself an occasional treat (think less than one day a week) to give yourself some leeway. A healthy lifestyle needs flexibility if it is going to work for you, not torture.
Instead of focusing on being on a diet, think about changing your mindset about food. Change the way you look at food so you can have some self-control and make healthier decisions.
Once you change your mindset about food, it is easier to start making better choices for yourself and enjoying the foods you eat.
The problem with diets. Why they don’t work?
Some people can be successful when dieting, such as those who look within themselves and realize that they have a problem with food, but few of us are ready to do that. Each time we try to lose weight, we lose more and more weight because it takes time to undo the damage in our minds.
Diet’s are a band-aid solution to something we need to fix on the inside. The first thing you need to do is change your mindset about food.
Change what you think about food, change how you feel about food, and change your relationship with food. This is the foundation of changing any behavior or creating a new one.
Reasons diets work:
- As noted above they are bandaids.
Bandaid solutions are never permanent solutions. They contain temporary elements that may be helpful in the short term, but will not lead to long-lasting change. When we use bandaids or Band-Aids, they break off at some point and there is a new problem.
- Dieting teaches us what to fear.
When you diet and restrict food you are denying yourself the things that make us feel good.
Dieting also teaches us to fear food, to fear hunger, and to fear the release of what’s going on in our minds. Every time you restrict food from your life, you set yourself up for failure later.
- Dieting makes you a slave to your body.
When dieters don’t get what they expect or desire their body reacts by causing them pain, nausea, or headaches. This is also known as the dieter’s flu(a dieter’s headache). This is because your body is being denied what it needs, but you are still giving it food.
- Diets are restrictive.
The thing your body wants and needs to stay healthy is food. Restrictive diets limit the ability of your body to get the food that it needs. Your body will do whatever is necessary, sometimes even eat things that don’t make it feel good.
- Dieting causes you to believe that food is your enemy.
Since dieting teaches us to fear food, it also teaches us that food is our enemy. Whether we are dieting for weight loss, health or any other reason when we have the mindset that food is bad for us we tend to eat less of it and choose harmful foods when we do eat.
How to change your mindset about food
As we noted above, there are many reasons dieting doesn’t work. Dieting teaches us to fear food, it makes us want to punish ourselves for eating and make ourselves feel better by restricting what we eat. Since dieting teaches us these things, it doesn’t teach us about how to live a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t teach us how to make good choices for our bodies, or how to feel good or set ourselves up for success later on.
Here are some practical tips you can use:
1. Decide what’s most important to you.
It is important to step back from dieting and look at who you are.
What are the things that make you happy, healthy, and feel good about yourself? Think about your family, where you live, what are your values in life, and what makes you feel like yourself. Your answer will probably be different than others, but it is important to look at where you fit into your own life.
For some people, what comes to mind are things like a more flexible schedule, more time with their family, a smaller dress size, and being able to go shopping with friends or take the kids swimming. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have these things while participating in a dieting lifestyle. In fact, many people do, and some of them even succeed at it. The problem is that it isn’t realistic because most people will eventually lose interest and go back to their old habits.
For others, they might want less stress in their lives, and more time with their friends. Some of these goals might get in the way of weight loss, but you shouldn’t let that limit you. We will discuss this in more detail below.
You should also think about what is important to you as a person and not just a number on a scale. Your life as a whole should greatly outweigh the number on a scale at any given moment.
2. Consider your past, and where you are right now.
If you are having trouble with one of the problems above, this will help you. Your mind is a muscle, and it needs to be trained. It is important to remember that if you are having trouble with your diet and weight, no one or nothing can make you succeed.
If you want success, you need to think about how you got into a situation where this was even an option for you. This will give you some insight into how to change it going forward.
Think about your dieting history. Think of how you got to this point and what happened before you started dieting. How did you get here? Where were your priorities if at all?
The key to changing bad habits is to look at what caused them in the first place, not just the behavior itself. For example, if you are having problems with alcohol or drug abuse it isn’t enough to just stop using drugs or alcohol. In order for the behavior to change, you need something else to take its place.
This is why you can’t just go on a diet and expect it to work. It is important to think about what caused the habit in the first place, work on those issues and then change your habits.
3. Understand your eating triggers
Eating triggers are things that you think about or notice that make you want to eat. These can be in the environment, something that someone says to you, or a memory of something that caused you to stop eating at a meal for example. If the thought of going swimming makes you feel like eating more food, this is an example of an eating trigger.
Understanding your own triggers is important because it will allow you to control them and change them into something else. If you can recognize when you have a trigger, you will have the ability to stop it and make it something that you don’t need.
For example, when someone says the word “diet” they might feel like eating more food. By recognizing this, they can think of something else to change the situation so they don’t even have to think about it.
This is why it is important to journal and write in your mind. It gives you a place to put those things that you don’t want to think about. This way, when the trigger comes up, you can recognize it before it does something bad for your body and mind.
4. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal will help you recognize your triggers and find new ways to deal with them. You will also be able to see what is working for you and what isn’t. The journal will give you a place to record all of these things and keep them organized so that you can see what is working, and what isn’t working.
Tracking what you eat will also help you become aware of the triggers, and how they work in your own life.
By keeping a journal you will be able to see what works for you, and what doesn’t work. By tracking your food intake and exercise you can see which things are working and which are not. You can also get some help with this from a dietician or trainer as well.
5. Practice mindfulness
This is the concept of being aware of what is going on in your life and what you are doing. It helps you be in control of your thoughts, emotions and actions. It should be a regular part of your day.
When we find something that works for us, it can be easy to forget about if we aren’t doing it regularly. This is why it is important to keep a journal and track what you are doing. By doing this you can be sure to stay on track and possibly find new things along the way.
Again, this is your life. This is your journey and you should be the only one judging it. So think about it, consider your past and where you are going. Take the time to look at what’s important to you, because no matter how small or large those things are, they are important and deserve a place in your life.
6. Focus on being healthy, not weight loss
When you focus on health it is much easier to stay motivated. When you focus on losing weight, it can be hard to see the progress and results that you are getting. That is why it is important to shift your focus from weight loss and more towards health.
You should start by identifying your overall health goals. These could be things like lowering blood pressure, exercising more, controlling cholesterol or eating healthier. If you focus on these things each day, then you will get there a lot faster than if you were only focused on weight loss alone.
Once you have identified your overall health goals, think of small daily habits that will help you accomplish these goals. Then, whenever you are trying to decide what to do make sure that it is something that helps towards your goal.
When you focus on being healthy instead of losing weight, there is much less stress and anxiety. You get to enjoy the process and feel good about the steps that you are getting closer to your end goal.
7. Look at the bigger picture
When it comes to lifestyle changes, it can be easy to focus on the negatives and the positives. But there is often a much bigger picture that needs to be considered.
A lot of times you may find that what you are doing isn’t working quite as well as you thought. This is why it is important to make sure that your goals are realistic and attainable. If they aren’t, then you will make yourself miserable by working towards something that isn’t going to happen anyway.
The last thing you want to do is to set yourself up for failure. When you focus on the bigger picture, you start to see how your lifestyle changes will impact your life in the long term. So if it isn’t working for you, go back and look at those things again. Then make the necessary adjustments so that you can succeed in your goals.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. You will not always be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and doesn’t live up to their goals every once in a while. That is ok, but this doesn’t mean that you should give up and accept failure. Instead, add more time and work on changing your habits so that you can succeed the next time around.
With these steps, you should be able to find some new ways to incorporate in your life so that you are able to make changes for the better. These will help you to keep on track and stick with the changes that you are making.
If you find something that doesn’t work for you, try something else and see what works instead. It is important not to be discouraged if things don’t work out the first time, just keep working at them until you get it right.
One of the best things about being healthy is that it is a journey. Every step towards your goal, it can give you a great sense of achievement. So don’t be afraid to try something new. If it doesn’t work for you, then go back and change your plan a little.
Try to remember that it is about the journey, not about the destination. So take each day as it comes, and keep going. You will get there eventually, but little by little you will begin to see the results of your hard work.
If you stick with it and don’t give up, then you will succeed. Make this your new way of life and enjoy each and every part of the journey. This is your life, so make it something that you are proud of.